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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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One more COVID-19 death

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One more COVID-19 death was confirmed yesterday (04) by the Director-General of Health Services.

Accordingly, the current COVID-19 death toll is at 16,805.

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Auto Diesel price slashed

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The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has announced that the price of a litre of Auto Diesel will be reduced by Rs. 10/- from midnight today (05)

Accordingly, the new price of a Liter of Auto Diesel will be Rs. 420/-.

However, CPC states that prices of other types of fuel will remain unchanged. 

Meanwhile Lanka IOC says that they too will reduce the price of Auto Diesel by Rs. 10 from midnight today.

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Bandula asks SLTB chairman to resign

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Minister of Transport and Highways Bandula Gunawardena has called for the immediate resignation of the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB), Kingsley Ranawaka.

In a letter addressed to the SLTB chairman, the minister states that the ‘Park and Ride – City Bus Service’, which was initiated under a policy decision of the government, has been suddenly suspended without informing him, based on a decision reached by the Director Board of the Sri Lanka Transport Board.

Therefore, the Minister, under the powers vested in him by Sri Lanka Transport Board Act, No. 27 of 2005, has instructed Mr. Ranawaka to resign from the posts of SLTB chairman and Director Board member with immediate effect.

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