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Harming animals: No action against both Minister father & son

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The Director General of Wildlife Conservation and the Head of Legal Department has failed to give a proper answer when the environmentalists had asked whether an investigation is being conducted over the death of a deer which was hit by the vehicle of Minister Mahinda Amaraweera at Udawalawe National Park a few months ago.

A group of environmentalists including Nayanaka Ranwella and Senior Advisor of the Centre For Environmental Justice Hemantha Vithanage met with Director General of Wildlife Conservation Chandana Sooriyabandara Yesterday (26) and held a discussion regarding the investigations being carried out in relation to the incident where animals in Yala National Park were harassed by a group of people arrived in jeeps.

Both the Director General and the Head of Legal Department have failed to give a proper answer about the progress of the investigation.

They have informed the environmentalists that an investigation is being conducted by the Southern Wildlife Zone over the incident. 

However, the environmentalists said the Wildlife Conservation Department cannot be expected to carry out a proper investigation on the Yala incident, since they have not been able to conduct a proper investigation into the Udawalawe incident.

The environmentalists also said that the Director General that the Wildlife Conservation Department’s actions seemed passive regarding the Yala incident.

When the environmentalists had asked the Director General if the son of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation Minister Mahinda Amaraweera was involved in the Yala incident, he had said it has not been determined yet.

Following the discussion, Environmentalist Ranwella said,”They told us that they are still investigating the Yala incident. When asked if Minister Mahinda Amaraweera’s son was involved in this incident, they said that they are investigating that too. They neither denied nor accepted the fact that there was a minister’s son involved.

“There should be a more formal investigation into this incident. It is clear that this group has behaved recklessly and violated the laws within Yala National Park. If the investigations are not conducted properly, we have to make a more formal objection in a scientific manner.

Also, a deer which was hit by the vehicle of Minister Amaraweera has died. We are disappointed to note the death of animals by the vehicle driven by the drivers of the Minister of Wildlife. Action in this regard is still in unsatisfactory,” Ranwella said.

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Expressways generate whopping income during Avurudu season

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The expressways have generated an income of Rs. 159,802,950 from April 10 – 13, Road Development Authority (RDA) says.

According to the Director of Expressway Operation Maintenance and Management Division – R.A.D. Kahatapitiya.

Over 4,350,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this period, he has added.
As many as 366,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this three-day period.

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Special transport arrangements to those returning to Colombo

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Special train services are in operation from this evening (April 14) for people to return to Colombo after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year holidays, the Railways Department said.

Deputy General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways –  N.J. Indipolage stated that accordingly, eight additional train journeys will be in operation from Badulla, Galle and Beliatta railway stations to Colombo Fort.

The Department of Railways also mentioned that the office trains will be operational as per usual from April 16.

Meanwhile, the National Transport Commission has said that special buses will be deployed to transport those who had gone to their hometowns during the New Year.
Bus associations have also stated that buses to Colombo will be operational.

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Local multi-day fishing trawler seized with ICE & heroin worth over Rs. 3798 Mn.

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In another successful intelligence operation of the Sri Lanka Navy, a local multi-day fishing trawler (01) carrying a large haul of narcotics, with 06 suspects aboard, were intercepted about 133 nautical miles (about 246 km) off Dondra, south of Sri Lanka. 

The operation also resulted in the seizure of another local one-day fishing trawler (01) with 04 suspects, believed to have been there to fetch the consignment of narcotics mid-sea. The operation was mounted by deploying Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship (SLCG) Samudraraksha which made the apprehension on 12th April 2024.

 The haul of narcotics included about 179kg and 906g of crystal methamphetamine (Ice) and about 83kg and 582g of heroin (with their packages). The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera arrived at the Galle Harbour on 13th April to inspect the consignment of narcotics held in this operation.
The Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard regularly patrol and conduct search operations along the island’s coast to prevent illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, stemming via sea routes.

During this dedicated operation based on naval intelligence, a suspicious multi-day fishing trawler, which was about 133 nautical miles (246 km) off the south coast of the island, was intercepted and searched by SLCG Samudraraksha. As the fishing trawler was suspected of smuggling a haul of crystal methamphetamine and heroin in 17 sacks, during the search, the narcotic-carrying trawler was held on 12th April, with 06 suspects aboard.

Additionally, SLCG Samudraraksha inspected another local one-day fishing trawler, which was plying suspiciously in the sea area. During the inspection, 04 suspects were apprehended, along with the trawler, on suspicion of attempting to exchange narcotics with the multi-day trawler previously seized.

Following a thorough search of the suspicious multi-day fishing trawler at the Galle Harbour on 13th April, authorities recovered 17 sacks containing crystal methamphetamine and heroin. The haul of crystal methamphetamine, weighing about 179kg and 906g (including packages), were in 129 packages, stuffed in 13 sacks and the stash of heroin, weighing about 83kg and 582g (including packages), were in 76 packages, contained in 04 sacks. The consignment of narcotics, along with the 06 suspects and the multi-day fishing trawler was handed over to the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) for onward legal action.

Moreover, the 04 individuals, along with the one-day fishing trawler, which were seized on suspicion of being involved in a drug exchange at sea, were also handed over to PNB for further legal action.

The individuals held in the operation are known to reside in the Weligama, Imaduwa, and Galle areas, ranging in age from 23 to 54 years old. Meanwhile, the gross street value of the consignment of drugs seized during this operation is believed to be more than Rs. 3798 million.

Including the recent confiscation, the Sri Lanka Navy has held drugs with a gross street value of over Rs. 9300 million during operations mounted so far in 2024. The Sri Lanka Navy – the country’s first line of defence is committed to coordinating with other law enforcement authorities, to carry out anti-drug operations of this nature in order to foil drug smuggling attempts being made in the guise of fishing.

(navy.lk)

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