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Accelerated program launched to manufacture organic fertilizer in Mahaweli Zones



Chemical-free crop cultivation targets 400,000 home gardens

An accelerated program has been launched to broad-base the manufacture of organic fertilizer in the 10 Mahaweli Zones as an alternative to chemical fertilizer use in the country, Director- General of the Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority, Keerthi B. Kotagama says.

The import of chemical fertilizer was suspended by the government recently.

The demand for organic fertilizer by the Mahaweli farmer community in the 10 zones is expected to be met under this program, he said. The program has been launched under the guidance of the Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa and Mahaweli Zone Canals and Common Settlement Infrastructure Development State Minister, Siripala Gamlath.

Fertilizer produced under the initiative is expected to be used for cultivation in the upcoming Maha season.

Eleven metric tons of organic fertilizer is usually required to grow 110,000 hectares of Mahaweli paddy lands, Mahaweli Agriculture Director, Neville Rajapakse noted.

It has been identified that a minimum of 10 metric tons of organic fertilizer are required to grow one hectare of paddy. Although manufacturing of the entire requirement is a challenge, every effort is being made to achieve the set target, he said.

Components from Eppawala Phosphate deposits are to be used in the manufacturing process of organic fertilizer in Mahaweli zones.

Organic fertilizer will also be used for home gardens in the Mahaweli settlements under the program, which will involve 400,000 farmer families. Each family will raise a quarter-acre home garden, Rajapakse further said.

The owner of each home garden should manufacture his organic fertilizer requirement and the technical know-how will be provided to them by the Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority. Prospective markets in Colombo and its suburbs will be introduced for the crops of these home gardens, he added.

The government spends Rs. 400 million for the fertilizer subsidy to farmers within a single crop season. Manufacturing organic fertilizer in the country will help save valuable foreign exchange, while also ensuring chemical-free food crops that prevent non-communicable diseases.

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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained



Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.


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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini



A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests


By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 



Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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