President focuses on amending Antiquities Ordinance

President focuses on amending Antiquities Ordinance

President focuses on amending Antiquities Ordinance

Written by Staff Writer

25 Jul, 2020 | 10:11 pm

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s attention has been drawn towards the protection of antiquities and consolidating national heritage through amending the Antiquities Ordinance.

According to the President’s Media Division, the President has decided to appoint a committee comprising the Maha Sangha and intellectuals to overlook the matter.

The fourth session of the President’s Buddhist Advisory Council was held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.

Archaeological conservation and development were discussed at length at the meeting.

According to the PMD, speaking at the council session the President has said, no room will be left for anyone to damage the historical heritage or archaeological value of any sacred place and all such places will be considered as national heritage and will be protected.

The President has also issued directives to the Department of Archaeology to respond to requests made by the Maha Sangha to preserve antiquities and historical sites.

The possibility of obtaining the services of the Civil Defence Force in the implementation of the programme of conserving archaeological sites and antiquities had also been discussed at the session.

The attention of the President had also been drawn to the request made by the Maha Sangha to transfer the cases relating to the artifacts and historical places in the Northern and Eastern Province, to courts in Colombo and the President has instructed the Department of Archaeology to make swift responses to the requests made by Maha Sangha to protect the archaeological and historical sites.

The Maha Sangha has also pointed out that the artifacts taken away during the colonial period were later found reposited at the British Museum and the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. The Maha Sangha suggested the President to initiate a process to reacquire the artifacts following consultations with UNESCO.

The Maha Sangha had also apprised the President that, employees had been recruited disregarding due procedure and as a result, The Central Cultural Fund had spent Rs.7000 Million annually to pay salaries of the employees.

Speaking at the meeting, Director General of the Department of Archaeology Professor Senarath Dissanayake had said, although there are 11 Director posts at the Department of Archaeology, none of the positions have been filled

The President had notified to recruit University graduates annually to the Department of Archaeology.

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Meanwhile, it has been decided to obtain the necessary funds to renovate the demolished King’s Court Assembly in Kurunegala.

Secretary to the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs – M. K. Bandula Harischandra said, the relevant letters for this renovation have been sent out to the Road Development Authority and the Kurunegala Municipal Council.

Adding further, the Secretary to the Ministry said that planning the renovation activities have already begun.

However, the Secretary said that the renovation activities of the demolished King’s Court Assembly in Kurunegala has been halted considering the legal situation at present following the court order that was issued barring any person entering the site.

The Ministry had instructed the Department of Archaeology to start the reconstruction of the archaeological site from yesterday.

The Secretary to the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs – M. K. Bandula Harischandra said that the renovation process that has been halted at the moment due to the court order issued, will recommence immediately once the court proceedings regarding the incident is done with.

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