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Tea as a subject in Peradeniya University curriculum will help recognize its economic potential

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by Steve A. Morrell

The Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB), in collaboration with the University of Peradeniya, introduced tea and its varied production components into the curriculum of the Agriculture degree of the university.

“Academic interest in the tea industry will exemplify its image as one of the leading international beverages world-wide”, says SLTB Chairman, Jayampathi Molligoda.

The inclusion of tea as a subject in the university curriculum would also further enhance its importance and help recognize its economic potential, he noted.

Addressing participants of the Peradeniya University at the Hantane Tea Museum, Molligoda stressed that the holistic commitment of undergraduates within the discipline of agriculture will auger well for the tea industry and the economy of the country as a whole.

The Chairman further said the vast extents of the tea industry was not only of relevance to agriculture, but what was of overall importance was that the sector was responsible for over one million people directly dependent on the industry.

Tea plantation workers, smallholders, tea factory owners, brokers, shippers, international retailers, brand emergence and literally a wide cross-section of interest sectors were involved in the production and export of tea, he said.

“Tea exports generate US$ 2 billion in revenue to the country annually”, Molligoda added.

The academic involvement of the Peradeniya University in the tea industry would further ensure that production, currently at around 300 million kilos annually, would further increase over the next few years, he said.

Professor Buddhi Marambe, introducing the panel for discussion, said the degree program at the Peradeniya University included the tea industry and inputs from the Tea Research Institute (TRI), which will contribute towards an increase in tea production.

The panel discussion included the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Gamini Pushpakumara, Tea Commissioner, Jayantha Edirisinghe, Deputy Chairman, Planters’ Association of Ceylon, Senaka Alawathegama and Brian Baptist, a representative of the Brokers’ Association of Ceylon.

A visit to the Tea Museum, with further detailed discussion on all aspects of the tea industry, was facilitated by Assistant Director, SLTB, Dhanushka Karunaratne.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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