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Govt. ditches  National Action Plan for mitigation of human-elephant conflict?

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By Ifham Nizam

The Department of Wildlife Conservation is planning to go ahead with the construction of 1,500 km of electric fencing in the protected areas, sidelining recommendations by the National Action Plan for the Mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflict; it has also not submitted proposals to the Committee of Public Accounts (COPA) headed by Prof. Tissa Vitharana.

A Wildlife Department official, disturbed by this ad hoc decision, told The Island, “Multi stakeholders including the Irrigation Department, Agrarian Department and Wildlife experts cannot be sidelined,” he stressed.

More than 100 elephants have been killed so far this year mostly due to electrocution, according to the Wildlife Department sources.

Wildlife Department’s Media Director Hasini Sarathchandra, contacted for comment, said the department would complete 1,500 km electric fencing soon.

State Ministry Secretary Maj General Palitha Fernando has directed Wildlife Department Director General Chandana Sooriyabandara to proceed with the move.

Sources alleged that the National Action Plan for the Mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflict prepared on the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had been pigeonholed at the Presidential Secretariat.

The action plan was prepared by a multi-stakeholder committee chaired by eminent Asian Elephant researcher and expert Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando and handed over to the government on December 17, 2020.

 

 



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Report on child protection delivered to President

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The Committee appointed to Study and Make Recommendations for the Protection of Children handed over their comprehensive report to President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday (03) evening.

This committee was established on April 19, 2023, to study and provide recommendations for the protection, care and overall welfare of children who have been subjected to various forms of violence within Sri Lanka.

Over the course of nearly five months, the committee conducted 21 meetings to gain an in-depth understanding of the existing issues and to formulate practical recommendations. The committee comprised a diverse group of members, including representatives from institutions such as Children Homes, Remand Homes, Certified Homes, Child Development Centres, Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), Chambers of Commerce, Trade Unions & Associations, Principals of Schools, Civil Society Organizations, Telecommunication and Digital Service Providers, Telecommunication Regulators, Digital Crime Security Experts, Lions Club, Rotaract Club, representatives from the U.S. Embassy, Colleges of Medicine, Solicitors General from the Attorney General’s Department, National Child Protection Authority, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol, Family Health Bureau, Foreign Employment Bureau, Sri Lanka Women’s’ Bureau and officials from the Ministries in charge of Women & Children and Education.

The report, which was completed and submitted to the President yesterday, addresses a wide range of issues concerning child protection, including issues related to institutionalized environments, lack of parental care, family separation, digital media exposure, child labour and more. The committee also evaluated the adequacy of existing institutional, administrative and legal safeguards for child protection, aiming to meet the demands of modern society.

Furthermore, the report explores strategies to enhance the physical and mental health of children who have experienced various forms of violence, abuse and neglect. It also delves into the concerning trend of children engaging in violent acts and seeks innovative approaches for community participation in child care initiatives

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Landslide Early Warnings Issued to Colombo, Galle, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Matara and Ratnapura Districts extended

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Automated Landslide Early Warning Map issued by the Landslide Early Warning Center of the NBRO

The landslide early warnings issued by the landslide early warning center of the National Building Research Organisation to the districts of Colombo, Galle, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Matara and Ratnapura Districts have been extended untill 1630 hrs today.

Level II landslid early warnings have been issued to the Divisional Secretaries Divisions and surrounding areas of  Neluwa in the Galle district, Ingiriya in the Kalutara district, Pasbage Korale in the Kandy district, Kotapola and Pitabeddara in the Matara district, Ayagama, Kuruwita, Pelmadulla, Nivithigala, Kiriella, Ratnapura, Elapatha, Eheliyagoda and Kalawana in the Ratnapura district.

Level I landslide early warnings have been issued to the Divisional Secretaries Divisions and surrounding areas of Seethawaka in the Colombo district, Elpitiya in the Galle district, Walasmulla in the Hambanthota district, Mathugama, Buathsinhala, Aggalawaththa and Walallawita in the Kalutara district, Yatiyanthota, Kegalle and Dehiowita in the Kegalle district, Athureliya and Mulatiyana in the Matara district and Imbulpe and Kolonna in the Ratnapura district

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Opposition: Judge’s resignation has tarnished Lanka’s image

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He should have taken action against those who threatened him – govt.


By Saman Indrajith

Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa told Parliament yesterday that there were serious questions and concerns about the independence of the judiciary following the resignation of Mullaitivu District Judge T. Saravanarajah, citing threats and harassment.

“This is a serious issue and the government should conduct an independent inquiry into this matter immediately,” Premadasa said.

Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella said the judge’s resignation, citing threats and harassment following his ruling on the Kurundimalai temple, had led to concerns about the independence of the judiciary. He said that the Mullaitivu Magistrate had been pressured to change his judgment.

Justice Minister,Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said Sri Lankan judges had power to issue summons and take appropriate action against individuals who attempted to exert influence over them. He asked why the judge concerned had not used his powers.

Minister Rajapakshe said that the Opposition could file a contempt of court case if anyone had pressured the Mullaitivu Magistrate to reverse his judgment as claimed, without levelling allegations against the government.

The Minister said the government had no powers to investigate the matter involving the Magistrate and that the JSC was the relevant body to handle the matter and requested if anyone had any issue, they could complain to the Judicial Service Commission.

TNA MP Sumanthiran said that the whole world knew that there was pressure on the Judge. “The Minister cannot claim that there was no pressure on the judge.”

Minister Rajapakshe said that if there was anyone in the House who had exerted pressure on the judiciary it was MP Sumanthiran. He said MP Sumanthiran had on 20 October, 2022 told Parliament that the judges of the Supreme Court should be sent home. “You said in this House that people had no faith in the Supreme Court.”

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