Sunday, July 31, 2011

Taboo on altering manufacture and expiry dates

by Ananda Kannangara

The Health Ministry will come down hard on unscrupulous traders who alter the manufacturing and expiry dates of consumer products.
According to a spokesman for the Health Ministry some grocery shop dealers are in the habit of effecting such alterations on the labels pasted on food packets, canned food products and bottles of cordials.

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena told the Sunday Observer that the public should be extremely cautious when buying food products from small grocery shops or supermarkets.
According to the amended Food Act, initiated by the Health Ministry to ensure quality food production from July 1, this year, all food manufacturers should strictly comply with Health Ministry regulations when selling products.

Manufacturers too should adhere to the Ministry directive when manufacturing, labelling and transporting food products.

The Health Ministry calls upon customers to check the labels pasted on food packets and bottles containing cordial, jam and butter. The spokesman said, products which carry the Sri Lanka Standards (SLS) label and the expiry date could be considered as quality items. The Minister has cautioned customers to keep a close eye on outdated food items that are sold cheap to earn a fast buck. The Minister also cautioned traders to refrain from selling outdated food items, including meet, fish, imported canned foods, soft drinks and bottles of cordials to customers, since many deaths had been reported recently due to outdated soft drinks.

Villagers block junction demanding solution to Human-Elephant Conflict

Short-term elephant drives not the answer say conservationists adding that villagers must cooperate more with Wildlife Dept.
By Malaka Rodrigo
Residents of the area blocked Palagala junction last week, demanding a solution for their Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) issue. About 1,500 villagers gathered at this junction on July 20, protesting the death in the last two months of 7 villagers killed by elephants, according to media reports. Traffic from Kekirawa, Galewela and Mahawa was blocked, causing severe inconvenience to the public. The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) had to assure the villagers that they would relocate the troublesome jumbos and for the protesting villagers to disperse.

Protesting villagers. Pic by Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa

This was not the first time villagers blocked roads in protest. It is now becoming a common occurrence to bring a victim’s body to the road or, to the Wildlife Field Office, demanding a remedy to their life-threatening issue.
Apparently, the Wildlife officers’ immediate solution is relocation of the elephant. But elephant expert Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando points out that the present form of mitigating the HEC is very much from the human perspective, and it only worsens the problem.
In the long term, it is detrimental to the very people it is meant to protect. He emphasises that people and politicians need to understand that translocation or elephant drives are not long term solutions.
Experts also point out that the DWC cannot be alone held responsible for the HEC. HEC is a very complex issue with multiple causes fuelling it, resulting in the annual loss of at least 200 elephants and 50 people.

Even though scientific evidence clearly indicates that translocations or elephant drives don’t work, the DWC opts for the easy way out, when political pressure and people pressure override scientific evidence.

Manori Gunawardena, another elephant conservationist also points out that elephant management decisions such as drives are politicized, and therefore, will not mitigate the conflict in the long term.

The DWC usually engages in HECs only after development plans have been drawn up. For example, the resettlement process in the North and East are under way, but elephant conservationists haven’t noticed any plan in place to minimise potential HECs.

Manori pointed out that the resettlement plan is based on land tenure, from as long ago as the early 80's. But most of these ‘original places’ became jungles and now a rich wildlife habitat. People have no choice but to settle there, in dense forest, along with leopards, bears, elephants etc. Nowhere in the resettlement process do they address the elephant factor, complains Manori.
She points out that the DWC lacks the capacity to assist and implement conflict mitigation at this level with the development authorities, which will create another warfront of HEC in North. At a Stakeholder workshop on HEC, initiated by Born Free Foundation, it was pointed out that the protests were not regular and took place only if a next of kin was a victim.
It was pointed out that villagers were anything but cooperative of the DWC’s efforts at mitigation of HEC, preferring to sit it out on the sidelines, while expecting the DWC to go it alone. The villagers’ apathy towards cooperating with the DWC, even went to the extent of pilfering wires connected to the electrified fence, for its sale afterwards.

Sri Lanka has much scientific data to manage HEC, with the drafting of the National Policy for the Conservation and Management of wild elephants in Sri Lanka, several years ago. But this is yet to be implemented. Sri Lanka’s conservationists also had high hopes that the US$ 30 million World Bank (WB) loan for Ecosystem Conservation & Management Project would facilitate new conservation oriented programmes to alleviate HEC in the long term.
However, the Ministry of Finance informed the WB that this project did not address the development priorities of the government, and suggested modifications to the project design and the inclusion of additional activities which were not conservation oriented.

This resulted in the loan’s cancellation and with that went the efforts of the scientists. HEC needs a well-planned conservation approach, and if the Government and the policymakers are not willing to address the problem in conservation terms, these kind of protests are inevitable. The DWC alone will not be able to provide a solution.


Now, Sinharaja under ‘road-threat’

The proposed road adjacent to this World Heritage Site, may bring relief to people but it could destroy the rich biodiversity of the area, warn conservationists
By Malaka Rodrigo
Roads that are being constructed across many wildlife sanctuaries in the name of development are in the news these days. The latest among these is a road that will be constructed adjacent to the World Heritage Site of the Sinharaja Rainforest. The proposed road will connect Pothupitiya/ Illuokanda to Rakwana/Deniyaya A17 road near Suriyakanda.

Tagged as a major project to connect Kalawana and Kolonne, local politicians are promising the people of the area that the road would bring much relief to them. However, this road, work on which began on July 27, will be harmful to the rich biodiversity in the area, environmentalists warn.
The proposed road will mainly go through lands adjacent to the Morning Side of Sinharaja , say conservationists attached to the Green Movement of Sri Lanka. Most of the forest lands which are under the Land Reform Commission (LRC) will be cleared for this road and the next inevitable step would be the distribution of LRC lands in the vicinity of the road to private owners, Green Movement’s Bandu Ranga Kariyawasam said.
He claimed a considerable area of forest patch is to be cleared under this project, although the Central Environmental Authority had not carried out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Forest Department too seemed to be silent on the issue.

Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardane stressed that any development even close to 100 metres was not legal. He said there was a possibility that this road would cut across protected areas too, adding that authorities should investigate the matter.

Sinharaja was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve (MAB) due to its unique biodiversity.

The Morning Side of Sinharaja has a unique ecosystem and is the only home for many of the threatened endemic animals and plants including several amphibian species that have been recorded only on one single location. These sites are sometimes outside the protected areas either on private lands or LRC lands. This highlights that there could be many more undiscovered species new to science on the adjacent forest patches to Sinharaja and other rainforests and clearance of a small patch of forest could make a species extinct within a few days. Even if this road results in the clearing of rainforest patches outside the boundary of the protected area it would still make a big impact.

Sri Lanka has been tagged as one of the 35 Biodiversity Hotspots of the world considering the number of species present in a unique land area, especially in tropical rainforests and cloud forests. Although these rainforests do not have charismatic species like elephant or bear, they are home to endemic lizards, amphibians, plants, freshwater fish, birds etc. The clearance of such a forest in this area is 10 times more destructive than clearing of a forest in a dry zone. But 80% of Sri Lanka’s Protected Areas are located in the dry zone and the wet zone which results in forests in the hill country being encroached for different reasons.

