Text and Pictures by PRIYAN DE SILVA
President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a Presidential Committee, headed by former Director General of Wildlife Conservation, Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya, to monitor the progress of the implementation of the National Action Plan for Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation.
The National Action Plan for Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation was drawn up by a Presidential Task Force, appointed by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, which was headed by Dr Pruthuviraj Fernando of which Dr. Pilapitiya was a member. After much consultation with all stake holders, including the public, the final action plan was handed over to the then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and no further action was taken until President Wickremesinghe took the initiative to implement it.
The other members of the PC, appointed by President Wickremesinghe to facilitate and oversee implementation of National Action Plan to Mitigate Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC), are Dr. Pruthuviraj Fernando (Chairman Centre of Conservation and Research and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force appointed to draw up the National Action Plan for Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation), W.M.A.P.B. Wanninayake (Additional Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government), H.D. Ratnayake (Additional Director, Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation), Chandrika V. Athugala (Additional Secretary, Ministry of Irrigation), R.M.R. Rathnayaka (District Secretary, Kurunegala), Janaka Jayasundera (District Secretary, Anuradapura), A.H.M.L. Abeyrathne (Commissioner General, Department of Agrarian Development), Chandana Sooriyabandara (Director General Department of Wildlife Conservation),
Dr. K.M.A. Bandara (Conservator General of Forests), Eng. K.D.N. Siriwardena (Director General of Irrigation), Keerthi Kotagama (Director General of Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka), S.A.B. Herath (Director General in the Office of the Chief of Staff, Presidential Secretariat), and Malkanthi Rajapaksa, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President have been appointed as the Secretary to the Committee.
In Sri Lanka over 300 elephants die due to HEC each year while the number of humans that are killed by elephants averages around 100.
It was reported that HEC in Sri Lanka was at its highest in 2019 with 405 elephants and 121 humans losing their lives. The corresponding figures for 2020 was 318 elephants and 112 humans.
According to statistics obtained from the Centre for Conservation and Research (CCR) between the period 2010 to 2019 14,516 incidents of Human Elephant Conflict had been reported. During which time 2631 elephants had been killed by humans and 807 humans had been killed by elephants while another 579 more had been injured. 10,532 incidents of property damage had also been reported.
Report on child protection delivered to President
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
Landslide Early Warnings Issued to Colombo, Galle, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Matara and Ratnapura Districts extended
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
Opposition: Judge’s resignation has tarnished Lanka’s image
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.”
2023 GCE Advanced Level in January 2024
Litro gas to cost more from midnight today (04)
Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Alexei Ekimov win Nobel Prize in Chemistry
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
#Sundayisland Sunday Island- 31 January- Headlines
Sports7 days ago
Jayantha Paranathala passes away
Latest News4 days ago
Fate of India ties, democracy in balance as Maldives votes in run-off
News5 days ago
President orders probe into judge’s resignation
Business3 days ago
Eco Tablet completes four years in Sri Lankan market
Latest News7 days ago
Danushka Gunathilaka found not guilty
News4 days ago
British-born Lankan girl to represent Britain in gymnastics
News5 days ago
China pledges steadfast support to Sri Lanka
News5 days ago
Fitch Upgrades Sri Lanka’s Long-Term Local-Currency IDR to ‘CCC-‘