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The ‘National Movement against Poisons’ today charged that certain government officials were delaying President Maithripala Sirisena’s order to ban all imports and sale of Glyphosate.

Speaking at a media briefing held this evening, Ven. Eppawala Mahamankadawala Piyarathana Thera of the organization questioned whether there were officials who were ‘more powerful than President Maithripala Sirisena’ and claimed the announced ‘ban’ was yet to take full effect.

Those who spoke at the media briefing pointed out that despite President Sirisena’s public announcement on May 22 that the import and use of Glyphosate had been banned with immediate effect, and despite the President’s proposal receiving Cabinet approval, Glyphosate was still being used around the country. Moreover, as there was still no gazette notification on the matter, it meant that there was no such thing as a total ban in effect, they pointed out.

Environmentalist Thilak Kariyawasam meanwhile criticized the announcement made by the government that Glyphosate will still be imported via the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to be used in tea estates. He pointed out that Glyphosate has been linked as one of the probable causes behind the deadly Kidney Disease that is ravaging parts of the country. “The Tea Research Institute knows only too well of the harmful effects of Glyphosate. We would like to question why they are remaining silent on the issue despite this,” he said.

Addressing the media, Convener of the organization, Chinthaka Rajapaksa ridiculed former Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena for his criticism of the government’s recent release of 15 containers of Glyphosate from the Colombo Port.

“Some of the worst decisions that negatively affected the country’s agriculture, such as the passage of the Seed Act, were carried out during the 10-year term of term of the previous regime. The ban imposed on Glyphosate and other agrochemicals under the previous regime was mere eyewash and an election gimmick. This was all done when he (Mahinda Yapa) was Minister of Agriculture. As such, he has no moral authority to speak on such issues,” Rajapaksa emphasized.