Environmentalists also say the conservation of these tropical rainforests is linked to the conservation of natural forest cover and this is emphasized in the 1997 report “Designing an Optimum Protected Area System for Sri Lanka” which has been collectively prepared by IUCN and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC). It recommends Sinharaja Forest Reserve be conserved as a contiguous forest. This means adding LRC forest lands too to the protected area. But even after 11 years, this has not been implemented resulting in fragmentation and deforestation of the forest.

Mr. Gunawardane also pointed out that a cabinet paper was approved in 2004 to handover LRC lands adjacent to the Sinharaja to the Forest Department when A.H.M.Fowzie was the environmental minister. The Green Movement also says that the cabinet paper instructed to value these lands Rs.0/= (Zero value) and give them to the Forest Department. But LRC has valued these lands, claiming money from the Forest Department and Forest Department apparently had no funds to get these lands back. Due to these ongoing disputes valuable rainforest patches in these LRC lands are under threat.
The cultivation of tea and vegetables is a major reason for encroachment into forest land in these areas and the proposed road will entice more people to encroach, warn environmentalists. In a move to exert pressure on authorities to take steps the Green Movement has written to UNESCO seeking that Sinharaja be named a ‘World Heritage in Danger’ which would give more protective measures.


Norochcholai phase II to add 17% to national grid

By Tharaka Basnayaka
The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) took over the operational and administrative duties of the Norochcholai coal Power plant from the China Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation last week. Prof. Wimaladarma Abeywickrama, chairman of the CEB in a press briefing held at the Norachcholai Power plant, Puttalam said that the plant was now contributing 300 MW to the national power grid which amounted to 17% of the nation’s energy requirement.
A further 600MW is to be added to the national grid after the completion of the second phase of Norochcholai Power Plant..
The chairman refuted the allegations of using diesel as an energy source to generate electricity in Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant saying that diesel was only used as the fuel for the start up for the boiler and it was not used afterwards.

Lack of rain resulting in low water levels in hydro reservoirs and a sudden breakdown in the Lakvijaya power plant led to occasional power disruptions in the country which are now being overcome.
Speaking to the media, the Deputy General Manager of the Lakvijaya Coal power plant, Saliya Panditharathna said, “Norochcholai power plant produces a power unit (1kWh) consuming 40g of coal, at a cost of Rs. 9.50, sold for Rs. 13.50 which is cheaper and profitable compared to the hydrocarbon power plants. A Hydro power unit costs around Rs. 2.50 while Sapugaskanka furnace power plant produces a power unit at Rs. 10.50. Comparatively one power unit produced by wind mills at the Norochcholai power plant costs Rs.22, yet it is a world renowned renewable energy source.”

He urged the people, NGOs and other civil and religious organisations who are pointing fingers at the Norochcholai coal power plant to have a closer look at the Utukorin Thermal power plant which is situated at Tamil Nadu that emits around 25-30% of ash to the atmosphere that could have a direct effect on Sri Lanka due to the usage of impure coal content.
Despite the recent floods in south Australia that made the coal prices rise, the global coal prices are likely to be stable as the major contributors like China , India, etc. being economically stable compared to the global petroleum industry. Indonesia is the main source of coal for the Norochcholai power plant which is affordable and low sulfur concentrated thus being environmental friendly and keeping the sulfur dioxide emission to less than 1.2%.

Although the latest technology is more effective in resolving the energy crises, it is expensive and the Chinese technology used for Norochcholai Power plant is moderate and affordable and is suitable to the country, he added. The separation of coal ash has brought new revenue as 12 tons of coal ash is separated and stored per hour. Coal ash can be two types, one is Fly Ash, widely brought by the cement companies while Bottom Ash is taken by the National Engineering Research and Development Center (NERD) who are currently researching on using bottom ash to use as a filling substance.
Expressing his views on the 2,000-odd Chinese labourers he said that despite of the obstacles in communicating with the Chinese labour is more efficient and effective compared to the locals yet the villagers don’t find them too friendly. The Chinese have established a noodles manufacturing facility at the plant so there’s no need for them to buy them from outside.

Panditharathne also commented about the issue of school children not being taken inside the complex. “We always look forward to the school children who come to explore the power plant but the elders who are accusing us should get to see the danger that is associated with it. So we are cautious when dealing with the future generation of this country. That is why we have come up with a plan to employ a guide and take the children to selected places”.
Furthermore Panditharathna refuted the allegations of power plant’s machinery and equipment being old and used. “Establishing a power plant near the coastal region is always demanding for the machinery and equipment. We received brand new machinery from the Chinese government which are being exposed to the salty coastal atmosphere causing them to rust. But efforts are being taken to keep them in the best condition,” he said.
The fishermen who made a living out of ‘Madu Dal’ industry have been provided with boats and gear. During the off season the fisherman are able to cultivate in the land given to them by the government. The villagers who were displaced due to the project have been resettled with minimal effect to their social environment, said Anura Wijepala, Deputy chairman (CEB). He denied the allegations of providing free electricity from the Norochcholai power plant for religious purposes or events.

The Sri Lankan government spent Rs. 5,300 million for the 1st phase of the project and the Chinese government contributed with USD 455 million out of which USD 155 million were given at a low interest rate of 2% while the balance USD 300 million was given at an interest rate of 6%. The contract agreement for the second phase of the project was signed between EMEC and CEB in June 2009. A further 600MW is to be added to the national grid after the completion of the second phase. The Chinese contribution for the 2nd phase is USD 891 million funded by Chinese government through EXIM bank of China and the Rupee funding is by the government of Sri Lanka.
CEB Chairman Prof. Wimaladharma Abeywickrama, CEB Vice Chairman Anura Wijepala ,CEB Operational Director Prasanna Guanasena, CEB Additional General Manager Nihal Wickremasuriya and Deputy General Manager of Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant Saliya Panditharathna, were among the officials present at the event.


