18 April, 2021

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Stop Destruction Of Environment Immediately – Part II

By Samanatha Vidyarathna –

“This is a poem written with the elephant’s view ion mind… The survival of human kind, not only in our country but over the whole globe does not depend only on the sole survival of the human species!… Streams, bubbling brooks and meandering rivers, the forests trees and vines along with all species dependent on these blessings have an unalienable right to exist. These present rulers do not understand these facts and it is time we chose a set of who not only understand but who are also willing to effect the necessary changes with immediate effect!… We have tolerated their disastrous attitude for 72 years!… They have failed miserably! The time is nigh for a change! …The government is busy legislating to destroy our environment…. They nullify the existing laws that protect our precious heritage!… This is not development… It is destruction of the worst order!”

Samantha Vidyarathna

“The kidney disease that first found a foothold in the Rajarata is now spreading to the rest of the country completely out of control!… Other than offering a measly allowance for those afflicted they are not telling us the cause of the epidemic!…. They know that to divulge the cause would be to the detriment of the exploitation they are engaged. They are not prepared to divulge the cause because it would affect their profit margin!… As long as the profits keep coming in it matters not if people have to pay with their lives!… Their system is so designed to fatten those who have and weaken the have-nots to virtual slavery! …That is the formula for the making of billionaires!… Any living being including man invites death and disease by consuming poisons!… Release these very same poisons to mother earth and the water table, rivers and streams and watch the land and its creatures disappear!… The rulers ensure organic food and clean water is within their reach and turn a blind eye to the plight of the poor consumer. ..So we find ourselves holding the sticky end of the stick!… We are left with it all…The elephant conflict and the poisoned fields to live, work and die on!”

“We have been free for 72 years!… We have a recorded history for 2500 years not forgetting the unrecorded period before that…. Do you feel that in those bygone days our people did not eat?.. In the reign of King Dhatusena from which bank did we obtain a loan to construct the Kala Wewa? …Have you given thought to this?… Was the loan from China or was it from the World Bank?…From which source or bank did our ancestors get loans to build reservoirs like Minneriya, Giritale and Hurulu Wewa to name just a few! …To build Sigiriya did Kasyapa go to a bank for a loan?… When the great king Parkramabahu having declared not a drop of water that falls on this land will be allowed to flow to the sea without serving my people – built the Sea of Parakrama, I wonder whether he went to the international monetary fund for the wherewithal!… We are still being fed by the thirty to forty thousand reservoirs built by our ancestors without taking out loans from any Tom, Dick or Harry!…. Do you know that!?… Yet!..Shame be on us….Our present rulers cannot construct a public lavatory without going to a foreign country with the begging bowl!… That friends, is where we are! This being so how will they protect our precious jungle reservations, animals that adorn them and the future for our generations to come!”

“Thos reservoirs nourished our villages and cities of the time…. All you have to do is visit Anuradhapura and Pollonaruwa to see how dead granite turned to living rock! …Go to Sigiriya to know the strength of mind and robustness of our people!… Today if you visit the well dressed highly scented people in the long queues in our hospitals you can well ascertain the paucity of strength in our people!…. The truth is hidden from us by the rulers. ….Why do you think there are such long queues in our hospitals and clinics?…. I will tell you the reason!… These rulers have obscured truth and science and instead highlighted myth and superstition to promote their interests and to stay in power!…. Let go of science and wisdom goes with it….Once wisdom is gone ordinary folk grope about in the ensuing darkness!… The people begin to hanker after false propaganda dished out by the crafty rulers…. That is why there are never ending queues in the Honey line, Nikawaratiya and Meevallawa!…. In all these places crowds gather because science has been relegated to the background and myth and superstition reign supreme!.. A society which discards common sense becomes lethargic and dysfunctional!… The bottom line is the people must made to see the futility of the present path…..It is your duty and mine to get down to this task without delay!”

