New laws to tackle Ayurvedic spas that exploit customers

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayaka gives notice of new legislation to protect foreigners and local customers from bogus health resorts.

Addressing a media conference held at the Ministry auditorium in Colombo, the Minister said that there were no strong enough provisions in the Ayurvedic Act to institute legal action against mushrooming spas and resorts to check their abuses. Those institutions exploited and duped both foreigners and locals promising them ayurvedic treatment.

The Ayurvedic Act No 31 of 1961 would be amended within the next few months to enable legal action against bogus resorts, he said.

Minister Dissanayaka said that he had received several complaints from foreign and local tourists about exorbitant charges levied by certain ayurvedic resorts, hotels and spas at times for shoddy service. Spas had emerged all over the country to attract as many tourists as possible. "Their fees and charges were horrendously expensive. Instead of using the real Ayurvedic medicinal plants, some health resorts are taking tourists for a ride", the Minister Dissanayake said.

He pointed out that laws to raid, fine and even prosecute errant resort owners would come into effect soon. "Once the Ayurvedic Act is amended, the Ministry will have all the powers to monitor the conduct of hotels, resorts and spas offering ayurvedic treatment," Minister Dissanayaka said.

A National Ayurvedic conference on indigenous medicine based health care system in Sri Lanka would be held on January 20th, Director of the Bandaranaike Memorial Ayurvedic Research Institute (BMARI), Prof K.K.D.S. Ranaweera said. Organised by the Indigenous Medicine Ministry, the conference would be held at BMARI. This would be a meaningful opportunity to pursue a new role and a vision of traditional medicine system. It would also serve as an initial step for the first International Indigenous Medicine Conference to be held in Sri Lanka in mid 2012.

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