Making the consumer a decision-maker

‘Customer is the king’ says the well-known maxim, yet in reality it is questionable. How many of us would stand up for our individual consumer rights which will ensure the welfare of an entire nation’s consumers? Instead of being passive bystanders before infringements of consumer right violations, it is time consumers recognise their rights and obligations as a progressive step towards building a content society. The Nation spoke to Dr. Ajantha Perera, Chairperson Association for Consumer Action and the former Board Director and Member of the Pricing Committee and Complaint Resolving Committee of the Consumer Affairs Authority
By Randima Attygalle
You walk out of a boutique or a supermarket with a bar of chocolate and once unwrapped, find white specks. The expiry date is a far ahead and you ruffle your brain, ‘how could it be’? You often come to the resolution, ‘tough luck’ and discard the chocolate. In a super market you may pick up an item priced at Rs.250 and at the counter you’re told its Rs.50 more, as the price has soared only a day before. You grudgingly pay knowing little that it’s your right to pay only what the label says!
On another occasion, the receptionist at an organisation gives you misleading information and you miss out an opportunity of a lifetime! You moan and groan and curse the entire bureaucracy and remain a passive bystander. “This should not be the case. Instead of remaining a passive, unsatisfied consumer, you got a right and an obligation to bring up the grievance before the Consumer Affairs Authority for the welfare of all consumers in the country,” says Dr. Ajantha Perera.
Ensuring consumer welfare
Be it goods or services, the common reaction of the unsatisfied consumer is either to cease patronising a particular brand or the source it comes from or look at a particular forum with a critical eye. As a responsible consumer, our mandate is much larger than making a mere verbal fuss or swapping the shop or the super market. As Dr. Perera observes, lodging a complaint with the Consumer Affairs Authority enables the authorities to summon the complainant and the particular manufacturer of a good or an organiSation rendering a particular service to a common platform and inquire into the grievance and offer the aggrieved consumer compensation. “It is not merely the cost of the inferior good which is compensated but the possible vulnerability it would have caused such as medical expenses and loss of wages. This applies to services as well,” explained Dr. Perera.

A written complaint with sufficient evidence is mutually beneficial in ensuring consumer welfare and quality assurance on the part of the manufacturer and as Dr. Perera advises, retaining a receipt for goods or services obtained or a wrapper, carton of a particular consumer good, serve as sound evidence before the Consumer Affairs Authority when investigating into a grievance. As she further observes, despite the increase in the volume of such complaints over the last few years, there still exists a dire need to create consumer-awareness on a larger magnitude. “Lodging a complaint should always be viewed in a positive light because the purpose is to better the society. A complaint is brought up to ensure the wellbeing of the entire population of a country and just as the authorities of the Consumer Affairs Authority takes a decision in good faith on behalf of all consumers, there is a corresponding obligation on the part of the consumer,” Dr. Perera opined.
Legislative provisions
A lightly-printed bill where figures are hardly visible, a bill where the ink blotches moment it’s touched, may escape the notice of most of us, ignorant of the fact that they are shrewd marketing strategies devised to wipe out the best evidence consumers may hold. A product in the market which doesn’t adhere to the basics of consumer safety including the price, manufactured date, packed date (in case of bulk products which are re-packed), expiry dates are products to be shunned by the consumer as Dr. Perera observes. “In addition to the above, there are certain products in the local market such as bottled water which requires mandatory SLS certification as well as Health Ministry’s certification. Many consumers are also unaware that the consumer protection legislature requires a display of prices pertaining to all products which do not endorse a price on the label. This requirement is specifically related to unpacked items such as rice, grains, flour etc,” elaborated Dr. Perera.

The legislative provisions stipulated in the Consumer Affairs Authority Act (No. 9 of 2003) are large in scope extending to goods and services provided by both state and private owned bodies enabling the consumer to exhaust his/her full rights as a consumer. However, the obligation which lies on the shoulders of the consumer should not be forgotten, making the bottom line, ‘common sense’. Readily paying whatever the seller demands and realising later that there is a discrepancy with no receipt to claim leaves the consumer in the lurch. Failing to sign the ‘guarantee card’ and post it to the seller on time will offer you no remedy if an electrical good causes trouble within the guarantee period. As Dr. Perera advises, “knowing the seller personally may not always do the trick!”
Emerging a decision maker
Advertisements which always aspire to win the attention of the consumers towards the ‘unknown’ are a yardstick which can also assess the decisive power of the consumers. “Everything that glistens is not certainly gold which is applicable in the case of advertising. TV advertising does not promote pure water, mangoes or jak fruit but goods which people are not aware of. This again doesn’t mean that if you don’t drink a certain milk powder you will start falling apart after 40 or your child will get more intelligent when fed on a supplement,” Dr. Perera explained adding that the customer should necessary possess the intelligence to ‘read between the lines’ and to emerge a decision maker.

Society wants a wise consumer and not necessarily a consumer going with the Bandwagon. As Dr. Perera notes, it’s the consumer who got the money in hands to cater to the marketing strategies and he or she should spend a little time pondering if everything that glistens is actually gold…
Spending a little time reading the labels and learning to bend down are two golden tips Dr. Perera offers to the consumer. “A well-known global marketing strategy is to place the most expensive products at an eye level and cheaper goods at the bottom compelling a customer to squat and bend down and select. Since most of the consumers don’t take the trouble to stoop down, this marketing strategy is often achieved,” pointed out Dr. Perera who also warned that goods displayed in a jumble at a super market may not necessarily be cheap or discounted items and at times, they may even turn out to be more expensive than the rest.

The secret behind a happy society is the consumer satisfaction and it’s necessarily a society which strives to ensure this satisfaction. “In the developed part of the world, people are very conscious of their earnings and they will ensure that the hard-earnings are productively spent. Today, we are also a nation moving towards development and no longer existing in the cave age, thus consumer welfare is a progressive step to be taken in that direction whilst ensuring quality life and increasing consumer awareness,” concluded Dr. Perera.
Consumer Affairs Authority Act (No. 9 of 2003)
• Sect 11- Selling or offering to sell above the marked price
Any person who sells or offers to sell any goods :the price marked on the goods in accordance with a direction issued under section 10, shall be guilty of an offence under this Act
• Sect 26- Trader to display price list
26 (1) Every trader shall exhibit conspicuously in his place of business, a notice specifying the maximum retail or wholesale price, as the case may be, of goods available for sale in his place of business other than the price of any goods, the price of which is marked on the goods itself or on the wrapper or pack containing it or marked in any other manner as may be required by any law.
(2) A complete list of the price of goods, available for sale shall be kept within the place of business at all times for inspection whenever required.

• Sect 31- False representation
31. Any trader who, in the course of a trade or business, in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or in connection with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of goods or services:

(a) falsely represents that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model;

(b) falsely represents that goods are new;

(c) represents that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance, characteristics accessories, uses or benefits they do not have;

(d) represents that such trader has a sponsorship approval or affiliation he does not have ;

(e) makes false or misleading statements concerning the existence of, or amounts of price reduction or price increase;

(f) makes false or misleading statements concerning the need for any goods, services, replacements or repairs; or

(g) makes false or misleading statements concerning the existence or effect of any warranty or guarantee shall be guilty of an offence under this Act.


Sell lunch packets within 4 hours

Head of the CMC health division warns vendors

By S. Selvakumar

All packets of lunch brought into the city should be sold within four hours of preparation, Head of the CMC health division Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam told a meeting of lunch packet sellers held at the Municipality Auditorium earlier this week.

This was one of the measures adopted by the Colombo Municipality following complaints by several consumers as well as following detections made by Public Health Inspectors that food parcels, especially lunch packets brought to the city from the suburbs were often did not meet the expected quality and sometimes spoilt.
At this meeting addressed by Dr. Kariyawasam over 100 sellers of lunch packets were present along with various Municipal officials including Public Health Inspectors.

