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Uniform of Chinese workers eclipsed environmental disaster

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Tissa Tank being dredged as Uma Oya project has failed – MONLAR

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Various parties had managed to divert attention from the ecological damage caused by the dredging of the Tissamaharama tank by highlighting the fact that the Chinese nationals engaged in dredging operations were wearing clothes similar to a military uniform, Sajeewa Chamikara of the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) said.

Tissamaharama tank and several adjoining tanks were the nucleus of Sri Lanka’s first sanctuary. The area is protected by the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (FFPO), the National Environmental Act (NEA), and several other acts apart from laws governing archaeological sites, Chamikara said.

Thousands of farmers who cultivated 3,115 acres of paddy land and over 200 families of freshwater fishermen were dependent on the tank, he said.

“These families will also be affected because the tank is being dredged to expand its capacity and use that waste for a large number of development activities in Hambantota. The government initially thought the Uma Oya project would provide enough water for development activities in Hambantota, but as we predicted the project has failed. The decision to expand the Tissamaharama tank is a measure to address this,” he said.

According to the FFPO and NEA, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) had to be obtained prior to the commencement of any development activity, Chamikara said, adding that not even a feasibility study had been conducted before the Chinese company concerned was awarded the contract to remove the sediment that had greatly reduced the tank’s capacity.

“The NEA says that one needs an EIA before doing any development activity in a sanctuary and the Land Act states that an EIA is necessary before doing any work near a tank. The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has the power to take action when such laws are violated. But what can the CEA do when the government sanctions such violations. This is an assault on the law. By reducing this issue to Chinese workers wearing military style overalls is a trick to distract people from the real damage,” Chamikara said.  



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Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused

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By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.

 

 

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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas

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By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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