Published on: March 11, 2024

Ministry of Finance grants approval for 4,500 Multi – Tasks Development Officers to enhance Elephant Conservation Efforts – Minister of Wildlife & Forest Resources Conservation and Irrigation Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi

Minister of Wildlife & Forest Resources Conservation and Irrigation Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi revealed that the Ministry of Finance has granted approval to deploy 4,500 multi-tasks development officers to aid elephant-fence conservation efforts within the Ministry of Wildlife.

The minister also stated that the demarcation of forest boundaries, which is part of the project aimed at increasing the country’s forest coverage to 32% of the total land area, is anticipated to be finalized this year.

Minister of Wildlife & Forest Resources Conservation and Irrigation Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi made these remarks during her participation in a news conference held at the Presidential Media Centre today (11), focusing on the theme ‘Collective path to a Stable Country’.

The Minister further commented that the International Day of Forests falls on March 21.

‘Concurrently, efforts are underway to distribute one plant to each household across the island, with forest extension officers being deployed for this purpose. A program has already been initiated to boost forest population while safeguarding water catchment areas. This program, commencing from Ratnapura district, is aimed to be extended nationwide.

Additionally, the demarcation of forests is slated for completion this year in connection with the initiative to raise the forest coverage to 32% of the total land area. This falls under the purview of the Department of Forest Conservation within our Ministry.

Furthermore, Uma-oya has achieved successful completion of the first phase. This phase enables the provision of new water to 20,000 acres of land. Test-level rehearsals are underway to supply 45 MCM (million cubic meters) of drinking water to the Lower Uma-oya area and to generate 120 MW (megawatts) of hydropower. Notably, 120 megawatts of hydropower generation are also set to be integrated into the national power system.

Furthermore, 7,500 hectares have been equipped with irrigation facilities for vegetable and fruit farming through the Minipe anicut project during Yala and Maha season. To achieve this, 3.5-metre Minipe anicut has been constructed, and a canal spanning 74 kilometres to transport water has been fully prepared. Approximately 15,500 families stand to benefit from these developments.

Additionally, preparations are underway to supply water to 350 small tanks and 7 medium-sized tanks situated 90 kilometres northwest of the Wa-Madilla Reservoir through the Northwest Canal. A two-kilometre tunnel is set to be built within the canal, alongside renovations planned for two main tanks. This initiative aims to furnish safe irrigation water and 10 MCM of drinking water to 75,000 families.

Furthermore, a 96-kilometre canal is currently under construction, stretching from the Moragahakanda Reservoir to Hurulu Lake and Mahakanadarava, aimed at transporting irrigation water to the North Central Province. This ambitious project includes a 28-kilometre tunnel. Once completed, it will provide safe water facilities to 2,300 hectares of land and benefit 175,000 families.

Additionally, the canal will have the capacity to supply water to 1,300 small tanks, while also facilitating the provision of 40 MCM (million cubic meters) of drinking water.

Additionally, the Ministry of Finance has granted approval for the assignment of 4,500 multi-tasks development officers to the Wildlife Ministry for elephant fence conservation. It is important to note that no new employees will be recruited for this purpose. Furthermore, the approved multi-purpose development officers are already engaged in elephant fence conservation efforts.

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