It was also told that a ban has been imposed to pack food in rigifoam containers and in newsprint which he explained was a health hazard that could even lead to dangerous diseases like cancer if consumed regularly since the oily matter in the container and newsprint get absorbed to the food.

Dr. Kariyawasam also explained that a scheme has been implemented to register those food sellers in the city that would help CMC authorities to keep a constant tab on them. The PHIs have been authorised to subject the food in the packets for inspection to ascertain the quality and purity, he told the vendors. He requested them to cooperate with the authorities to ensure clean and wholesome food mainly to thousands of office workers who patronise them daily.

“This was only a start aimed at ensuring quality and clean lunch to office workers since many of them cannot afford to eat at posh hotels. The scheme will be intensified in the future and those vendors who fail to adhere to standards specified by the CMC would be prosecuted after a few initial warnings,” Dr.Kariyawasam said.


Dengue update: 31st July Dengue is soaring

Despite ministry claims of drastic reduction
Dengue is soaring, says CMC official

By Carol Aloysius

Health personnel Saturday, dismissed Health Ministry’s claims of a drastic reduction (by 50%) of dengue up to July this year compared to last year, as reported by a leading state newspaper, Friday. 

“It is misleading and far from the truth”, CMC Medical Chief Officer of Health, Dr Pradeep Kariyawasam told The Nation, “The dengue is soaring. It will probably overtake the previous year. You can’t go by figures in the first half of the year, as Dengue usually increases in the second half of the year when weather conditions become more conducive to the mosquito vector to lay its eggs as the rains begin in earnest. This is already evident by the fact that the number of cases in July has increased over June by nearly 235”. 

His views were endorsed by doctors treating dengue patients in state and private hospitals in Colombo. “We are unable to cope with the large numbers brought to us daily. Because of overcrowding many patients share beds and even ICU patients are being treated outside the units”, a doctor at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children said.
Meanwhile the Health Ministry, despite its claims of a reduction in the epidemic, is getting ready for an emergency situation. “We are continuing to train all dengue specialists by the Thai experts we have specially invited there for this purpose. We are also upgrading 72 state hospitals with High Dependency Units to provide ICU care for dengue patients,” a health spokesman told The Nation. 

Epidemiology Unit’s latest figures up to July 29, shows the number of dengue cases has now reached 14,000 – up by 13,100 cases from the beginning of the year. Colombo district leads other districts with 5,455 cases and 51 deaths. Colombo Municipal area reported 1950 cases and 20 deaths and other areas 2511 with 32 deaths bringing the total to 5460 cases and 32 deaths by July end. The large urban population, congested housing and unsatisfactory solid waste removal in certain parts of the city where construction work has resulted in piles of rubble collecting amidst garbage mounds provide ideal breeding sites for the dengue vector, Municipal sources told The Nation.

Other areas with large number of cases include: Gampaha (2,031cases with 16 deaths), Kalutara (767 cases, 6 deaths), Batticaloa (651 cases, 9 deaths) Kurunegala (528 cases, 4 deaths ,) Ratnapura (551 cases 3 deaths), Kandy, (461 cases, 2 deaths), Galle (453 cases, 1 death), Puttlam (322 cases, 6 deaths), Kegalle (389 cases, 2 deaths).

Health officials appealed to parents not to take their sick children to witch doctors and Ayurveda physicians but immediately take the child to a qualified Western treatment doctor or the hospital, before they developed Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever which was difficult to cure.


ආසනික් පරීක්ෂණ යට ගැහුවේ ඇයි?


පෞද්ගලික අංශයටත් බී.ටී.අයි. ගෙන්වන්න පුළුවන්

නෝමන් පලිහවඩන
පෞද්ගලික අංශයට ද බී. ටී. අයි. මදුරුනාශක ගෙන්වීමට අවසර දී ඇතැයි සෞඛ්‍ය අමාත්‍යංශයේ ජ්‍යෙෂ්ඨ ප්‍රකාශකයකු "දිවයින"ට පැවසීය. මෙම මදුරු නාශකය පෞද්ගලික ආයතනයන් මගින් දැනටමත් ගෙන්වා ඇති අතර ඒවා බෙදාහැරීම සඳහා සෞඛ්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශයේ නිලධාරීන්ගෙන් සහාය ඉල්ලා ඇතැයි වාර්තා වේ. මෙම බී. ටී. අයි. බැක්‌ටීරියාව ගෙන්වා ඇත්තේ ඇමෙරිකාවෙන් බවද දැනගැනීමට ලැබී ඇත.


Mahaweli Authority Blunders

By Gazala Anver

The Chairman of the Central Environment Authority (CEA), Charitha Herath, said that the CEA needs to address many issues, including the wrongs committed by the Mahaweli Authority (MA) with regard to the unlicensed Warathenna Hydro Power Project.
Legal action will be taken against the project proponents, Asia Hydro Power Generation Private Ltd, who have continued with the project despite not receiving a license from the CEA.
They had previously been granted a three year license, during which time they failed to start the project. There was a request to renew the license but the CEA informs that they did not give concurrence for the project to take place the second time around.
“Despite asking for our concurrence, which we did not give, the MA gave clearance to the project proponents,” said Herath. He added that the project proponents seemed to be “having some understanding with the MA but this is not enough for them to go ahead.”
“We need to hold more meetings with the MA and the project proponents before we can take legal action,” he said. “We need to look at what we can do to mitigate this problem,” he added.
Director General, Mahaweli Authority, D.M.C Dissanayake meanwhile dodged the issue when contacted. “There is no problem now, we stopped that,” he said. When asked if the MA continued despite the red light from the CEA, he said that “initially we had done that – now we stopped.”
Environmentalists highlighted that environmental problems have been caused due to the blasting that took place for the project. The Green Labeo, (scientific name Labeo fischeri), was in fact believed to be extinct until the blasting brought to surface three dead specimens. These fish are now highly endangered, they highlighted.
Scientist, Pradeep Samarawickrema also noted that the blasting did not stop until last Sunday (July 24), despite the Mahaweli Authority claiming to The Sunday Leader that they sent a team to investigate the matter on Friday 22.

