Minister instructs to expedite issuing Environmental Assessment reports when releasing lands for dairy farming

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Environment has instructed the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to immediately end the delay in issuing environmental assessment reports required for the use of land for maize cultivation and dairy farming in the country.

A discussion between Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera and Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage was held at the Ministry of Environment yesterday (15) afternoon as per a decision taken by the Cabinet of Ministers to provide lands for dairy farming.

The Minister of Agriculture pointed out that due to delays in environmental assessment reports for dairy farming and maize cultivation, foreign investors who come for certain projects are leaving.

There are 63 institutions registered under the Central Environmental Authority for the preparation of environmental assessment reports.

One institution has demanded an unreasonable sum of Rs. 300 million to prepare an environmental assessment report in the process of allocating land for dairy farming in Nawalapitiya. Also, due to a conflict between two institutions in allocating lands for dairy farming in the North Western Province, the process is being delayed.

Therefore, the Minister of Agriculture stated that these issues should be resolved and the submission of environmental reports should be expedited.

The Minister of Environment stated that it is not necessary to prepare environmental reports for allocating land for dairy farming as most of the land is used for grass cultivation.

The Minister of Environment directed the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to expedite the submission of environmental assessment reports on lands used for maize cultivation and dairy farming.

Minister Amaraweera noted that the annual maize requirement of the country is about 450,000 metric tons but the harvest is 280,000- 300,000 metric tons and annually about 100,000 metric tons of maize are imported. Therefore, priority should be given to projects that are implemented to increase maize production in the country, said the Minister of Environment.

Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment and a group of officials were present at this occasion.

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