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Raids to detect poor quality Atapirikara

Co-orperatives and Internal Trade Miniser Johnston Fernando yesterday said they will prosecute all traders selling substandard Atapirikaras and Buddhist pooja items in their shops.

"The Internal Trade Ministry's Consumer Affairs Authority have deployed special teams throughout the country to raid grocery stores, book shops, Atapirikara stores and other outlets which may be selling low quality Buddhist Atapirikara and pooja items," the minister said.

Minister Fernando said, he directed Consumer Affairs Authority Chairman Rumi Marshook to conduct raids to arrest those in the business of selling substandard Atapiritkaras and Buddhist pooja items consequent to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's instructions to take immediate measures to put an end to the activity.

The instructions came from the President who was apprised of the situation by the Mahanayake Theras of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters that the sale of low quality Atapirikaras and other Buddhist pooja items are rampant in the market.

Mahanayake of the Asgiri Chapter Most Ven Udugama Sri Buddha Rakkhitha Thera had directed the attention of the President to a substandard Atapirikara item, which had been dedicated as an offering to the temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. The Mahanayake Thera told the President this is not only a substandard trade item, but is also disrespective to Buddhism.

Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando said that his ministry has received a large number of complaints about substandard Atapirikaras and pooja items in the market.

He said he also gave instructions to the Consumer Affairs Authority to collaborate with Sri Lanka Standards Institute to stipulate new quality standards in production and sale of Atapirikara as may be required to ensure due reverence and place to them.

According to the existing and accepted standards for Atapirikara that were gazetted on a recommendation by the Buddha Sasana Ministry under the Consumer Protection Authority Act, the items should conform to Sri Lanka Standard SLS 1257 and SLS 1258.

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