Amending Fauna and Flora Law Can Harm Biodiversity

By Nirmala Kannangara
Although this arrangement came to a halt a few months ago due to pressure from environmentalists in the country, speculation is now rife as to whether these plans would be finally implemented since efforts are being made to amend the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance.
“What is the reason to amend the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance within a short period of time since it was amended last in 2009? Could this move be to implement the once stalled plan to export colourful snakes to Germany as pets?” Zoologist Dilan Peiris asked.
According to Peiris, this plan was to be initiated as a BOI project and three German nationals were in Sri Lanka a few months ago to sign the agreement.
“If this plan is to be implemented then the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance would have to be amended as there are no provisions to export these snakes. Only four varieties have been omitted from the Ordinance since they are being sent abroad to test for anti-venom medicine,” said Peiris. According to him, the Cobra, Indian Krait, Russell’s Viper and the Saw-scaled Viper are not included in the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance and there are no restrictions to send them abroad. 
“Under the Fauna and Flora Ordinance it is a non-bailable offence to keep, kill, mate or export the listed snakes,” he added.
Peiris further said that there are 101 varieties of snakes in the country out of which 51 have been identified as endemic species. According to him ,there are many varieties of colourful and attractive varieties of snakes in the country including cobras, flying snakes, cat snakes, green pit vipers, Ceylon kraits, wolf snakes and pipe snakes, etc.
“Sri Lanka is country rich in bio-diversity. After these species are exported and once they obtain the patent we cannot have any claim to these snakes being endemic to Sri Lanka. In addition once they are taken to Germany they will mate them and increase the population of these species and then will have no need to import them from Sri Lanka anymore and the tourist attraction will divert to Germany,” claimed Peiris

Luxury house in reservation; owner penalized

By K G Karunaratne
An unauthorized building in the Patapilikanda Forest Reserve, in Minneriya was acquired by the Forest Conservation Department on a court order. The forest conservator general had filed action against the owner of the luxury house, Ranjani Pathirana (said to be a sister of  a deputy minister) in the Hingurakgoda Magistrate’s Court for constructing an unauthorized building in a forest reserve.
The Hingurakgoda Magistrate, E A K D  Epitawela also made an order to vest the building with the Forest Conservation Department under the Land Acquisition Act, the respondent having failed to produce sufficient proof of her ownership to the land.
The Hingurakgoda magistrate who held that the temporary permit produced by her was not admissible as a grant of land permitting her to construct a permanent building,  ordered the respondent to hand over the possession of the land and property to the forest conservator general.
 The building was taken over by Range Forest Officer, ( Habarana) R M K R Illukkumbura, Additional Range Forest Officer, Sarath Weerasena, Beat Forest Officers, W M Wijesekera, and Piyal Wanigasekera  in the presence of the court registrar, fiscal officers and the police.

And now a Road Through the Sinharaja Forest

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
The latest illegal construction to take place in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve has been initiated by UPFA parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, according to propaganda posters put up in the Ratnapura District on a road construction project.
AbeywickremaThe poster displayed in many parts of Ratnapura states that a 5 km road from Imbulkanda to Sooriyakanda on the border of the Sinharaja forest in the Ratnapura District would commence construction from July 27th on a directive issued by the young Rajapaksa.
The road is estimated to cost Rs. 6.5 million and the Highways Ministry has passed the finances.
The Highways Ministry is interestingly under the purview of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
A picture of the propaganda poster put up in Ratnapura on the road project is shown in the newspaper.
Despite complaints made by environmentalists, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve continues to be destroyed with the authorities failing to take any action to protect the forest that has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Environmentalists say that while several illegal constructions have taken place in the forest reserve, some areas in the forest have been cleared to make way for so-called tourism projects.
The Sunday Leader is in possession of photographs that show some of the illegal constructions and clearing of areas in the Sinharaja forest.
National Coordinator of the Center for Environment Studies, environmentalist Ravindra Kariyawasam said that complaints have been made to the Environment Ministry since 2008 on the illegal clearing of areas taking place inside the Sinharaja forest and the construction of roads and other structures within the forest reserve.
Unfortunately, the authorities have failed to take any action against the violators and the destruction of the forest reserve continues unabated.
“Everyone passes the buck and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve continues to be destroyed,” he said.
Referring to the road that was inaugurated last week from Imbulkanda to Sooriyakanda, Kariyawasam said that according to the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance, no construction should be allowed within 100 meters from the reserve boundary line.
“However, this road will be constructed on the boundary line. It is a complete violation of the law,” he said.
Ironically, the lawmakers in the country are initiating the construction of the road.
A similar road Kariyawasam noted had been constructed in the Diyaduwa reserve, which is under the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, in the Deniyaya area.
Kariyawasam added that a 14-acre area in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve has been cleared in the Sooriyakanda area for a tourism project.
He said that a swimming pool has also been built in an area called Aranya in the forest. “The swimming pool has no owner. When the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) was informed of the swimming pool they could not find any one responsible for the construction following their investigation,” he said.
Kariyawasam explained that any construction needed to have an environment impact assessment done and an announcement made for the public to respond with any petitions within a 31-day period.
However, these procedures are not been followed and the destruction happens freely, he lamented.
“Sinharaja is one of the primary forest reserves in the world and a study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Orgaization (FAO) in 2010 had ranked Sri Lanka in the fourth spot where the destruction of primary forests is concerned,” Kariyawasam said.
Kariyawasam called on the environment authorities to implement the National Conservation report that had been prepared based on the biological value of the country’s forests.
“It has been years since the report was prepared but it has not been implemented,” he said.
When contacted by The Sunday Leader, the CEA said the Authority did not have any mandate to act against violation of regulations related to forests in the country.
CEA Chairman Charitha Herath said that contrary to the common perception, all environment related issues were not under the Authority’s purview.
He said that the issues related to the violation of the Sinharaja forest was under the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance, which is monitored by the Forest Department. Conservator General of the Forest Department, H. M. P. Hitikanda was not available for comment. A deputy conservator at the Department when contacted said that he was unable to comment on the matter and asked The Sunday Leader to contact Hitikanda for comment.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Elephant Census (2 news items)

15 National Parks closed for three days - Elephant census to cost Rs. 20 mn

By Pabodha Hettige

The Department of Wildlife Conservation is conducting sessions to train its officials on how to conduct the countrywide elephant census, scheduled to take place next month, sources from the Wildlife Department said. "Mock training sessions have been conducted in all parts of the country and are now being carried out in the Northern Province with the assistance of the armed forces," the DWC said.

The DWC is planning to obtain the assistance of nearly 4,000 people to carry out the census. They will include wildlife officials, university students, NGO personnel, members of the armed forces and the residents of the respective areas. The officials have been trained to avoid double counting of the jumbos and to avoid jumbo attacks. The officials will be deployed at 1,553 counting points in all the national parks, the DWC said.

Fifteen National Parks countrywide will be closed for three days in this regard from August 11 to 13, the DWC said. Accordingly Kumana, Wilpattu, Yala, Bundala, Gal Oya, Maduru Oya, Lahugala, Udawalawe, Wasgamuwa, Somawathi, Lunugamwehera, Minneriya, Angammadilla and Kaudulla National Parks and several other places will be closed for visitors due to the census.

"It is estimated that the census would cost nearly 20 million rupees," the DWC said. The census would categorize elephants into males, females, baby jumbos, wounded elephants, tuskers and record their respective numbers. A special study would be carried out regarding tuskers and the size of their tusks.

The census is based near water ways and the DWC has chosen the dry season to conduct it since the elephants come to drink water at least once a day. The DWC believes that there could be nearly 6,000 elephants’ island wide.

Previously few censuses on elephants had been carried out but this is the first countrywide census. In 1993 a census was carried out in the country except the Northern and Eastern Provinces and a total of 1,967 elephants were recorded. In 2004 nearly 1,400 elephants had been recorded in the North Western wildlife region, covering Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam and Vavuniya districts. The last census was carried out in the Mahaweli wildlife region in 2008, where 2149 elephants were recorded, the DWC said.

