"Several International Non Governmental Organizations and Non Governmental Organizations work with the Government. But, some of them think they could do anything in our country by providing cash aid. Such attitudes should not be encouraged in Sri Lanka," Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake said, at a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the Department of Wildlife Conservation at the BMICH.
"Under no circumstances should we tolerate any country or institution dictating terms that could affect the sovereignty of the nation," Wickramanayake said.
Wildlife officials were facing a number of problems like coping with the shortage of resources and threats of climate change which leads to global warming, he said adding that it was the bounden duty of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Forest Department to preserve at least 15 to 20 per cent of the country’s reservations of forests and other uncleared areas.
He commended Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka on his wide knowledge of the subject and on his initiatives to protect natural resources.
Tourism Minister Nandana Gunathilake requested Minister Ranawaka not to allow anyone to take over an inch of land from the demarcated preserved areas. If possible, he said, more preservation areas from other lands should be included.
It was sad to see most people did not realise the value of the forests and fauna and flora, and if they did understand, the damage caused to environment would be minimal.
Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said a special project costing to Rs. 3,000 million would commence shortly in villages, prone to the human-elephant conflict.
Shortly after taking over the ministry, an age-old Fauna and Flora Act was amended to suit the present context. "This may sound silly to some but it takes about eight months to translate a sentence in some State run departments," he said.
The workforce of 800 was increased to 1,200 in the Departments within a short period and all necessities including heavy machinery had been provided to carry on the task with ease, he said.