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Cabinet approval sought to designate Wallapatta as an agricultural crop!

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The Committee on Public Accounts drew attention to the current performance of the Department of Export Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Development.

Attention was drawn to the said matter when the Committee on Public Accounts met in Parliament recently (June 18) under the Chairmanship of the State Minister – Lasantha Alagiyawanna.

The displeasure of the Committee was expressed regarding the Department of Export Agriculture not trying to develop the export in a wide range. The Committee pointed in particular that when this department was called before COPA in 2016, plans were made to increase the current export income of 0.5 billion dollars to 1 billion dollars by the year 2020. However, the Committee pointed out that it has not been fulfilled at a satisfactory level. Furthermore, the Committee mentioned that sufficient efforts are not being made to increase the export income even at this very moment.

Officials pointed out that plans have been made to identify crops with higher productivity in regions and grow them. Thus, it was recommended to submit a report in this regard to the Committee before July 31st.

Cabinet approval sought to designate Wallapatta as agricultural crop
The committee’s attention was drawn towards the issues related to the promotion of the Wallapatta plant. The Committee inquired regarding the significance of the Wallapatta plant. Furthermore, the Committee inquired whether this is a plant that harms the environment.  The officials present pointed out that this plant was used for the perfume industry and now the demand which existed has decreased. The officials present also pointed out that the cultivation of this plant does not cause any environmental damage and stated that they are hoping to get the approval of the Cabinet to designate this crop as an agricultural crop.

Delayed answers to audit queriesThe Committee questioned the officials regarding the delay in providing answers to the audit queries related to the Department of Agricultural Development and the delay in holding the Management Audit Committee meetings. Thus, the Committee instructed to convene the management audit committees in the 25 districts within the month of July.

Non-establishment of Agricultural Development CouncilsFurthermore, the Committee’s attention was drawn to the non-establishment of Agricultural Development Councils.  He recommended that a report in this regard be given to the Committee before July 15th.

Report on reclaiming paddy land
In addition, it was also recommended to give a report covering all 25 districts to the Committee regarding reclamation of paddy land.

At the end of the Committee meeting, the Committee Chair, State Minister – Lasantha Alagiyawanna mentioned that the Committee will meet and discuss again on July 26th regarding the matters contained in the report of the Auditor General Luhudu related to the Department of Agricultural Development.

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Prasanna urges Ranil to declare candidacy promptly

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During a spirited rally in Kadawatha today, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga passionately urged President Ranil Wickremesinghe to promptly announce his candidacy for the presidency within the upcoming week.

“The people of Gampaha eagerly await your decision. Please do not delay any further in declaring your intention to contest,” Minister Ranatunga urged with conviction.

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Harin awards Rs. 1M to Olympic athletes

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Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Harin Fernando has awarded financial sponsorship cheques of Rs. 1 million each to six athletes participating in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. 

Additionally, prize money totaling Rs. 1280 lakh was distributed to athletes and coaches who secured medals and top-eight positions in the last Asian and Paralympic Games in Hangzhou, China.

Young sprinter Tharushi was among the highly rewarded, receiving Rs. 15 million for her Asian Games gold medal along with another Rs. 2.5 million for her relay medal.

Minister Fernando emphasized the significance of encouraging athletes even amidst the country’s financial crisis. 

He expressed his commitment to promoting sports and highlighted the importance of discipline in representing Sri Lanka. He urged athletes to dedicate themselves to achieving victory, meeting the high expectations of the nation.

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Former INSSSL Director General Asanka Abeygunasekara arrested

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The former Director General of the Institute of National Security Studies of Sri Lanka (INSSSL) Asanka Abeygunasekara has been arrested by police.

Abeygunasekara, against whom there was a pending open warrant over a case filed by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake this morning (21), police said.

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