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Work on the 100th herb garden commences

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By Ifham Nizam

Work on the 100th herb garden, under the Environment Ministry’s Osu Wana Dahasak Programme commenced yesterday at the Pillewa Temple, Boralesgamuwa.

Under this Osu Wana Dahasak programme, 24 native medicinal plants each were provided to each religious place of worship. The maintenance of the plants was also the responsibility of the board of trustees or trustees in charge of the religious places, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.

The Minister planted a rare medicinal plant called Yakinaran (Atalantia ceylanica). The Minister also handed over another set of medicinal plants to Ven. Polonnaruwa Seelananda Thera and Ven. Gonapinuwala Chandraratana Thera.

The Minister said every living creature needed 550 litres of oxygen a day. In terms of weight, one person living in the world needs 2.3 kg of oxygen a day.

“Oxygen is produced by the ocean and the vegetation around us.

But today man is destroying both. Polythene and plastic are pollutants that destroy both our oceans and land,” he said.

Experts predicted that by 2050 there would be more polythene and plastic than fish in oceans, and therefore, in order to reduce the use of polythene and plastics here, a number of related products would be banned in the future; he said observing that today people were relentlessly cutting down trees.  

“However, we, as the Ministry of Environment, started a tree planting programme called Husma Dena Thuru to increase the oxygen content in our country as well as to reduce the percentage of carbon in the atmosphere. This is where the Osu Wana Dahasak programme comes into play”, he said.

“Today, there is a great deal of interest in the national tree planting programme Husma Dena Thuru. We request that you plant a seedling somewhere in your backyard. Because of the Covid-19 epidemic, people are well aware of the need for oxygen. Without the oxygen we cannot live for even a few minutes,” he stressed.



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.

(SF)

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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter

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The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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