Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 27 February 2011





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President Rajapaksa hails Asian economies as being resilient:

Measures must be taken to ward off crises

President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the Asu Maha Shravaka Budu Raja Maha Vihara at Rathganga in Ratnapura

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that Asian countries faced the world economic crisis in a better manner than the Western world. He however, emphasised that a new financial order was needed to effectively handle the economic crisis that looms in the horizon.

President Rajapaksa began the week by visiting the historic Saman Devale in Ratnapura, where he opened a newly constructed road leading to Devale last Sunday.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the Asu Maha Shravaka Budu Raja Maha Viharaya in Rathganga, Ratnapura on Sunday to place Buddha Relics at the newly built Buddhagaya Shrine.

Then he worshipped at the historic Sabaragamuwa Maha Saman Devala and inspected some development activities like Salpila fair and vehicle park due to be constructed in the Maha Saman Devala.

He opened the newly constructed road leading to the Devala and also participated at a special religious ceremony held at the Devala to invoke blessings on the President and the country.

Waste disposal every one’s responsibility

A special meeting was called on February 22 by President to discuss actions to be taken to minimize environmental damage caused due to improper waste disposal.

With major cities including Colombo being made beautiful, proper waste disposal is one of the major concerns of the government. At the discussion President Rajapaksa said all agencies should act together to minimize environmental damage caused by waste disposal.

The authorities explained about the sterilization system, which is estimated at a cost of Rs. 3.5 million, introduced by SriLankan Catering Services Ltd to sterilize food waste disposed by Airlines.

The experts said the sterilization process was similar to the water vapour sterilization system used to sterilize medical equipment that turns food waste into animal waste.

The President told officials that the environment damage due to improper garbage disposal was enormous and needed to find know-how to implement a proper garbage disposal system in the country.

President Rajapaksa said by using eco-friendly waste disposal methods similar to the hotel trade would bring dividends and it would result in creating a healthy environment.

Environmental issues

The Korean government is to support Sri Lanka to minimize environmental issues that crop up in an accelerated development process in Sri Lanka.

This was disclosed when South Korean Vice Minister of Trade, Energy and Knowledge Economy Young June Park met President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on Wednesday.

At the discussion with the President, he expressed Korea’s commitment to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries, especially, in the investment and tourism sectors and also formulating a strategy on proper disposal of garbage in the areas where the new industries and trade hubs are to come up.

Convert wrongdoers

The review meeting of the Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms Ministry was held at Temple Trees in the middle of the week. President Rajapaksa told Prison’s authorities that they should strengthen the community based correction system, to convert wrongdoers into productive people and bring them into mainstream society. “The Law should be enforced to correct offenders but not to harbour hatred against society”, he said.

President Rajapaksa said the prisons should be institutions that rehabilitate prisoners and should not be dens that produce criminals.

He instructed prison authorities to implement a system where the service of prison officials and prisoners could contribute to the country’s development process.

It was revealed that the government spends nearly Rs. 10,000 to look after a single prisoner, where he does not make any contribution to the development of the country. The Prison’s Department spends over Rs. 405 million to rehabilitate prisoners through a community based correction system.

He said Sri Lanka had set an example to the world by rehabilitating and reintegrating former LTTE cadres in a speedy and systematic process.

“Out of 11,700 ex-LTTE cadres, over 5,800 are already reunited with their families and earning incomes using the vocational training that they received”, he said.

Prison officials citing a recent survey found that over 88 percent of Sri Lankans want capital punishment to be re-introduced in order to lower the crime rate. It was revealed that 334 people convicted for murder and that prominent drug dealers were in prisons.

President Rajapaksa instructed officials to set up a special police squad in prisons to prevent illegal activities within the precincts of the prisons.

He also advised officials to implement a special program to rehabilitate prisoners.

Eye Bank

Sri Lanka’s first Eye Bank was established at the National Eye Hospital this week.The Singapore based Lee Foundation, National Eye Centre and the National Eye Bank of Singapore spent over Rs. 30 million to set up the Eye Bank and it will provide further US $ 5 million to upgrade facilities in the bank within the next five years.

The National Eye Bank will provide high quality corneas to Sri Lankans who undergo cornea transplant and will also provide corneas to other countries, especially the SAARC countries. The Eye Bank was opened by President Rajapaksa on Thursday. He spoke to patients receiving treatment at the Eye Hospital presented a special memento to Prof Donald Tan, the Director of the National Eye Centre, Singapore, Director in recognition of his assistance to set up the eye bank here.

Bangladesh Chief of Army Staff, General Mohammed Abdul Mubeen who is in Sri Lanka on a five-day visit met President Rajapaksa and discussed matters of bilateral interest, on February 24.

Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake, the newly appointed Navy Commander paid a courtesy call on President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees, where the President commended the role played by the Sri Lanka Navy in ending terrorism and also its contribution in nation building activities.

Promote local products

President Rajapaksa at a ceremony held to appreciate the contribution of local industrialists at Temple Trees said the country should believe in its local entrepreneurial strength and that would lead the country be self sufficient in future. “We should get rid of the mentality that we can import every thing and it is time to encourage our farmers and industrialists to face any crisis”, he said at the award ceremony that warded the Soorya Singha and Swarna Hastha certificates to industries that promote local products and services.

He said the Sri Lanka which was a self sufficient country earlier had all the capabilities to have a self sufficient country in future. “ The government will not allow to exports to dominate our economy. We believe in self sufficiency and our economic policies are targeted to develop the local production. We believe in the capabilities of local farmers and the entrepreneurs”, he said.

President Rajapaksa said the government moves the country into self sufficiency gradually and created an environment where people eat rice more than bread. “ By doing this we have been able to give a good price for farmers and it made to secure the future of the farmer community. We ended the exports based era and we want to produce in the Lankan soil”, President said.

“We have started to set up one million home gardens to strengthen the economy of each family and we hope to extend that to rearing cattle and chicken to make each village self sufficient”, he said adding that his government had made impossible into possible by ending the war which most people thought was not possible.

“There is nothing we can not do. Believe the strength in us and rally around with the government to win the economic war”, he said.



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