In the Kandy district in and around the Victoria dam there are sign boards asking the people to be alert!… This motherland of ours has a heart called the central highlands!… The destruction of this gem began with the British colonial government by introducing the cultivation of coffee, tea and rubber!… From ancient time the central mountain massif was considered the head of our reservoirs!… This massif, was the catchment for every single water conserving scheme of the ancient people. This massif was sacrosanct!… No one was allowed to tamper with the forest cover that clothed these mountains big and small!… Post independence rulers who were greedy for the quick buck added woe to misery by bringing in the Mahaweli Development scheme which further depleted the forest canopy on the pretext of what was called the great five reservoir plan!… Some patriotic educated citizens, many of them scientists sounded the warning in no uncertain terms the danger to the massif itself quite apart and in addition to the denudation of the forest covers!… Leading amongst them was Professor Vithanage!… He warned against mega reservoirs that would fracture the massif itself due to t geology of the area under consideration!… No one paid heed!… Everything was foreign, the funding, the design, the engineering and even foreign contractors!…. Let us all hope that nothing bad will happen to this area.”

“Whether mountains can be stopped from sliding around by mere wishing is another matter!… World experts did some research and publish a report about the tsunami that hit us in 2004 and came to the conclusion that it was caused by an upheaval of a manipulate near the island of Sumatra… They issued new maps of areas to be affected in the future. Sri Lanka is included in this area and we alerted the rulers about the tell tale signs in the Kandy area and advised them to engage in a wide investigation all to no avail as the rulers turned a deaf year to our request.”

“Launched a massive campaign to stop the Umaoya debacle again to no avail!…. Up to this point of time 12700 hundred houses have been damaged….. Because we sought redress in the Supreme Court they were compelled to pay compensation to the tune of millions!…. Natural springs, centuries old have disappeared along with hundreds of rivulets and streams! …They are now compelled to distribute water to villages by bowsers on a daily basis!… In the holiday resort of Bandarawela the houses were split apart due to the tunneling that occurred underneath the town…..It is difficult to imagine the calamity that will have to be faced even as a result of a minor earthquake….. What right has the rulers to unleash such harm to the heart of the nation? The Sinharaja world heritage is the lung of our nation! …What sort of nation have become if it is possible to cut open the forest to put in unnecessary roadways without permission from the national environment protection agency?…. The country is in grave danger from irreparable damage by irresponsible political stooges!… There is not much time left for the present clique of rulers but the damage they inflict is immense.”

“The Negombo excursion in to the wetland reserve was a classic case of their stupidity! …At the District coordination committee meeting the environment officer intervened and when she presented her case she was asked whether historical evidence could be eaten and whether oxygen was needed for breathing!… Such stupidity and ignorance is unprecedented in any society….. One thousand five hundred acres of buffer zone land of the world famous Wilapttu national park was recklessly allocated for the cultivation of aloe vera! Environment minister S.M. Chandrasena rubber stamped it by merely saying it was OK to do so!…”

The elephant corridor in the dry zone between Pollonaruwa, Wasgamuwa and Somawathi is a flood protection buffer that needs to be saved at whatever cost it takes….A Minister from the wildlife protection arrives at the scene and recklessly directs officials to grant permission to build a road of 13 km across the heart of this flood plain against all advice from professionals. All these activities illegal in the extreme are carried out using the innocent public as a shield to carry out these illegal acts. Exactly the same tactic was resorted to desecrate the Sinharaja….in an attempt to break up our land to be sold to foreign countries!…. They stoop further!…. They assault you and me who have put up our hands to object!…. In such a situation where and how and who will stand up on behalf of future generations!”

“In Puttalam the marshes of Anavilunda were about to be dozered flat and when the public outcry built up to a crescendo the perpetrators fled except the bulldozer operator who was apprehended…. In the end the owner of the machine had to be apprehended and Lo and Behold! It happened that the culprit was Minister Sanath Nishantha’s brother! ….The chairman of the Arachchikattuwa district council had also to be taken in!…. These people are above the law!… If an ordinary citizen was to cut a mammoty handle, a single rafter for a collapsed roof he or she would be taken in and will end up in jail to serve a sentence but for these demons that destroy protected areas by the thousands of acres are free to roam at will!… In the Polbadda village of the first peoples of this land there is a sanctuary called the Galvalayaya… Also a sanctuary in the Rambakan Oya reservoir area there is a stretch of land that has been used for chena cultivation for centuries….. The present government scared these people away saying that they had no deeds to these lands….. Are you aware that this government has broken up 5426 acres of this land in to 15 lots and allocated them to different companies?”

