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Countrywide elephant census next year

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A new countrywide census is expected to be conducted next year, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation – Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday (15).

The last elephant census in Sri Lanka was conducted in 2011.

The minister said that a long-term program to reduce human-elephant conflict will be prepared and as one of the measures, a full census of elephants will be conducted.

The Minister said this at the first meeting of the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation held yesterday (15) for the third session of the Ninth Parliament.

The minister mentioned this when the MPs asked about the elephant-human conflict, which has become a serious problem day by day. Accordingly, many MPs drew the attention of the minister about the human elephant conflict in various areas including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura, Ampara districts.

It was also revealed that a number of reasons, including the reduction of elephant habitats and the significant increase in elephant population, have led to human-elephant conflict.

The minister said that 16 main elephant corridors in the island have been blocked and due to this the arrival of elephants in the villages has increased.

Accordingly, the minister further said that these obstacles will be removed promptly.

Also, the minister said that the President has appointed a committee to find solutions to the human-elephant conflict, and based on the committee’s decisions, he hopes to prepare a program with long-term solutions.

The minister also said that a series of separate meetings will be organized in those districts to discuss the existing problems related to the protection of wildlife and forest resources, and in consultation with public representatives and government officials, steps will be taken to provide the necessary solutions without delay.

The members also drew the committee’s attention to the damage caused to crops by animals such as monkeys, peacocks, etc. The minister also said that tough decisions will be taken to reduce these damages.

It was also discussed at the committee about the hardships faced by the farmers during the demarcation of the boundaries by the Department of Forest Resources Conservation. The minister instructed the officials to provide solutions in such a way that the people are not affected.

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Armed gang robs Police OIC’s house

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An armed gang came in motorcycles ransacked a residence of an Officer In-Charge (OIC) of the Kalutara North Police this afternoon.

Police said the armed gang which broke into the house of the OIC, inspector Nishan Kumara of the minor complaints unit of Kalutara North at Welipenna reportedly stole two mobile phones and gold jewelry and fled.

The IP was not at home at the time of the robbery, but his wife who was at home was attacked by the robbers.  She was injured in the attack.

It was reported that robbers were carrying T-56 firearm.

Several police teams are investigating the incident.

(dailymirror.lk)

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Schoolboy dies after drowning in swimming pool

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A 14-year-old schoolboy who was swimming in the swimming pool in a hotel at Boralassa, Wennappuwa had drowned.

Police said the victim, a grade 10 schoolboy from Galagedara and was studying in a school in Sandalankawa.

It has been revealed that the schoolboy was swimming in the pool with fellow students while on an excursion with a group of 80 schoolchildren from a tution class in Makandura.

The Wennappuwa Police are conducting further investigations.

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Applying for passports online from next year

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The Immigration and Emigration Department has planned to accept applications to issue passports online starting in January next year, the department’s IT controller Champika Ramawickrama said.

Through the program, an applicant will be able to submit his/her application to the department from the comfort of his home.

He went on to say that the applicant only needs to come to the department to attend to biometric formalities, such as finger prints.

For that, the department has decided to establish 50 front offices counters in each district to obtain fingerprints, Ramawickrama said.

He stated that 50 Divisional Secretariat Offices were chosen from each district for this purpose.

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