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No regulatory system to control vegetable seed prices in SL – COPA

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The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) has disclosed that there is no proper regulatory system to control the price of vegetable seeds in this country.

This was disclosed when the Committee on Public Accounts met in Parliament yesterday (08) under the chairmanship of MP Kabir Hashim. A discussion was held on the performance of the process of producing vegetable seeds locally and several parties including the Ministry of Agriculture were therefore present.

It was also discussed that although the “State Policy on Seed and Planting Material Industry” was prepared in 1997, it was not published in the Gazette as at January 01st, 2021. Furthermore, regarding the Seed Act No. 22 of 2003, there was a discussion at length and attention was drawn to the fact that the necessary amendments had not been made. Thus, it was disclosed that there are several institutions in the private sector that are allowed to import seeds and that this Act does not include a system to control the price of seeds imported by those institutions.

Thus, the members of the committee who were present pointed out that this is a very serious situation. The Members of Parliament pointed out that the domestic vegetable farmer is in a lot of trouble as a result and that this is a mafia. Therefore, they pointed out that a system should be prepared to control this situation and that a system should be created to enable the domestic vegetable farmer to buy vegetable seeds at an affordable price.

COPA Committee also pointed out that the percentage of providing locally produced vegetable seeds to the domestic vegetable farmer is not satisfactory. In response, the officials present mentioned that government departments including the Department of Agriculture are working to produce more of the required local vegetable seeds and provide them at a subsidized price, but even so, it is not possible to produce certain seeds under certain climatic conditions and therefore such seeds are being imported. Therefore, few private institutions have been allowed to import such seeds.

Also, the officials pointed out that even hybrid seeds that are difficult to produce are being produced using technology. The officials also pointed out that it takes about 10 years to carry out the research needed to produce certain seeds.

Thus, Chairman of the COPA Committee – Kabir Hashim instructed to finally provide a report on obstacles to seed production, a report on obstacles to recruitment, a report containing 3 years of information on the percentage of locally produced seeds and the percentage of imported seeds as per seed demand as well as a report on how seed prices can be controlled through the regulation of the relevant Act and Policy within two weeks.

State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva, Diana Gamage and Members of Parliament -Tissa Attanayake, Niroshan Perera, Ashok Abeysinghe, Buddhika Pathirana, (Dr.) Sudarshini Fernandopulle, J. C. Alawathuwala, Hector Appuhamy, (Dr.) Major Pradeep Undugoda and Wasantha Yapabandara were present at this Committee meeting held.

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Easter Sunday bombings : Rs. 295 mn. paid as compensation

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The annual reports of the Office of Reparations have revealed that over Rs. 295 million (295,499,069) have been paid as compensation to victims and property damage of the Sunday Easter bombings.

Under this, Rs. 273,747,000  have been paid as compensation for 719 victims while Rs. 21,752,069 have been paid as compensation for property damages.

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350 medical specialists have left SL

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A study conducted by a group of specialist doctors at the Ministry of Health has revealed that 350 specialists have left the country during recent times.

Many of them have left for countries such as UK and Australia. According to a spokesperson of the ministry, economic hardships have been cited as one of the main reasons for them to do so.
Doctors suggest that the government should provide an immediate solution to this issue.

Commenting on the issue, Secretary of the Health Ministry – Dr. Palitha Mahipala says that there is still a shortage of anesthetists and pediatricians after most of them had left the country.

However, some who have gone for training, are returning after their training is complete, he adds.

Meanwhile, sources in the Health sector also say that over 200 nurses too have gone overseas, but new recruits have enabled to prevent hospital operations from continuing without hindrance.

(Source : Lankadeepa)

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Details of SL recruits in Russian military, sought

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Sri Lanka has sought a report from Russian authorities on details of Sri Lankan military recruits and how many of them have died during the Russian-Ukraine conflict, the ‘Aruna’ newspaper reports.

According to a directive by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Russia has forwarded this request to the Russian Ministry of Defence.

Previously, the Human Trafficking, Human Smuggling and Maritime Crime Investigation Division (CID) arrested a retired major and an employment agent, identified as leaders of an organized scheme that recruited retired military personnel as mercenaries for the Russian army.

The Defence Ministry in Sri Lanka has urged the Tri Force commanders to brief Tri Force personnel not to fall for such rackets.

(Source : Aruna)

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Retired Major & agent arrested for recruiting SL mercenaries for Russian Army

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