 දිවයිනම ආවරණය වන පරිදි අලි ඇතුන් සංගණනයක්‌
කන්තලේ - ඩබ්. ඇම්. වික්‍රමසිංහ

ප්‍රථම වතාවට මුළු දිවයිනම ආවරණය වන පරිදි වන අලි සංගණනයක්‌ කිරීමට වනජීවී සංරක්‌ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව කටයුතු යොදා ඇතැයි කන්තලේ අලි පාලන ඒකකයේ වනජීවී අඩවි සහකාර ඡේ. ඒ. පී. විජය කුමාර මහතා පැවසීය.

විශේෂයෙන්ම පසුගිය 30 වසර පුරා උතුරු නැගෙනහිර ප්‍රදේශවල පැවැති යුද ගැටුම් හේතුවෙන් එම ප්‍රදේශවල සිටින වල් අලින්ගේ නිශ්චිත ගණනයක්‌ කිරීමට නොහැකිවූ අතර මෙම සංගණනයේ දී ඊට වැඩි අවස්‌ථාවක්‌ ලබාදීමටද කටයුතු යොදා ඇත.

ජාතික වනෝද්‍යානවලට අමතරව දිවයිනේ සියලුම අභයභූමි හා රක්‌ෂිත භූමිද විශාල වශයෙන් අලි ගැවසෙන ස්‌ථානයන්ද ආවරණය වන පරිදි මෙම සංගණනය සිදු කෙරේ.

මේ වන විට වනජීවී දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව විසින් වල් අලින් විශාල වශයෙන් ගැවසෙන ස්‌ථාන 1500 කට වැඩි ප්‍රමාණයක්‌ හඳුනාගෙන ඇති අතර මෙම සංගණනයේ දී දළ ඇතුන්, පැටවුන් හා රෝගී ඇතුන් පිළිබඳවද කරුණු සොයා බැලීමට තීරණය කොට ඇත.

මෙම සමීක්‌ෂණය සඳහා දැනට වනජීවී දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ සිටින නිලධාරීන්ට අමතරව රාජ්‍ය නොවන සංවිධානවල හා සිවිල් වැසියන්ගේ සහයද ලබාගැනීමට නියමිතය.

විශේෂයෙන් වන අලි ගැවසෙන ජලය ආශ්‍රිත ස්‌ථාන, වැව්, ඇළවල්, ගංගා, පොකුණු යන ස්‌ථානවල වනජීවී නිලධාරීන් සමග සිවිල් පුද්ගලයන් දෙදෙනකු යොදවා එක දිගට දින 2 ක්‌ රැඳී සිටිමින් එම ස්‌ථාන වෙත එන අලින් සියල්ල නිරීක්‌ෂණය කෙරෙනු ඇත.

මේ වන විට වනජීවී නිලධාරීන් අලින් ගැවසෙන ස්‌ථානයන් පිළිබඳව පෙර විමසුම්වල යෙදී සිටින බවද විජය කුමාර මහතා වැඩිදුරටත් සඳහන් කළේය.

Dengue update: 30th July

'Destroy breeding sites to prevent dengue'

The public should destroydengue mosquito breeding sites to prevent dengue from spreading, a Health Ministry spokesman said. Meanwhile, the Epidemiology Unit said 13,887 dengue cases and over 100 dengue deaths had been reported from all parts of the country by July 28. The highest number of dengue cases, 5,433 had been reported from the Colombo district.

Technology to produce food items from murunga leaves developed

by Amila Prabath Wanasinghe

The Post Harvest Institute of Technology in Anuradhapura has developed a technology to produce biscuits, cakes and other nutritious food items by mixing drumstick (murunga) leaves with rice flour. This follows research conducted by the institute’s Director Dr Swarsika Tillakaratne. Dr Tillakaratne said food turned out of murunga leaves is rich in vitamins,
proteins, calcium and other minerals. It helps to combat malnutritions, diabetes and high blood pressure. Murunga leaves are abundant in the dry zone including the Anuradhapura district. The main purpose behind their finding was to wean people away from the consumption of wheat flour. The Institute is willing to provide the new technology to persons and institutions interested in it.

වන ජීවී අධ්‍යක්ෂ හා ආදි වාසි නායකයා අතර අවබෝධතා ගිවිසුමක්

වනජීවි අධ්‍යක්ෂ සහ ආදිවාසී නායකයා අතර අවබෝධතා ගිවිසුමක් වාකරේ වෙරළබඩ ආදිවාසි ගම්මානයේදී හෙට (31) අස්සන් කෙරේ. ජගත් ආදි වාසී දිනයට සමගාමීව මේ ගිවිසුමට අස්සන් තබයි. මාදුරු ඔය ජාතික උද්‍යානයේත්, දඹාන ආදි වාසි ගම්මානයේ ජීවත් වන ආදි වාසීන් අතර සබඳතා ගොඩ නඟා ගැනීම මේ ගිවිසුමෙන් බලාපොරොත්තු වෙයි.
එමෙන්ම ආදි වාසීන්ගේ සම්ප්‍රදායක චාරිත්‍ර වාරිත්‍ර සහජීවන රටා ආරක්ෂා කර ගැනීම මාදුරුඔය ජාතික වනෝද්‍යානය ආරක්ෂාවට ආදි වාසී සහාය ලබා ගැනීමටද ගිවිසුමෙන් බලාපොරොත්තු වෙයි. වන ජීවි අධ්‍යක්ෂ ජෙනරාල් වෛද්‍ය චන්ද්‍රවංශ පතිරාජ මහතා සහ වනස්පති විශ්ව කීර්ති ඌරුවරිගේ වන්නිලැත්තෝ ගිවිසුමට අස්සන් තබති.

දැව තොගය හලා පලා ගිහින්

පොලිස් ජීප් රථය දැක ලොරියකින් ප්‍රවාහනය කරමින් තිබූ මහෝගනී ඉරූ දැව තොගයක් මහ මග හලා පලායෑමේ සිද්ධියක් පසුගියදා අලුයම කෑගල්ල පොලිස් වසමේ පුවක්දෙනිය දිවුල්ගමුව ප්‍රදේශයේ දී සිදුවිය. මහ මග හලා ගිය දැව තොගය කෑගල්ල පොලිස් ස්ථානයට ගෙන ඒමෙන් පසු මූලස්ථාන පොලිස් පරීක්ෂක කමල් පෙරේරා මහතා ප්‍රධාන නිලධාරීන් කණ්ඩායමක් පරීක්ෂා කළ අයුරු.

