By Indika Sri Aravinda
The Department of Wildlife Conservation has been directed to clear wasp nests and beehives found in and around areas in which the President, Prime Minister (PM) and other politicians are to hold political meetings for the upcoming Parliamentary election.
The Executive Director to the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), Hemantha Withanage told the Colombo Gazette the request was made citing the use of firecrackers, which could disturb wasps and bees causing harm to political leaders and their supporters.
The President, PM and political leaders may be unaware of the situation, while their personnel Security Division and the Police are jointly carrying out the operation, the Centre for Environmental Justice said.
Hemantha Withanage said the District Secretariats of the relevant areas have been informed in this regard by the Department of Wildlife Conservation.
An order was reportedly issued to the Hikkaduwa Police to clear wasps and bees in the area ahead of an event attended by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa recently.
The Executive Director to the Centre for Environmental Justice requested key political parties to refrain from holding political meetings close to caves, Buddhist temples and forest reserves, stating that these areas are home to a large population of wasps and bees.
Hemantha Withanage said a letter will be directed today (05) to the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Police Department and District Secretariats in this regard.
When inquired in this regard from Police Media Spokesman SP Jaliya Senaratne, he said the Police Department has not received any such direction as yet, adding that it may have been issued to Police Divisions in various Provinces.
Meanwhile, the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation M. G. C. Sooriyabandara when contacted, refused to comment on the matter. (Colombo Gazette)