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Sunday January 29th, 2023

Karu calls for action on rapidly escalating human-elephant conflict

Karu Jayasuriya

ECONOMYNEXT – The National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) is calling on the government to immediately act on mitigating the human-elephant conflict in the country which has recently escalated making Sri Lanka the country with the highest number of elephant deaths in the world.

NMSJ Chairman former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told reporters yesterday that the authorities continue to ignore the seriousness of the issue.

“As a result, Sri Lanka has become the country with the highest number of elephant deaths in the world due to clashes between elephants and humans. Not only that, Sri Lanka has the second-highest deaths of humans caused due to the human-elephant conflict,” he said.

He said that NMSJ “studied the valuable research papers and recommendations of Dr Sumith Pilapitiya and Dr Prithiviraj Fernando, who are eminent scholars in this field. As we have been informed, this situation has also come to the notice of a parliamentary committee.”

“Today, 131 Divisional Secretariats in 19 districts in eight provinces are impacted by the human-elephant conflict. Also, the number of Divisional Secretariats where the human-elephant conflict is rapidly escalating is increasing annually at a record rate,” he pointed out.

“For example, the human-elephant conflict has spread from Hambantota in the South to the Madurankeni or Vadamarachchi East Divisional Secretariat belonging to the Jaffna District in the North,” he said.

“There are many world-renowned scholars in our country who study the facts and give valuable opinions and recommendations about the issue. Their findings and recommendations have even received special attention internationally. It is reported that foreign delegations also visited Sri Lanka to study these matters. Sadly, not much attention has been paid to their opinions locally,” he said.

At the same time, compensation for physical and property damage to the public must continue to be paid. As far as we know, no compensation has been paid for crop damage. Therefore, the government has to pay appropriate compensation for this damage. Also, in order to rid the country from this problem, an action plan needs to be planned at the national level.

Jayasuriya also said that he hears of several large scale frauds being brazenly committed in this country without any hesitation or fear. “It is a pity to have to talk about such incidents. The public did not expect a government consisting of politicians who often made promises to the people about clean governance and clean financial governance would commit such acts. It has caused deep embarrassment to the majority in this country.”

The government is not giving any explanation about the massive fraud of Rs. 10 billion that took place in this country with his involvement. This is clearly a serious blow to the confidence that the people of this country have in the President. It will mar his reputation. He should understand that Jayasuriya went on.

Jayasuriya also called for justice for the stranded migrant workers in the Middle East.

“Last week we pointed out the number of Sri Lankan migrant workers stranded in a number of countries, including the Middle East and the difficulties they are facing without any help or support.”

“We suggested that the funds created using their own money be used to repatriate these Sri Lankan workers. We pointed out that the fund holds around an estimated Rs. 14 billion. Following this, it was reported that the number of migrant workers being brought to Sri Lanka has increased by this week,” he added.

It is a piece of good news for all involved and it would have been a more valuable humanitarian act if these Sri Lankan workers could have been provided with all repatriation facilities from the fund established through their own money without being unfairly charged to return to their homeland. (Colombo, January 22, 2021)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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  1. sacre blieu says:

    There have been many studies and failed solutions to this conflict. Humans and even the natural habitat have to be in a sate of co-assistance, and importantly, maintain a delicate balance, mostly due to the rapidly growing of the human population and following encroachment of the natural habitat as a result, in addition to the environment decay. We have to curtail the expanding population, and both the rulers and the citizen have to seriously take note and action. Even with modern improvement and expansion of living area, the rest of available land is terribly insufficient to deliver the follow up necessitates for sustaining life , and what with the hand out of huge tracts of land to a few individuals, a few justified.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. sacre blieu says:

    There have been many studies and failed solutions to this conflict. Humans and even the natural habitat have to be in a sate of co-assistance, and importantly, maintain a delicate balance, mostly due to the rapidly growing of the human population and following encroachment of the natural habitat as a result, in addition to the environment decay. We have to curtail the expanding population, and both the rulers and the citizen have to seriously take note and action. Even with modern improvement and expansion of living area, the rest of available land is terribly insufficient to deliver the follow up necessitates for sustaining life , and what with the hand out of huge tracts of land to a few individuals, a few justified.