“There is no one to speak up against this kind of banditry…. According to the 1980 number 47 clause of the National Environmental Act, clause 23 Under (A and B), to clear anything more than a hectare of land certain minimum conditions have to be met…. In this case when large tracks are bulldozed and cleared the law is brushed aside to suit the perpetrators!”

“When child who picks a few mangoes to appease her hunger she is hounded out and persecuted harassed and prosecuted!… A child who steals a few coconuts to pay the school fees is fined!.. In such a country there is no law to be implemented against rogues who fell ancient giant trees! ….The time is nigh for us to make a decision… In the Uva Wellassa district where I live on the 6th of Dec 2006 by a special cabinet paper 65000 acres were earmarked to be given to the British company Booker trade. I organized a massive protest along with the Buddhist monks to save king Buddhadasa’s Medicine forest called Nilgala and Rathugala!”

“On account of our campaign they did not give up…. They moved to another area……Yes!… To the Senanayake Samudra reservoir’s ‘Ieththawa’! …When we protested against they moved to Ekiriyankumbura of the protected areas of the Maduru Oya basin!… We did not hesitate Friends!…. To lie down in front of the giant bulldozers!…. For the third time we turned the dozers away and thwarted their efforts!… Starting from 2006 we have been struggling for 14 years to save 65000 acres!… The rulers say they are trying to save the country….. We are fighting to save our precious environment from them…..When are we going to produce a ruler who will save this land!… It’s we who have to find that person!…. The people must understand this problem that is before us!”

“We all enjoy the beauty of nature and likewise we go up to the Horton plains to enjoy the chilly crisp fresh air!… There are two approach roads to get this haven! …One via Pattipola and another from Boralanda via Ohiya!… The present government is now planning a road along a precious track from the Balangoda side which is subject to earth slips all the time. The Balangoda-Imbulpe provincial council is spear heading this project not with idea of getting up to the plains!… The rulers are intent on building hotels to fatten their purses! ….What is happening to our beloved Hantana!… They are busy destroying that lovely place right now. This is a special catchment area of the Mahaweli…. Moragahakanda reservoir depends on the flow from the knuckles range…. This is 21000 hectares in extent!…. The Pannila section of the range has already been raped by the bulldozers!… Because of the protests we have managed to organize this ravage has been contained to some extent! Hambantota is being raped as is the Gampaha district!…. 406 hectares of the Muthurajawela reserve has already been allocated for housing also in the Gampaha district.”

“Trees, rivers and streams have no parties!…. This is not a JVP problem…. This is a problem about the future… Don’t you think it is time we added love of the environment to the common slogan Love of nation which we are always touting!…. Does not the security of the environment as important as the security of the nation?… In the past we were mostly concerned with the problem of separatism…. But is it not time to embrace the security of the environment in to our list of priorities?…. A problem has sprung up which concerns all races…. It is a national problem….. Why are we doing this to Mother Nature?… Why can’t Mahinda and Maithree see this and understand the magnitude of the damage being done?… It seems like they have some problems which we do not see….This is the capitalist attitude they represent…. We are not in favor of a society that gives priority to the mere gathering of money… We favor a system that holds the well being of the citizen at the top of the list!… Whether it be the UNP or the SLFP or any other Party, the system followed was to use the environment and nature to benefit a small section of the well to do people of society at the expense of the marginalized poor majority.”

“The majority are rendered helpless!… The future is bleak…. The rulers don’t see this headlong descent to chaos!… They only see the need for money!… We cannot and should not allow the sacrifice of the majority to fulfill the wishes of a corrupt minority!…. We need to head in a direction where nature is preserved for the benefit of all creatures big and small!… This is our dream and goal!… This is what is called socialism!”

“If we fail to achieve this no one can predict the extent of the impending break down! …The present rulers came to power on the backs of the Buddhist public!… That is not a secret…. The Lord Buddha was a sage born under tree!… He reached Full Enlightenment under a tree! …..Preached his first sermon under a tree!.. And released himself from the yoke of samsara under a tree!… He is a sage who left for this world an incomparable science for all three domains!…”

“He categorically stated that ‘A FORESTIS A PECULIAR ORGANISM OF UNLIMITED KINDNESS AND BENEVOLENCE THAT MAKES NO DEMAND FOR ITS SUSTENANCE AND EXTENDS GENEROUSLY THE PRODUCTS OF IT’S LIFE ACTIVITY: IT AFFORDS PROTECTIONS TO ALL BEINGS INCLUDING SHADE TO THE AXEMAN THAT DESTROYS IT.’…It is this treasure that the present rulers are hell bent to destroy!”

