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India in talks with Sri Lanka to acquire graphite mines

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India is in talks with Sri Lanka to acquire graphite mines in the island nation.

The demand for graphite is steadily increasing, as it is the most common material used for anodes in lithium-ion and other batteries.

The Indian government had discussions with the government of Sri Lanka on acquiring graphite mines there, sources said.

(PTI)

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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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Political parties urged to publish their National Socio-economic Recovery Programmes 

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A public appeal has been made to several mainstream political party leaders to  immediately publish their respective National Socio-economic Recovery Programmes for social discourse.

The request has been formally addressed to the political party leaders of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the National People’s Power (NPP), United National Party (UNP), Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC).

Click here for the full context of the public appeal

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Govt. to provide free fertilizer to all paddy farmers

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Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries – Mahinda Amaraweera has said that the government has decided to provide MOP fertilizer free of charge to all the paddy farmers in Sri Lanka during the 2024/25 Maha season and 2025/26 Maha season.

Sri Lanka will thus receive 55,000 metric tons of MOP fertilizer as requested by the government from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

The Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries, Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera, expressed his views on this in a meeting held in Tissamaharama today (June 24).

(dailynews.lk)

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