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Minister says pine forests will be cleared to make way for environment-friendly trees

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In Nuwara Eliya district

by Douglas Nanayakkara

Under a program initiated by Forestry and Wildlife Minister C. B. Ratnayake, pine forests in the Nuwara Eliya district are to be replaced with productive indigenous trees beneficial to the eco-system.

“Pine forests serve no useful purpose either to man or animal. These trees impact adversely on the environment as they deplete the water flow in springs”, he noted.

Even animals don’t live in pine forests as there’s no water. It is time to give this matter serious thought as major rivers that provide water to both humans and animals in the country originate from Sri Pada in the Nuwara Eliya district, the Minister told the town development planning meeting at the Nuwara Municipal Council last week.

He said that under the proposed program, pine forests will be cleared by the State Timber Corporation and trees that contribute towards preserving the environment will be planted in their place, Ratnayake observed.

He said that water resources are becoming increasingly scarce largely due to pine forests, which foreigners of a by-gone era opted for in a big way to derive an income from these plantations.

Conservator of Forests, Mrs. K. A. U. D. I. Kalansooriya, said pine is found largely in Sri Lanka’s districts of Kalutara, Matara, Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Kegalle, Matara and Galle. They are also found in the Hambantota and Gampaha districts to a lesser degree.

There is a total 16,000 hectares in these districts with the highest 3,500 hectares in Kandy district followed by 2,800 in Badulla district and 2,300 in Nuwara Eliya district, she said.

However, there is a school of thought amongst environmentalists that pine forests are useful as they help quick re-forestation and alleviate landslides in arid territory and abandoned tea estates.

They believe that pine, which is quite common in the hill country, although they are not native trees, play a useful role as they grow fast even on less fertile hills.



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Sajith says ‘super’ PM has failed, SJB ready to take over govt.

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Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa has said that his party is ready to accept the daunting challenge of re-building the country.

Premadasa, who is also the Opposition Leader, has said that the SJB is capable of restoring the economy to pre-2019 status within five years. The declaration was made at the Opposition Leader’s Office, Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, on Monday (27)

The SJB won 54 seats, including seven National List slots, at the last parliamentary election in August 2020.

Demanding that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa step down without further delay, the SJB leader launched a scathing attack on UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Those who claimed Wickremesinghe was a ‘super’ PM capable of performing economic miracles had to eat their own words, he added.

Having mismanaged the national economy thereby causing unprecedented disruption of fuel supplies, some ministers undertook foreign jaunts at the taxpayers’ expense to beg for fuel and gas. Alleging that the government was trying to deceive the masses struggling to cope up with a severe shortage of almost all essential items, the SJB leader reiterated his call for President Rajapaksa and Premier Wickremesinghe to step down.

Of the 54 member parliamentary group, three lawmakers, Harin Fernando, Manusha Nanayakkara and Nazeer Ahamed have accepted ministerial portfolios while another MP, Dayana Gamage switched her allegiance to the SLPP.

SJB leader Premadasa said that under his leadership there wouldn’t be space for waste, corruption and irregularities. The former UNP Deputy Leader offered to lead the country at an event held to announce the setting up of a unit to work out a national consensus regarding just solutions for political, economic and social issues, Matara District MP Buddhika Pathirana heads the unit. (SF)

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House sittings expected to be cancelled coming week

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Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday (28) told The Island that the Parliament wouldn’t be able to meet next week due to the disruption of fuel supply.

Speaker Abeywardena said that he couldn’t visit his Matara home for want of fuel and many lawmakers experienced the same problem. The Matara District MP said that he had been compelled to stay at his Colombo residence.

Parliament was earlier scheduled to meet from Tuesday to Friday. Last Week the Opposition boycotted the Parliament. After the Opposition announced its decision, the Parliament announced sittings wouldn’t take place as members were unable to attend due to fuel shortage (NP)

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Lankan envoy to Lebanon calls on UNIFIL Head

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Ambassador Karunaratne with Major General Aroldo Lâzaro(pic courtesy Foreign Ministry)

Sri Lanka Ambassador to Lebanon Shani Calyaneratne Karunaratne paid a courtesy call on Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Aroldo Lâzaro at the Head Quarters of the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) at Blue Line, in Naquara, on June 21, 2022.

They discussed matters of mutual interest which included increasing Sri Lankan troops at UNIFIL. The Force Commander stated that the Sri Lankan troops are respected for their outstanding professionalism and thanked them for their contribution to the UNIFIL for the past 11 years. Contingent Commander of 13th Force Protection Company (UNIFIL) Sri Lanka Lieutenant Colonel Nayan Samarakoon, and Attaché (Administration) of the Embassy Priyantha Dasanayaka also participated in the meeting.

The Ambassador was accorded a Guard of Honour and an inspection of troops and armored vehicles. A k9 demonstration and a concert by the Sri Lanka Army Calypso band was also held.

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