So you and I have a responsibility… We have to include this in to the future manifesto to protect what remains and restore what has been ravished for the benefit of future generations!… We have to understand we are now opening the door to the destroyer of all that is good for humans and animals alike!… The time has come to wake up and take this message against the bulldozer right round the country from district to district…. We will share this message with those who have hearts to feel… We will get people of such ilk to unite and be a force to reckon with…. We are not going to limit our effort to mere lecture tours!… We will tell the government without wasting our time or yours, just jack up the monster machines and let nature be!…. If they fail to take notice and respond we will not limit our activity to just lectures and seminars of this type.”

“Our Mr. President said a few days ago that there are two Gotabayas!…. It matters not to us whether there is two or more….In the end all of us are destined to die!… It is our responsibility to protect nature, the trees streams and the environment along with all creatures that live with us for future generations! ..We are ever prepared to stay in the forefront to save these assets for coming generations! …We also have to realize that these rulers are not only bulldozing our precious environment! …We are facing a mountain of debt of 18 trillion taller than Pidurutalagala peak….. In actual fact we need not go anywhere with the begging bowl….. We have it in us, our land and sea to find it…. These people want instant solutions to the damage they themselves are responsible for.”

“Going down that road is not going to bring any relief!… No more loans will be forth coming!… They are after our assets!… Make no mistake about that!…. We have already lost a fair portion of our real estate… Our last asset is the jungle and the bare earth and they have started as you can see to flatten the land. They are also dosering the free education we all had…. The banks were dosered by Ranil…. The parliament has also been dosered….It is just a symbol with no power! ….Because of that the real battle is not in the parliament but on the ground outside…. The country is now run by cliques!… One is in the presidential palace led by P.B. Jayasundara and Dilip Jayavweera with Sabri on the side and the other in the Araliyagaha walawwa led by Mahinda…There is yet another one at Nelum Mawatha…. When there is a tug of war pulling in three directions the country will go nowhere but down.”

“Regardless of which clique dozers what if any clique tries to Dozer the country, the people or the environment any further we have to warn them that we the people will doser them eventually…. The people of this land have done this in the past…. We will be forced to bring the people to that position.. Karl Marx has stated that man can only become humane only if he treats nature with kindness…. Let us first be kind to nature to enable us to be humane…. We cannot protect the environment unless it is through a just and fair society…. We cannot save the country by breaking up into small clusters here and there ….We have to realize the problem is the politics we have hitherto dabbled in…. We have to understand when a minority hijacks the natural recourses of a country to fulfill their needs the majority gets buried in the unfair contest…We have to now set aside all minor problems and unite as one to save our society from total collapse that is threatening us.”

*“Against the Dozer” Campaign: Speech delivered by Samanatha Vidyarathna Central Committee Member JVP and Convener Right to Life 

Related posts:

Stop Destruction Of Environment Immediately – Part I

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    Mr. Samantha Vidyaratna: Criticiam…… Criticism….Criticism………Criticism… and no END. Do we “HEAR” from you, “HOW” these problems could be “SOLVED” and in “WHAT” way the “Expectations” of the PEOPLE would be met. You would definitely say: “YES”. We have our “Plans”. But do the people “KNOW” and have you explained those in detail. The ground “TRUTH” is: The people say: “They” (you and all other speakers of your party) are “VERY GOOD” at criticizing but not in “ACTION”. Do you ALL know that perception of the people? I don’t think so. One example (you too have stated above) The “UMAOYA PROJECT”. When you were leading the campaign “AGAINST” it, those opposing your criticism said: “This project was “Originated” by AKD, when he was the Minister of Agriculture, Waterways, Irrigation”. Did you meet that “Opposition” effectively? NO. The people were made to believe and were “Convinced” to such an extent, you were “Rooted” out in the PC election. That was the “Defeat”(of the Joint Group) at the “Bandarawela” local election. So Mr. Vidiyarathna, Get Back to “Drawing Boards” and make a “CHANGE” and tell the people “HOW” and in “WHAT” ways, you and your party are going to usher in a NEW ERA to SOLVE the mess in politics, economy, and social life.

