Sri Lanka being a tropical country, has been rewarded by nature with
a rich biodiversity. There are various types of ecosystems which harbour
a high number of species of fauna and flora of various categories in the
country. This diversity is accepted globally and the South Western part
of the country is considered as a biodiversity hotspot, along with the
Western Ghats range of India.
Out of 4143 flowering plants found in the country, 1036 are
classified as endemic. Other recorded fauna biodiversity of key animal
groups are as follows:
The endemic is about 38% of the total number of species but this
figure increases when the indigenous fauna is considered.
It is much higher in land snails, freshwater crabs, reptiles and
amphibians. When it comes to biodiversity, Sri Lanka is considered to be
the richest per unit area in the Asian region with regard to mammals,
reptiles, amphibians, fish and flowering plants. A total of 161 fauna
species were added to the biodiversity register during the period 2001 -
These were made of 125 new descriptions, 31 taxonomic revisions and 5
new records to Sri Lanka.
Due to the geo-climate variation and anthropogenic features of the
country, Sri Lanka has a large number of different ecosystems.
These include forests and related systems, inland wetlands, coastal
and marine ecosystems and agriculture ecosystems.
This high ecosystems diversity of the country has given rise to a
wide range of indigenous species hardly found in other parts of the
world. It is the duty of all citizens in this country to protect our
rich biodiversity for posterity.
Provincial Councils were set up during J.R. Jayawardena's UNP regime.
The SLFP and the JVP opposed Provincial Councils at that time and
boycotted the first Provincial Councils elections. It cannot be denied
that the LTTE led by Prabhakaran resorted to ethnic cleansing,
especially in the North and the Sinhalese and Muslims living there were
driven out. There was also an exodus of thousands of Tamils from the
North to the South during the 30 years of terrorism in this country.
Hence the status quo should be restored by resettling those who fled the
Jaffna Peninsula due to LTTE terror, which is yet to be done.
Our experience is that the Provincial Councils have served no useful
purpose. It is also not wrong to say that running the Provincial
Councils is a drain on the country's exchequer. Then again, our country
is small and the religious and ethnic group concentrations are such that
Provincial Councils could cause problems in the long run and will not
serve the interests of national unity.
Further, there is the danger of foreign countries dealing direct with
Provincial Councils, which may destabilize the country cannot be ruled
It is observed that most motorists seriously violate the Vehicle
Ordinance. Vehicles halted in the middle of roads and on pavements
totally hindering the movements of pedestrians is a common sight.
Unfortunately even the Traffic Police seem to turn a blind eye to these
Sect. 12 of Cap. 206 of the Vehicle Ordinance states that when a
driver desires to stop his vehicle, he should draw it up on the extreme
left-hand side of the road which he is proceeding and should not allow
his vehicle to halt in the middle of the road for any purpose when it is
possible to halt on the side.
The Ordinance clearly states that vehicles should not use pavements.
I quote Sect. 15. ‘No person shall push, draw or drive any vehicle on
any foot-path or pavement intended for the use of foot passengers by the
side or sides of any street.’ Sect. 24 specifies that the maximum number
of passengers which may be carried in a vehicle licensed to carry
passengers should be determined by the proper authority, whose decision
shall be final. Such number should be endorsed on the licence, and both
the owner and the driver shall be guilty of an offence if more than the
licensed number of passengers are carried. For the purpose of this rule,
an infant in arms is not counted as a passenger and two children under
12 years are reckoned as one passenger. Sect. 24(b) states that in every
vehicle licensed to carry passengers the number of such passengers
should be clearly, visibly and legibly be displayed in the vehicle.
However, these regulations are hardly adhered to nowadays. We find
vehicles parked on pavements blocking the pathways of pedestrians and
that passenger buses operate without any indication of the number of
passengers permitted. Violation of these laws not only inconveniences
the general public but also create more accidents. Over to the Inspector
General of Police.
As a Buddhist, Vesak is a very significant time in my life. Although
not a so-called 'practising Buddhist' it is my honest belief that
Buddhism is a way of life as opposed to being a mere religion. It is
only through a deep understanding of the Buddhist philosophy that one
can truly find eternal peace.
This personal view has held me in good stead through the years. This
year as Vesak dawned, once again I was excited with the activity and the
bustle in the streets in the Colombo City which was lit up in reverence
to Lord Buddha and His teachings. As is the usual practice of most Sri
Lankans, we gather in droves and drive around the city during Vesak
experiencing and enjoying the colours of Vesak and the sheer
magnificence of the moment. It is on one of these sojourns that I saw
first and then experienced one of the most creative concepts in the
fabrication of Vesak pandals.
At the Isipathana Migadaye Vesak Zone a certain pandal grabbed my
attention. Maybe it was because of the long queues or the curiosity as
to why umbrellas were being handed out, that I eagerly moved in that
direction with the crowds. I was also given an umbrella, the colour of
the morning sun. I was taken by surprise when following the others, I
had to open up the umbrella in order to walk under artificial rain,
leading to the pandal arena.
It was definitely a different experience and to be honest I was
curious as to what lay ahead. There seemed to be a sense of curiosity
all around as none there seemed to have experienced such a phenomena
before. It was when we entered the pandal arena that I grasped what the
Beautifully constructed as though life-like, was a giant Buddha
statue embraced by a King Cobra.
The visual depiction immediately conveyed to me that the structure
was the Muchalindha Nagha Dharanaya, where Lord Buddha was sheltered by
a cobra as he meditated during his quest to attain enlightenment.
This was in fact in the seventh week of the Sath Sathiya. Being there
amongst the crowds, taking in the sheer enormity of that moment, it
dawned on me what parallel the brand Rainco was trying to draw.
Through an experience of being protected from the rain by an umbrella
and later showing how a cobra protected the Buddha, the benefit of the
umbrella brand was vividly provided. Most importantly, the experience
created an impression and a positive memory in my mind for its
innovation and novelty.
My wish is that next year too, the city will welcome us with exciting
and thought provoking Vesak experiences such as this year.