Sri Lanka operators seek higher renewable tariffs, amid exchange rate expectations

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s renewable companies say they need tariff of 40 to 45 rupees a unit to sell power to the Ceylon Electricity Board and the agency owes them tens of billions of rupees for power sold in the past.

The association has strong exchange rate expectations based on the country’s dual anchor conflicting monetary regimes involving flexible inflation targeting with a reserve collecting target.

“In the coming year of course because of the rupee devaluation, I think the solar energy sector might require tariffs closer to RS 40 or RS 45, hydropower will also require tariffs on that scale,” Prabath Wickremasinghe President of the Small hydropower Developers Association told reporters.

“I think right now what they pay us is averaging around RS 15 to RS 20.”

Some of the earlier plants are paid only 9 rupees a unit, he said. The association there is potential to develop around 200 Mega Watts of mini hydros, 700 to 1000MW of ground mounted soar and about 1,000 rooftop solar.

In addition to the rupee collapse, global renewable energy costs are also up, in the wake of higher oil prices in the recent past and energy disruption in Europe.

The US Fed and the ECB have tightened monetary policy and global energy and food commodity price are now easing.

However in a few years the 40 to 45 rupee tariffs will look cheap, Wickremesinghe pointed out, given the country’s monetary policy involving steep depreciation.

From 2012 to 2015 the rupee collapsed from 113 to 131 to the US dollar. From 2015 to 2019 the rupee collapsed from 131 to 182 under flexible inflation targeting cum exchange rate as the first line of defence where the currency is deprecated instead of hiking rates and halting liquidity injections.

From 2020 to 2022 the rupee collapsed from 182 to 360 under output gap targeting (over stimulus) and exchange rate as the first line of defence.

“The tariffs are paid in rupees,” Wickremasinghe said. With the rupee continuing to devalue in other 5 years 40 rupees will look like 20 rupees.”

Sri Lanka has the worst central bank in South Asia after Pakistan. Both central banks started with the rupee at 4.70 to the US dollars, derived from the Reserve Bank of India, which was set up as a private bank like the Bank of England.

India started to run into forex shortages after the RBI was nationalized and interventionist economic bureaucrats started to run the agency. Sri Lanka’s and Pakistan’s central bank were run on discretionary principles by economic bureaucrats from the beginning.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka was set up with a peg with gold acting as the final restraint on economic bureaucrats, but it started to depreciated steeply from 1980 as the restraint was taken away.

Now under so-called ‘exchange rate as the first line of defence’ whenever the currency comes under pressure due to inflationary policy (liquidity injections to target an artificially low policy rate or Treasuries yields) the currency is depreciated instead of allowing rates to normalize.

Eventually rates also shoot up, as attempts are made to stabilize the currency which collapses from ‘first line of defence’ triggering downgrades along the way.

After the currency collapse, the Ceylon Electricity Board, finances are shattered and it is unable to pay renewable operators.

Unlike the petroleum, which has to stop delivery as it runs out of power, renewable operators continue to deliver as their domestic value added is higher.

However they also have expenses including salaries of staff to pay.

The CEB which is also running higher losses after the central bank printed money and triggered a currency collapse, has not settled renewable producers.

“In the meantime, we have financial issues with the investors and CEB owns more than 45 million rupees in the industry,” Warna Dahanayaka, Secretary of Mini Hydro Association, said at the conference.

“We can’t sustain because we can’t pay the salaries and we can’t sustain also because of the bank loans. Therefore, we are requesting the government to take the appropriate action for this matter.”

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have identical issues in the power sector including large losses, circular debt, subsidies due to depreciating currencies.

In Sri Lanka there is strong support from the economists outside government for inflationary policy and monetary instability.

The country’s exporters, expatriate workers, users of unofficial gross settlement systems, budget deficits and interbank forex dealers in previous crises have been blamed for monetary instability rather than the unworkable impossible trinity regime involving conflicting domestic (inflation target) and external targets (foreign reserves).

The country has no doctrinal foundation in sound money and there is both fear of floating and hard peg phobia among opinion leaders on both sides of the spectrum regardless of whether they are state or private sector like any Latin American country, critics say.

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