    • 0
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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

      • 3
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        What? I only posted news links about environmentalists expressing their concerns as a reply to Simon’s question; “HOW” these problems could be “SOLVED” and in “WHAT” way the “Expectations” of the PEOPLE would be met?”

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          Champa: I would have loved to capture those “Links”. How unfortunate? May be some other time. Anyway Than You for your “TRY”.

          • 4
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            Simon
            I posted four links.
            First one was a news item of the well known environmental activist, Venerable Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thero.
            The second link was a news item of the Vedi Nayaka Wannilaththo.
            The third and the fourth now I don’t remember.

      • 1
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        Yes, Champa,
        .
        I’ve also had some comments removed – about Alfonso mangoes! after Professor Kumar David said much about them. Utterly uncontroversial, I’d have thought.
        .
        Oh, well, never mind!

        • 4
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          Ha ha ha
          My reply to Sinhala_Man here seems to be swallowed by the Rajapaksa hackers!!!.

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      Dear Simon, that’s a needed push in the right direction for Mr. Vidyaratna’s party. Hope your words are heeded.

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        Sugandh: Thank you. I have some confidence that they would do, because, since of late they look to be “Listening” to constructive criticism. After the formation of “NPP” and with the entry of Ms. Harini Amarasuriya to Parliament things are getting better. Yet, “Old Habits Die Hard”, but “CHANGE” is possible.

  • 7
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    Another very good speech by Samantha Vidyarathna, the Environmental Campaigner!!!
    .
    Forest Conservation Officer, Devani Jayatilleke who stood against Rajapaksa government’s willful destruction of the environment is maliciously targetted again by rowdy Ministers.
    Three rowdy Ministers including the Rajapaksas’ drug-baron-cousin and State Minister Nimal Lanza were seen trying to intimidate the brave female Forest Conservation Officer who single handedly tries to protect the environment.
    .
    https://varunamultimedia.xyz/videos/btv/vmtube/news-specials/70445_-31-03-21/play.html?1
    .
    This conversation between Devani Jayatilleke and rowdy Ministers also highlights the need to ban shrimp farming mafia in our lagoons as it affects lagoon hydrology resulting in serious harm to mangroves ecosystem, contamination and loss of biodiversity.
    .
    Given the questionable past of the Rajapaksa regime, I have reasonable concerns about Devani, Bhagya and long time environmental activists.
    .
    If there is any good in the recent UNHRC Resolution, it is the organization’s “deep concern” at the “deteriorating situation” in Sri Lanka.
    I have to grudgingly agree that the UNHRC is playing a pivotal role in protecting Sri Lankan people’s right to speak and right to dissent against the Rajapaksa authoritative regime.
    My emphasis is particularly on the growing number of people speaking against the regime’s arbitrary decisions & policies that allow a free hand for land grabbers, sale of national assets and form a separate Chinese Peninsula in Colombo.

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      Dear Champa… Appreciated the video of Forest Conservation officer Devani Jayatilleke standing up to these politicians.

      I do think that the likes of Mr. Samantha Vidyaratna are effective at educating about the environmental issues at the grassroots level.

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    It is funny to see a party that is responsible for 60000 plus murders to innocent teachers medicals professionals farmers take up the salvation of trees and lizards.

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      a14455: Some of the “REAL” people responsible and accountable are now placed at the “High Seat” of UNHRC. Isn’t that “FUNNY” to you? Have you heard of a “Dramas” called “THARAWATTE AJITH”, “BATALANDA TORTURE HOUSE” produced by “VVIPs”? If not, better keep quiet, because you don’t know “History”. I have “SEEN” and “KNOW” it, at the time of “Staging” those “Dramas” by “VVIPs” with the able assistance of the “Law Enforcement” personnel. Let us put aside those now and do some hard work to take this country out of the “Shit Hole”. Do your “BIT” well towards that “Goal”. Thank you.

