Written by Staff Writer
28 Nov, 2020 | 10:06 pm
COLOMBO(News1st): The islandwide token strike launched by officials attached to eight Wildlife Trade Unions yesterday (27), concluded today(28).
Officials attached to the Wild Elephant Unit of the North Western Zone who temporarily halted their operations due to the token strike yesterday(27), recommenced their operations today (28).
A mission was launched on the 25th of November, to chase away wild elephants which have been encroaching on the villages of Dambulupura and Thalawa in the Thambuttegama Divisional Secretariat over a number of years and causing extensive damages to the villages and to also capture a violent wild elephant.
Subject Minister C.B.Rathnayake also arrived in the area to assess the progress of the mission which was underway.
Wildlife officers attached to National Parks and Regional offices in the Polonnaruwa district reported for duty, as usual, this morning.
Officials of the Hikkaduwa Wildlife Office who support the token strike which was commenced to oppose the actions of the state minister, recommenced their work today.
The Officer in Charge of the Maduru Oya National Park expressed views in relation to a timber racket taking place within the park.
“A number of entities are party to this. Political influences exist as well because the relatives of those who engage in timber rackets in the area are regional politicians. Owners of timber mills join in on this as well. This is a joint racket carried out by all these parties.”, said Officer in Charge of the Maduru Oya National Park, Buddhika Sajeewa Vithanage
“There are timber mills situated 300-400 meters away from the National park. A certain decision should be made regarding these mills”, he further stated.
A number of cabinet ministers expressed their opinion regarding the argument which ensued between State Minister Wimalaweera Dissanayake and Wildlife officials.
Minister of Housing Wimal Weerawansa said he valued the services of wildlife officials who are genuinely dedicated to protecting the sensitive eco-systems of the country.
” If certain parties attempt to hinder their duties, we do not condone those acts.”, he further stated.
“I am not vested with the power, even as a cabinet minister to intimidate officials even if it is an official who has engaged in wrongdoing.”, he added.
“I believe there was an error in the way the Minister handled the situation.”, Minister of Wildlife C. B. Rathnayake stated
” I will assure you that no injustice will occur.”, he reiterated.
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