Strong laws to be introduced soon says President

He recalled that the new government hasn’t issued any license to foreign companies to engage in the local gem industry. He said the first job he did as soon as he took the portfolio of the ministry, was to cancel the license given to four foreign companies by the former government. President Maithripala Sirisena says he would enforce laws against those who engaged in illicit tree cutting, sand mining, stone mining and gem industry, irrespective of their social level.He emphasized the government will not let anybody to destroy natural resources. The President was speaking in Parliament today as the Minister of Environment and Mahaweli Development, when the budgetary estimate of the Ministry was being debated. “Actions will be taken to get the foreign technical knowledge required by the gem industry, through the projects implemented by the government. The government’s policy on the gem industry will not let any room for foreign companies”, the President said.“Instructions have been given to the armed forces, police, Forest Conservation Department and the Government Agents to totally stop clearing forest resources. We will take alternative actions over the re-settlements”, he said. The President also stated that the government is on a strict stand to act according to the international agreements to protect Ozone Layer in accordance to the Vienna Agreement, within the three years plan of the Ministry of Environment.He also recalled that an group has been appointed to investigate about the corruption occurred in Ilmenite Factory in Pumuddai and added a new program will implemented to gain the income of that factory to the government.“The required development activities will be expedited in the new program initiated by the Environment and Mahaweli Development Ministry”, the President further stated. (Colombo Gazette)

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