ධීවර කර්මාන්තය හා ජල ජීවී වගාව ඉතිහාසය පුරා අපගේ ජීවිතවල කොටසක්‌ ලෙස නොනැවතී පැවතුණා

ආසියාව හා සැසඳීමේදී ඉතා සුළු වුවත් ධීවර කර්මාන්තය හා ජල ජීවී වගාව ඉතිහාසය පුරා අපගේ ජීවිතවල කොටසක්‌ ලෙස නොනැවතී පැවතුණාජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ

අනුර බාලසූරිය

ආසියානු රටවල් හා සැසඳීමේදී ධීවර කර්මාන්තය සහ ජල ජීවී වගාව අපේ රටේ සුළු වශයෙන් ක්‍රියාත්මක වුවත් ඉතිහාසය පුරා ධීවර කර්මාන්තය අපගේ ජීවිතවල කොටසක්‌ ලෙස නොනැවතී පැවතුනා යෑයි ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා පැවැසීය.

ජනාධිපතිවරයා මේ බව කියා සිටියේ පෙරේදා (28 වැනිදා) හිල්ටන් හෝටලයේ පැවැති ආහාර ආරක්‍ෂණය, පෝෂණය හා ආර්ථික සංවර්ධනය සඳහා ජලජීවී වගාව පිළිබඳ ආසියානු කලාපීය අමාත්‍ය හමුවේ සමාරම්භක දේශනයට සහභාගි වෙමිණි.

මෙහිදී වැඩිදුරටත් අදහස්‌ දැක්‌වූ ජනාධිපතිවරයා මෙසේද පැවැසීය.

අපේ රටේත්, ලෝකයේත් ආහාර ආරක්‍ෂණය පිළිබඳ ඉඩ ප්‍රස්‌ථා හා අභියෝගයන් දෙස අප බලා සිටින හා අපේ රටේ ඵලදායී ජල ජීවී වගාව සංවර්ධනයෙන් ඇති විය හැකි ප්‍රතිලාභ අප අවබෝධ කරගන්නා අවස්‌ථාවක මෙම අමාත්‍ය සමුළුව මෙහි පවත්වන්නට ලැබීමේ වරප්‍රසාදය පිළිබඳ සතුටු සිතැතිව මම ඔබ සියලු දෙනා සාදරයෙන් පිළිගනිමි.

දූපත්වාසී ජනතාවක්‌ ලෙස ධීවර කර්මාන්තය පිළිබඳ ඉතා දීර්ඝ ඉතිහාසයක්‌ අපට තිබේ. ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන්ගේ ජාතික ආහාරවේලට මාංශජනක ධාතු 70% ක්‌ එක්‌ කරන ඉතා වැදගත් ප්‍රභවයක්‌ වන එය මාළු සඳහා වැඩි වන ඉල්ලුමක්‌ සහිතව පුළුල් වෙමින් පවතින සම්ප්‍රදායකි.

ආසියානු කලාපයට එහි අතිවිශාල මත්ස්‍ය සම්පත සමඟින් ලොව බෝකරන මත්ස්‍ය ප්‍රමාණයෙන් 90% ටත් වඩා නිෂ්පාදනය කරන බව සඳහන් කළ යුතුය. මෙය කොළඹ පැවැත්වෙන ඔබගේ හමුවේ තේමාව වන අතර ආහාර, ආරක්‍ෂණය, පෝෂණය හා ආර්ථික සංවර්ධනය සඳහා ජල ජීවී වගාවේ වැදගත්කම පිළිබිඹු කරන්නකි. නමුත් මනුෂ්‍ය වර්ගයාට අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය අනෙකුත් ආහාර නිෂ්පාදනයන් සේම ධීවර කර්මාන්තය ද අද දැඩි ලෙස අනතුරට ලක්‌වී ඇත.

ධීවර සම්පත් අසීමිතව සූරා කනු ලැබ ඇති අතර, පවතින තාක්‍ෂණය යටතේ වඩා වැඩි මත්ස්‍ය අස්‌වැන්නක්‌ ලබාගැනීමේ භෞතික සම්පත් ඒවායේ සීමාවන් වෙත ඉතා වේගයෙන් ළඟා වෙමින් සිටී.

ඔබ අද හමුවන්නේ නිරන්තරයෙන් වර්ධනය වන ජනගහනය පෝෂණය කිරීමට, 2030 වන විට වසරකට මත්ස්‍යයින් තවත් ටොන් මිලියන 30 ක්‌ සපයා ගන්නට සිදුවී තිබීමේ අභියෝගයට මුහුණ දෙමිනි.

ආහාර සඳහා ස්‌වභාවික පරිසරයකින් සපයාගත හැකි ලොව අවසන් සත්ත්ව වර්ගය මත්ස්‍යයින්ය යන්නත් මසුන් ඇල්ලීමෙන් අපේ සාගර මසුන්ගෙන් හිඟ වෙමින් සිටින්නේ කෙසේද යන්නත් පිළිබඳව අප අද නිතර කියවමු. රටවල්වල හා කලාපවල ධීවර ජනතාවගේ ජීවන වෘත්තියට අභියෝග කරමින් මුහුදු පතුල සූරන ට්‍රොaලර් යාත්‍රා පිළිබඳ අපි උගනිමු. එදිනෙදා ජීවිතය සඳහා මසුන් ඇල්ලීමට ධීවරයන් කෙටි කාලයකට මුහුදු යන විට මේ ට්‍රොaලර් යාත්‍රා වෙළෙඳ මෙහෙයුම්වල නියෑළෙයි.

මත්ස්‍යයන්ගේ ස්‌වභාවික පරිසරය බරපතළ ලෙස තර්ජනයට ලක්‌ වෙමින් තිබෙන, ජල ජීවී වගාව සංවර්ධනය කිරීම විශේෂ වැදගත්කමකින් යුක්‌ත වන අවස්‌ථාවක මෙම හමුව ඉතාම කාලෝචිතය.

අපේ මසුන් වගා කරන්නන් ආරක්‍ෂා කිරීම සඳහා දැඩි වෙළෙඳ ප්‍රමිතීන්, තීරු බදු බාධකයන් හා අසාධාරණ වෙළෙඳ භාවිතයන් ඉවත් කිරීම වැනි ප්‍රතිපත්ති අවශ්‍ය වී තිබේ. තිරසාරත්වය වර්ධනය කිරීමට හැකි ක්‍රමයන් අවශ්‍යය. මක්‌ නිසාද ඒවා නොමැති වීමෙන් කුඩා පරිමාණ මත්ස්‍ය ගොවීන්ට හා ධීවරයන්ට අහිතකර බලපෑම් ඇති විය හැකි බැවිනි. මසුන් ඇල්ලීම හා වගා කිරීම මත යෑපෙන, අනතුරට භාජන විය හැකි ජන කොටස්‌වලට හානි සිදුවන්නට පෙර මේවා ඉක්‌මණින් හා මහත් සංවේදීතාවෙන් යුක්‌තව නිරාකරණය කළ යුතුය.

