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* Presidential Task Force to protect archaeological sites
Sat, May 23, 2020, 12:06 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 23, Colombo: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said that a Presidential Task Force will be appointed under the Defense Secretary to conduct a comprehensive survey of archaeological sites in the East and to take measures to preserve them, President’s Media Division said.

Several parties have voiced their concerns regarding the destruction done to historical monuments. After considering all aspects, a broad program will be launched with the support of the Department of Archaeology in order to preserve historic sites.

President Rajapaksa expressed these views during the second meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (22) with the Buddhist Advisory Council which is scheduled to meet on the third Friday every month.

The prelates have enlightened the President on the necessity of a religious discourse due to misconduct of certain monks that will cause discredit to the Buddhism and Tripitaka.

President said steps could be taken to rectify the situation during his tenure of office if corrective measures are proposed.

The clergy commended the initiatives launched under the guidance of the President to protect the entire citizenry in the wake of global pandemic of COVID-19 which has caused a devastating impact on every country in the world. President pointed out that it is a great achievement that not a single person from the community was found infected after April 30, the PMD said.

Those who are returning from abroad are being sent for quarantine. Of these returnees, few from Dubai and Kuwait have been infected with the virus. Safety measures are underway to examine people arriving from overseas under the instructions of health authorities.

The Buddhist Advisory Council discussed at a length on Pirivena education and school education system in the country. Maha Sanga pointed out how attempts were made to remove the subjects of Literature and History from the school curricula during certain periods in the past. While pointing out that education is the first and foremost priority in his election manifesto President said preliminary steps have already been taken to implement a National Education Policy.

The Maha Sangha stressed the need of effective implementation of a comprehensive program to defeat the drug menace threatening the country. The prelates further said that there is a huge responsibility lies with the Maha Sangha in this regard in the same manner as that of the government.

President Rajapaksa said that large quantities of drugs that were smuggled into the country were seized within a very short period of time. He further said that he will take every possible step to control the prevailing situation to the maximum level as well as to totally eliminate the drug menace from the country.

The President pointed out that he will fulfill the responsibility for national security bestowed upon him to the highest level and he has appointed talented and expert individuals in charge of this task. Intelligence Unit has been vested with full powers to deal with issues. President Rajapaksa said that the security forces have been given the power to closely monitor the terrorist and extremist activities.

The Maha Sangha further said that there are no words in the vocabulary to felicitate the speech made by the President at the National ‘Ranaviru’ commemoration Day and invoked blessings on the President.

The Theros said that there is a huge responsibility with the Maha Sangha to rebuild the society which has gone chaotic. The Maha Sangha criticized the practice of certain media outlets that create a rift between the Maha Sangha and the politicians.

The prelates noted that that the entire world appreciates the steps taken by the government to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emphasizing that Maga Sanga has an enormous responsibility in the efforts in resuming normalcy in civilian life in the wake of the pandemic the prelates pledged to work for the benefit of the society through a committee comprising Maha Sanga.

The Maha Sangha including Anunayake of the Malwatte Chapter Most Ven. Niyangoda Vijithasiri Thero, Anunayake of Asgiriya Chapter Most Ven. Venduruwe Upali Thero, Registrar of Malwathu Chapter Most Venerable Pahamune Sri Sumangala Thero, Lekakadikari of the Malwathu Chapter Dr. Medagama Dhammananda Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Ruwanweli Maha Seya, Ven Pallegama Hemaratana Thero , Maha Nayaka of the Amarapura Sri Dharmarakshita Nikaya Most Ven. Rajakiya Panditha Trincomalaye Ananda Thero, Chief Sanganayaka of Dakshinalanka Most Ven. Mataraba Hemarathna Thero and Chancellor of the Sabaragamuwa University, Prof. Ven. Kumburugamuwe Vajira Thero attended the meeting.

The Principal Advisor to the President, Lalith Weeratunga also participated in this meeting.


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