The Cabinet yesterday decided to relax the ban imposed on the use of Asbestos roofing materials imported from Russia amid reports that the Russian Federation had allegedly retaliated by suspending tea imports from Sri Lanka.
Russia imposed a temporary restriction on tea imports from Sri Lanka last Thursday saying a beetle was detected in a consignment of tea purchased from Sri Lanka.
However, it is believed that this was in retaliation to Sri Lanka’s decision to ban the import of Asbestos roofing materials from Russia with effect from 2024 on the basis that such roofing materials were harmful to the environment.
Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake briefed the Cabinet on the crisis triggered by the restriction on tea exports to Russia and is reported to have informed the Cabinet that the ban on the use of Asbestos roofing materials was a likely factor that led to this crisis.
President Maithripala Sirisena had subsequently instructed the Cabinet to withhold the decision to ban the use of roofing materials for an indefinite period. (Kelum Bandara)