මේ සන්දර්භය තුළ ධීවර කර්මාන්තය පිළිබඳ ආහාර හා කෘෂිකර්ම සංවිධානයේ කමිටුවේ ගෝලීය ජලජීවී වගා සහතික කිරීමේ උපදේශන මාලාවේ නිර්දේශය පිළිබඳව දැනගන්නට ලැබීම මට සතුටට කරුණකි. මම ආහාර හා කෘෂිකර්ම සංවිධානය අගය කරන අතර ආසියාවේ මෙම උපදේශන මාලා ක්‍රියාත්මක කිරීමට අප සියලු දෙනා කැපවිය යුතු බව මම සඳහන් කරමි. ධීවර කර්මාන්තය හා ජලජීවී වගාව සඳහා ගෝලීය න්‍යාය පත්‍රයක්‌ සකස්‌ කිරීම සඳහා ධීවර කමිටුවේ නායකත්වයට මම කෘතඥ වෙමි.

සම්භාවනීය අමුත්තනි, ජලජීවී වගාව සාගරය වෙත ද තවදුරටත් පැතිරෙන විට ජාත්‍යන්තර මුහුදේ කළමනාකාරිත්වයේ වගකීම් පිළිබඳ ගැටලු මඟින් ප්‍රතිපත්ති සම්ප්‍රදායකයන්ට හා සැලසුම්කරුවන්ටත්, ආයෝජකයන්ට හා වෙනත් බොහෝ කොටස්‌කරුවන්ටත් එමඟින් අභියෝග එල්ල වනු ඇත. ආර්ථික කලාපයන් සඳහා නියමිත රැකවරණ සමඟ මුහුද බදු දීම හෝ කුලියට දීම වැනි ගැටලු පිළිබඳ අලුත් ප්‍රතිපත්ති හා නීති අවශ්‍ය වනු ඇත.

කුඩා පරිමාණ හා පාරම්පරික ධීවරයන් තම ජීවනෝපාය පිළිබඳ අසීරු ගැටලුවලට මුහුණ දෙමින් සිටීමත් සමඟ අපේ ලෝකයේත් අපේ කලාපයේත් මත්ස්‍ය තොග හිස්‌ වෙමින් තිබීමේ යථාර්ථයට අපට දැන් මුහුණ දීමට සිදුවී තිබේ. ඔවුහු දකුණු ආසියාවේ ශ්‍රම බළකායෙන් විශාල කොටසකි. ඔවුන්ට උපකාර කිරීමට ක්‍රමයන් සෙවීම හදිසි අවශ්‍යතාවකි. විකල්ප හා අතිරේක ජීවනෝපායයන් ලෙස ජල ජීවී වගාව හා අතිරේක කර්මාන්තවලට අවස්‌ථා නිර්මාණය කිරීම එක්‌ ක්‍රමයක්‌ විය හැකිය. මසුන් ඇල්ලීම මඟින් ආහාර, රැකියා හා ආදායම් සැපයීම දිගටම පවත්වාගෙන යැම සඳහා අපි අපේ ස්‌වභාවික මත්ස්‍ය තොග ද ආරක්‍ෂා කරගත යුතුය.

දේශගුණික වෙනස්‌වීම් සහ හරිතාගාර වායු විමෝචනය සම්බන්ධයෙන් ඇතිවන ගැටලු යනාදී පාරිසරික හා සමාජ සුබ සාධන වැනි වැදගත් කරුණු සම්බන්ධයෙන් ආමන්ත්‍රණයට ජලජීවී වගාව උපකාරී වෙයි. වෙරළාශ්‍රිත පරිසරය සංරක්‍ෂණයට ද මෙය යොදාගත හැකි මාර්ග පිළිබඳ සොයා බැලිය යුතුය. සැලසුම් සහගත සංචාරක වර්ධනයක්‌ සිදුකරගෙන යන ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට මෙය විශේෂ අදාළත්වයක්‌ පවතී.

සම්භාවනීය අමුත්තනි, ජල ජීවී වගාව වර්ධනය කිරීම සඳහා එයට අදාළ සියලුම අංශයන් හී තාක්‍ෂණය සංවර්ධනය කිරීම අවශ්‍යයි. ආසියාවේ සිටින අප මේ හා සම්බන්ධ තාක්‍ෂණයෙන් පොහොසත්ව සිටීම, මෙම ක්‍ෂේත්‍ර තවදුරටත් සංවර්ධනය කිරීමට තිබෙන හැකියාව පෙන්වා තිබීම මෙන්ම වඩා හොඳ ප්‍රතිඵල ලබාගැනීමට හැකිවීම අප දිරි ගන්වන සුළුයි. නමුත් විශාල කලාපයක්‌ තුළ සිටීමේදී අසමතුළිත සංවර්ධන සම්බන්ධයෙන් පවතින ගැටලු ජයග්‍රහණය කිරීම අත්‍යවශ්‍ය මෙන්ම ජල ජීවී වගාවට අපට තිබෙන විශාල හැකියාව නියමාකාරයෙන් හඳුනාගෙන මෙම මත්ස්‍ය සම්පතෙහි වටිනාකම සම්පූර්ණයෙන් අවබෝධ කර ගත යුතුයි.

අනෙක්‌ ආසියානු රටවල් හා සැසඳීමේ දී ධීවර කර්මාන්තය සහ ජල ජීවී වගාව අපේ රටේ සුළු වශයෙන් ක්‍රියාත්මක වුවත් ඉතිහාසය පුරා ධීවර කර්මාන්තය අපගේ ජීවිතවල කොටසක්‌ ලෙස නොනැවතී පැවතුන අතර එය ඉදිරියටත් එලෙසින්ම පවතිනු ඇතැයි මම සිතමි. වර්තමානයේදී ඒකපුද්ගල දළ ජාතික නිෂ්පාදනයට මෙමගින් ලැබෙන දායකත්වය 2% ක්‌ වුවද ජල ජීවී වගාව ආර්ථික වර්ධනයේ දී ප්‍රධාන අංශයක්‌ වශයෙන් සැලකිය හැකි බැවින් එය තව තවත් වර්ධනය කළ යුතුය.

අප වටා තිබෙන සමුද්‍රයට අමතරව ශ්‍රී ලංකාව සතුව තවත් බොහෝ ගංගා සහ කලපු මෙන්ම ජල සම්පාදනයට මිනිසුන් විසින් නිර්මාණය කරන ලද වැව් ද තිබේ. මේවා මත්ස්‍ය නිෂ්පාදනයට උපකාරී වෙයි. කෘෂි කර්මාන්තය සඳහා ජලය ලබාගැනීමට ඉදිකර වූ වැව් "සහල්- මත්ස්‍ය" අලුත් සංස්‌කෘතියක්‌ ඇති කිරීමේ හැකියාව විවරකර තිබෙනවා. මෙය තව තවත් ආහාර නිෂ්පාදනය සිදු කිරීමේ චමත්කාරජනක ක්‍රමයක්‌ වනවා මෙන්ම වී ගොවීන්ගේ ආදායම වර්ධනයට ද හේතු වෙයි. අපගේ රජය විසින් 1998 දී පිහිටු වූ ජලජීවී වගා සංවර්ධන අධිකාරියට ජල ජීවී වගාව සම්බන්ධයෙන් පවතින අපගේ අරමුණුවලට සහාය ලබාදීමට අමතරව ග්‍රාමීය ආර්ථිකය ශක්‌තිමත්.