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Environment Minister flays unscrupulous elements for taking cover behind farmers to rape forests

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By Ifham Nizam

Unscrupulous elements had started destroying forests by misusing the government’s instructions to allow innocent farmers to cultivate their lands and there were some politicians and venal state officials operating hand in glove with racketeers, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday.

Amaraweera said that the government had not allowed anyone to cut down forests and destroy the environment.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had already ordered security forces to arrest those who were destroying forests and the environment, Amaraweera said.

Amaraweera said that a comprehensive programme to protect the environment had been initiated as per the instructions of the President.

“Environmental degradation has become one of the most talked about topics in the mainstream media and on social media today. The Ministry of Environment is accused of not taking appropriate action regarding such destruction. But this subject is divided into several ministries – Environment, Wildlife, and Wildlife Conservation.”

Minister Amaraweera said that part of the forest areas under threat also belonged to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development. However, the Environment Ministry would do everything it could to protect the environment, he said, requesting the public to bring to his notice incidents of deforestation or illegal exploitation of natural resources.

“Reforestation is not an easy task. A forest is an ecosystem. Creating such an ecosystem artificially is next to impossible. During tree planting however, the number of trees increases,” he said, adding that the government had adopted that method for want of a better alternative.

The Environment Ministry has implemented two special programmes to increase the number of trees here. One is the “Husma Dena Thuru” programme. Under this it is planned to plant two million trees in the next four years.

The Minister said on account of the Sinhala and Hindu New Year, his Ministry would launch a tree planting programme on April 16 at the auspicious time of 6.40 am. “Our target is to plant nearly three million plants”, he said.



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“Operation ‘Yukthiya’ will persist despite pressure” – Minister of Public Security

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Minister of Public Security, Mr. Tiran Alles, attending a news conference held at the Presidential Media Centre today (21) under the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’.emphasized his unwavering commitment to continue operations aimed at suppressing drugs, tackling the underworld and preventing violence against women and children, regardless of any pressure encountered.

Furthermore, Minister Alles disclosed that operation ‘Yukthiya’, which commenced on December 17, has resulted in the seizure of narcotics valued at Rs. 7.8 billion and assets including vehicles and buildings confiscated by law enforcement amount to Rs. 725 million. . A total of 58,562 raids have been conducted, leading to the arrest of 58,234 individuals involved in illicit activities.

 

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SLNS Samudura leaves for Maldives to take part in Exercise Dosti – XVI

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Sri Lanka Naval Ship (SLNS) Samudura left for the Maldives from the port of Colombo on Tuesday (20)  to take part in Exercise Dosti – XVI. The trilateral exercise ‘Dosti’ is scheduled to be held in Male from 22nd to 25th February.

The trilateral exercise ‘Dosti’ aims to enhance cooperation, strengthen friendship, improve mutual operational capability, and develop interoperability among the Coast Guard personnel of India, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

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“Sri Lankan unity paves the way for rapid national development” – President

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Sri Lanka’s Chief Scout, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his address at the 10th National Scout Jamboree held at the Koneswara Hindu Vidyalaya Stadium in Trincomalee this morning (21), underscored the potential of Sri Lankans to steer the nation towards rapid development and fortify its security for future generations through unified efforts.

The President highlighted that participation in the National Scout Jamboree transcends divisions of caste and religion. He articulated that unity among Sri Lankans, spanning from the North to the South and from Colombo to Trincomalee, is pivotal in accomplishing shared objectives.

President Wickremesinghe pledged his support for the expansion of the Scout Association, noting its role in nurturing responsible citizens essential for the country. Furthermore, he announced the plans to facilitate collaboration between the Scout Association and the Ministry of Technology, underscoring the importance of leveraging interactions across sectors for national development.

(PMD)

 

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