Reclamation of paddy lands temporarily prohibited – Can be done only with the special permission of the Ministry

 A meeting in two weeks to further discuss the Animal Welfare Bill

Minister of Agriculture Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera Recently (07), instructed the relevant officials to take steps to temporarily suspend the permission to reclaim paddy land. Accordingly, reclamation of paddy land can be done only with the special permission of the Ministry.

The Minister informed this when the MPs drew attention to the reclamation of paddy lands at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Agriculture held in Parliament on the 7th. Also, the minister assured that all necessary facilities including fertilizers will be provided to make the next Yala season a success. Accordingly, for the next season TSP fertilizer will be provided totally free of charge and Urea will cost Rs. 10,000 or less, and MOP fertilizer will be provided at a lower price than the current prices, the minister said. Also, the minister emphasized that the strengthening of the rupee will benefit the farmer and that the government will intervene as much as possible to reduce the cost of farming.

The committee also paid attention to the Animal Welfare Bill proposed to be presented to Parliament. A group of invited guests including Attorney at Law Mrs. Lalani S. Perera commented on the need for this bill. They said that the existing law for animal welfare in this country is very old and it is not strong enough to protect the rights of Animals. They pointed out that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance passed in 1907 is currently in place for animal welfare in Sri Lanka and a new animal welfare act should be implemented according to the new international laws.

Although new laws should be made for animal welfare, some MPs pointed out that these laws should not affect the use of animals for agricultural and cultural activities. Therefore, they said that the final draft should be prepared after further in-depth discussion on this matter. Thus, it was decided to meet and discuss at the ministerial level again in two weeks with the related written requests.

Members of the committee; State Minister Hon. Mohan Priyadarshan de Silva, State Minister Hon. D.B Herath, Members of Parliament Hon. S. Sritharan, Hon. Udayakantha Gunathilake, Hon. Kulasingham Thilipan, Hon. Upul Mahendra Rajapaksa and a group of MPs and Officials including the Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture were present in this meeting.

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