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    Simon,
    .
    I was born in Bandarawela, and continue to live here. This is the area worst affected by the hare-brained “Uma Oya Scheme”. I have been into the tunnel at Karandagolla; I have passed the other two sites at Puhulpola and Dyraaba on countless occasions. I have met many of the locals and Iranians working on this project. It was a disaster from the beginning. Although my property here was not directly affected, I have seen the destruction wreaked by it. What can we do about it except criticise it? I’m glad to find the Champa has applauded Samantha Vidyaratne for what he has said, and also for posting the clip of Ms Devani Jayatilleke’s protest.
    .
    I have been present when Vidyaratne made some of his speeches, but I haven’t met either him, or AKD, personally – yet. However, I’m glad I cast one of my votes for Vidyaratne at the Parliamentary Elections, and AKD was my first choice for President in 2019. From what I know of them, I’m glad that I did what I could to support them.
    .
    I know nothing about AKD initiating the Uma Oya Project.

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    Sinhala_Man: Glad to hear your connection to “Uma Oya “. The First Proposal was made through a “Cabinet Paper” submitted by AKD. Unfortunately, he was not there to see to its conclusion. This “Cabinet Paper” was ONLY a “Proposal” to undertake a “Research” and make a “Feasibility Report” on the “Diversion” of water to the areas where there was an urgent need for the farmers to cultivate the two seasons. Mind you, it was only a “Proposal” to do a “RESEARCH” and prepare a “FEASIBILITY” report. During the protest, this was “Interpreted” as a “Cabinet Paper” that started the “Project”. My concern was JVP (Samantha Vaidiyarathna & others) NEVER explained that to the people. Very recently AKD was questioned on this at a TV program and he explained it very well, but by which time the “Horse has run away from the stable”. In spite of all these, I still have hopes on this JVP/NPP “Combination”- the “TEAM” to uplift the country from the stinking mud hole.

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      Dear Simon,
      .
      You certainly seem to know what you’re talking about.
      .
      “Very recently AKD was questioned on this at a TV program and he explained it very well”.
      .
      Would you be able to provide a link? We both seem to be sympathetic towards the JVP/NPP. So, our attitude is constructive.

      • 4
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        Sinhala_Man: I tried my best to get that link, but couldn’t. I watch quite a lot of these TV discussions to gather information. For sure, I watched that discussion (One-to-One) with AKD and it would have been with “Hiru” or “Derana”. I would suggest you send an e-mail to JVP. Perhaps, you could get it from them. I will try further and let you know. In Metta!

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        Sinhala_Man: I have the link now: hirutv.lk/watch/22416/salakuna/episode280/2021-03-23. You also can get it by typing: salakuna-episode280-Anura Kumara Disanayake-2021-03-23. Chapa Bandara was the “Media Mogul” who questioned AKD and said: “I have done a study of the Board Paper”. When AKD questioned him whether he has the “Board Paper”, he said: No I have made “NOTES” from it. AKD said: I am the one who made the Board Paper and I have it”. Just observe how these “Media Moguls” behave. One time the “Leading Mogul” tried to “Psychologically” instigate AKD to be “Angry” by his own interpretations. Pl. see this “Episode”. Very interesting.

        • 0
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          Thanks, I will definitely watch it, although not right now.
          .
          Past seven am and I need some sleep. I never watch T.V. but I do catch up on things on Youtubes.

  • 4
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    While I applaud the stand against environmental destruction, I cant see the relevance in the refence to funding of irrigation projects in ancient times. Whether the pyramids & the Chinese great wall was built with slave labour or craftsmen, same as the construction of massive lakes & stupas in ancient SL & how they were funded is history. The British introduced tea & rubber & built railways to transport the goods were all to their benefit but since independence, we have also benefitted from that legacy.

    The subject here is the protection of the eco system for all of us to live healthily with adequate food & water resources in a pleasant environment. SL is dependent on agriculture & tourism but unmanaged cultivation & mushrooming tourist resorts is unsustainable. Commercial mega farming is about exploitation in the short term for maximum profit leading to ecological disaster & should not be allowed but SL needs to have a plan for sustainable development & funding as necessary for production efficiency & I would like to see the JVP proposal instead of capitalising on the environmental destruction for political rhetoric.

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