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Country is going to be doomed?

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The President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at a recent meeting, highlighted the need to shift towards organic fertilizers (OF) and decrease the usage of chemical/inorganic fertilizers. Application of OF has many advantages. Among these are increasing soil porosity, enhancing the capacity to retain water and nutrients. OF promotes growth of soil macro organisms such as eathworms. Micro organisms such as N fixing bacteria are also promoted by OF. In addition, OF supply micronutrients such as iron, manganese, etc., which are essential for crop growth. However, not using inorganic fertilizers in crop production has many disadvantages.

The Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka (SSSSL), the membership of which includes soil scientists representing the university academia, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Export Agriculture, research institutes and the private sector, in a letter sent to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has expressed its concerns over the proposed move to shift towards organic fertilizers. According to the Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka, banning import of inorganic fertilizers will have disastrous effects on the crop sector. SSSSL indicates that Compost-only nutrient-management practices will not be economical. .

Sri Lanka Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA) is the professional body, representing the agricultural economists of Sri Lanka. The SAEA, too, predicts massive economic losses due to potential yield losses, in the absence of proper substitutes for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, with the implementation of the import ban on fertilizers and pesticides. The immediate adverse impacts on food security, farm incomes, foreign exchange earnings and rural poverty can be detrimental.

A number of scientist in the field of agronomy, soil science, and entomology, in articles published in newspapers, during the last two weeks, have highlighted the undesirable effects of banning agrochemicals. Already paddy and vegetable farmers, in many parts of the country, are facing immense problems due to non-availability of inorganic fertilizers and other agrochemicals. According to them, yields are going to be reduced and pest and disease problems will have undesirable effects on crops.

There is a move to import organic fertilizers, with a ban on importing inorganic fertilizers. There is a grave risk in using imported organic fertilizers which is likely to have seeds of weeds, pathogenic bacteria, fungi, nematodes, etc. Such organisms could cause disease outbreaks in crop, livestock and human society, leading to heavy economic losses. Imported organic fertilizers pose a high risk of contaminating our soils and water resources. Once the pollutants enter into our eco-system and destroys it, it is not easy to recover from the damage.

We spend nearly Rs. 300 billion annually to import food. Banning inorganic fertilizers, and other agrochemicals, will reduce local food production, resulting in a need to increase our food imports, causing expenditure on imports to rise. Our annual export earnings from tea is around Rs. 200 billion and non-availability of inorganic fertilizers will also reduce tea production which will cause a decline in export income, resulting in a rise in the Trade Deficit which at present is around Rs 2,000 billion. Reduction in local food production will affect food supply, making the less-privileged people under-nourished. It is essential that the relevant authorities seriously consider all the repercussions of banning the import of inorganic fertilizers, and other agrochemicals, and take appropriate action. If not the country is going to be doomed.

 

A citizen



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Opinion

Nelum Kuluna poses danger to aircraft

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The top of Nelum Kuluna (Lotus Tower) stands 350 above sea level in the heart of Colombo City, as the air navigators of old would say, sticking out like a ’sore thumb’. It has to be lit up in accordance with the Aircraft Obstacle Lighting recommendations contained in Annex 14 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Convention originally signed by Ceylon in 1944.

A free-standing tower of that height is required by international law to be lit up not only at night with red lights, but also with high visibility white strobe lights during the day.

Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be on always during the day. The authorities concerned must realise that the strobe lighting during the day is not for beauty but for air safety, especially these days, when the air quality and visibility are low during the day.

Have those in charge of the tower been briefed properly on the legal requirement and the use of proper lighting? In case of an accident, this certainly will have implications on insurance claims.

I wonder whether the ‘Regulator’, Civil Aviation Authority Sri Lanka would like to comment.

If not rectified, it will be just a matter of time an aircraft will be impaled by the Nelum Kuluna.

I M Nervy (Aviator)

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Opinion

Simple questions to Sirisena and Gotabaya

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If Sirisena had not been informed of the plans to explode bombs on 21st of April 2019, as he has claimed, shouldn’t he have taken immediate action to call for explanation from Nilantha Jayawardena, then head of State Intelligent Service (SIS), who had been notified several times about the impending attack by the Indian intelligence.

Sirisena and Jayawardena should be prosecuted for allowing a mass murder to take place. Further Sirisena should be made to explain his famous uttering, “I will reveal everything, if somebody tries to implicate me”.

Why did Gotabaya, who announced his candidature for presidency almost immediately after the Easter Sunday attack and promised to punish those who were involved in it, pay no attention to Nilantha Jayawardena’s failure in taking necessary action with regard to information he received, instead he was given a promotion?

President Ranil Wickremesinghe at a meeting with USAID Administrator Samantha Power on September 11, 2022 had said that Scotland Yard had been requested to review the reports and reach a final conclusion on claims that there was a hidden hand behind the bombings.

We do not need Scotland Yard, just get an honest set of Sri Lankan police officers to question Nilantha, Sirisena and Gotabaya to find the “hidden hand behind the bombings”

B Perera

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Opinion

Open letter to Sirisena

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Y you were in Singapore when the Easter Sunday attacks took place. You claimed that you had not been informed of the intelligence received by your intelligence officers. However, the Supreme Court has ordered you to pay Rs 100M as compensation to the victims of the terror attacks. The reasons for the decision are stated in the judgement.

Acting on a claim that there was a conspiracy to assassinate you and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya you caused the interdiction and arrest of DIG Nalaka Silva, who was held in custody without bail for a long time.

In his testimony to the Presidential Commission  of Inquiry, Silva said that he had been interdicted while plans were in place to arrest Zaharan.

Due to the arrest of DIG Silva, Zaharan escaped arrest. Silva was never charged. Zaharan continued with his plans and the rest is history.

After the SC order you have been claiming that you have no money to pay the Rs 100M as compensation. You are asking for public help to pay compensation to Easter carnage victims. You even accepted some money collected by a person called Sudaththa Tilakasiri, who begged from people.

You have said publicly that you submitted your asset declarations. I suggest that you sell all your assets declared in the declarations before asking for funds from the public.

Hemal Perera

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