Rajapaksa responsible for garbage imports - Champika

Sri Lanka is on the verge of becoming a centre for drug dealing and waste dumping due to the absence of adequate government policies and a solid national programme, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka warned at a social harmony conference in Negombo on Saturday. The Minister pointed out that the relaxing of import monitoring and customs controls by then Finance Minister and President Mahinda Rajapaksa had directly enabled the dumping of waste from other countries.

Referring to the recent uncovering of illegal garbage imports, Minister Ranawaka held former President Mahinda Rajapaksha responsible for this by introducing provisions in 2013 for import and re-export of goods without the control of laws such as Customs Ordinance, Exchange Control Act and the Import-Export Control Act. Ranawaka pointed out that this move created space for fraudsters to bring various types of waste into the country.

“The geographical position of this country has been strategically important for international trade. We have the capacity and the resources to become one of the strongest commercial and maritime hubs in the world. However, the country is now turning into a centre of drugs and waste dumping instead. That is happening because we do not have strong government policies or a solid national program,” Minister Ranawaka pointed out.

Minister Ranawaka made these observations participating in a conference held in Negombo, which was part of the programme “Jathika Maga” (The National Path) which was launched with the objective of establishing ethnic and religious harmony among Sri Lankans in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday terror attacks on April 21, 2019.

Speaking on the Easter Sunday attacks, Minister Ranawaka observed that the chain of attacks could have been avoided if the government bodies, intelligence units and operational units responsible for national security had been working in coordination. Ranawaka also stressed the importance of defeating Islamic extremist terrorism in the country in both military and ideological terms.

“According to the evidence gathered after the terror attacks, it is evident that many extremists have received training in camps conducted by the terrorists involved in the Easter Sunday attacks. This means that we need a proper mechanism to prevent extremist ideology from making the innocent Muslim community a breeding place. We must also come up with a strong mechanism to block terrorism financing and extremist advocacy on the Internet,” Minister Ranawaka observed.

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