By Ifham Nizam
Wildlife Conservation Director General Dr. Chandrawansa Pathiraja was removed from his post yesterday by Wildlife and Agrarian Services Minister S. M. Chandrasena.The Island learns that among the causes for the removal of Dr. Pathiraja were elephant drives and relocation, particularly in the Wayamba area.
Dr. Pathiraja took the initiative to relocate wild elephants which caused the human-elephant conflict in the Wayamba Province. This created problems to the people as the wild elephants caused more damages to lives and properties particularly farming lands.
However, the initiative resulted in irate farmers and affected persons voting against the government, officials said.
He said Dr. Pathiraja did not consider the political cost of his decision and therefore he was sacked.
Dr. Pathiraja was on the chief mover in obtaining experts from the US and India for the forthcoming elephant census in August.
Ministry sources said that the changes were done to streamline the administrative processes.
Despite numerous efforts, Minister Chandrasena and Dr. Pathiraja were not available for comment.
Dr. Pathiraja was appointed as the Wildlife Conservation Department Director-General on November 22, 2010. He was the 28th Director-General of the Department which was established on October 01, 1949.
A past pupil of Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala, he followed higher studies at the Peradeniya University and the Medical Research Institute, Singapore.
Dr. Pathiraja, who is presently also a Director General of the Economic Development Ministry, played a leading role in making the NLDB a profit making company when he was its Chairman, within a period of three years.