By Sandun A Jayasekera
Plantation Industries Minister Ramesh Pathirana said the development and the protection of the environment must go hand in hand and as such the progress of the two must not get hampered by each other’s work.
Minister Pathirana told the media that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed to complete the widening of a stretch of road less than two kilometres which is to be completed in the next 90 days and vested in the people after he paid a visit to the construction site on Friday.
The widening of a road to Lankagama allegedly across the Sinharaja forest reserve had been suspended on an order given by President Rajapaksa. Minister Pathirana said and elaborated that widening the road through the forest will not damage the environment in any way but benefit thousands of people who had been deprived of a proper road for centuries. “The government will under no circumstances let any one harm the environment but will take all action possible to protect it. It is entirely a fabrication of interested parties to suggest that the road is being developed to facilitate easy access to a hotel. But Lankagama is a remote village without any facilities. A good motorable road will be a blessing to the villagers of Lankagama,” Minister Pathirana stressed.
Responding to a journalist, Minister Pathirana said the government has imported ample stocks of fertilizer to be distributed within the month of October for the Maha season of 2020 by both Lanka Fertilizer Limited (Lak Pohora) as well as Colombo Commercial Company Ltd.
The farmers had encountered difficulties in purchasing fertilizer as there was a shortage due to the previous government’s failure to settle bills of the two main fertilizer companies.
The two companies could not import fertilizer owing to the financial problem. But this government has paid Rs.10 billion to Lakpohora and to the CCC who have imported fertilizer and as such farmers now can purchase any amount of fertilizer easily for the Maha Season’, Minister Pathirana said.