“Fruitful action needed to implement National Action Plan” | Daily News
Human-Elephant Conflict mitigation

“Fruitful action needed to implement National Action Plan”

The 12 members comprising the Presidential Committee appointed last October headed by former Wildlife Conservation General Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya to facilitate and oversee implementation of National Action Plan to mitigate the Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) recently visited Human-Elephant Conflict prone areas such as Galgamuwa, Ehetuwewa and Athinimale in the Kurunegala District.

Anuradhapura Government Agent Janaka Jayasundara who is also a member of the Committee told the Daily News that it was revealed during the observation tour that the release of a large stretch of forested land belonging to a Buddhist temple in Ehetuwewa for agricultural and other development work has resulted in an increased number of wild elephant attacks in the area.

The fact that the investors who were allocated in implementation of the development activities in the particular landscape are alleged to have blocked the traditional elephant corridors thus depriving them of their habitats which have been in existence for centuries.

It was reported that around 150-200 wild elephants are found in this zone.The Committee which also met for the second time at the Galgamuwa Irrigation Training Institute Auditorium discussed the installation of villages and the seasonal crop protection fences in the HEC prone areas as recommended by the National Action Plan.

This Presidential Committee was appointed by President Ranil Wickramasinghe for facilitating and overseeing the implementation of the National Action Plan for Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation with Environmental scientist Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando, the Chairman of the Centre for Conservation and Research in the chair in August 2020 due to the lack of fruitful action to implement the highlighted recommendations of the Prithiviraj Committee by the wildlife conservation authorities.

It was decided at the particular Progress Review Meeting held at Galgamuwa that action shall be taken for planning village and seasonal crop protection fences, formation of community based electric fences societies for the maintenance of the fences or vesting the responsibility in the village funeral arrangements societies, formation of a funds collecting methodology, organising awareness programmes etc. under a Trainers Training Programme (TOT) tobe conducted in Divisional Secretariat Divisions affected by the increasing Human-Elephant Conflict.

Dr.Pilapitiya said the HEC mitigation plans emphasized that there shall be a round of discussions to be held for considering ways and means of securing the necessary funds being required for the installation of the village and the seasonal crops protection electric fences through the World Bank funded Agriculture Sector Modernization Project (ASMP), the Climate Smart Irrigated Agriculture project (CSIAP), the Eco System Services Conservation and Management Project (ESCAMP), the ADB funded North-West Canal Project (NWCP) and the Upper Elahera Canal Project (UECP) due to the lack of funds allocated for the implementation of the recommendations of the National Action Plan for Mitigation of HEC for 2023.

Under these circumstances, the installation of proposed villages and the seasonal crops protection electric fences would be limited to the Anuradhapura and the Kurunegala Districts as Pilot Projects where the above mentioned development programmes are in progress.

The Third Session of the Sumith Pilapitiya Presidential Committee will be held on February 25. Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya, W.M.A.P.B. Wanninayaka (Additional Secretary of Public Administration) R.M.R. Rathnayaka (Kurunegala Government Agent), Janaka Jayasundara (Anuradhapura Government Agent), H.D. Rathnayaka (Additional Secretary WildLife Conservation Ministry), Chandrika D. Ethugala (Additional Secretary, Irrigation Ministry), Chandana Sooriyabandara (WildLife Conservation Director General), Dr.K.M.A. Bandara (Forest Conservation Director General), K.D.N.Siriwardhana (Irrigation Director General), Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando (Head of the Center for Conservation and Research), R. Vijaya Kumar (Agrarian Development Commissioner) and Malkanthi Rajapaksha (Senior Assistant Secretaryto the President) were present.



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