BY RAVI LADDUWAHETTY
The Sri Lanka Tea Board will not take any punitive action against the exporter involved in a shipment of tea to Russia that contained a beetle which led to a temporary ban on imports to that country, a topmost official said yesterday.
The Russian Federation has clamped a total ban starting from tomorrow on the import of Sri Lankan tea and other agriculture products following the discovery.
“We will not take any action against the exporter as the beetle was not found in the tea consignment but, instead within the container outside the tea packages, “Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda told Ceylon Today yesterday.
He was responding to questions from Ceylon Today on whether the future operations of the exporter is to be outlawed since the incident had brought disrepute to the export trading sector and the country.
Pethiyagoda also explained that these containers travel around the world and that it could have happened to any exporter. It has been confirmed that the beetle was not inside the tea packets and therefore no charges could be brought against the exporter, Dr. Pethiyagoda further said.
He also said that it will take at least another week before the Government could make an appointment with the Russians.
“We are seeking to meet with the Russian Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Tkacev Gaffe and Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake will be tasked to head the delegation at the talks”, he added.
The delegation will also include officials from the Tea Research Institute and the Agriculture Ministry.
He also added that the private sector component was not relevant at the talks.
He was also very appreciative on the efforts made by Sri Lanka’s envoy to Russia Dr. Saman Weerasinghe, whom he said was doing yeoman service and task in seeking appointments with Russian officials especially with the Agriculture Minister.
“It will take around a week to get the appointments since there are a string of Russian holidays at present,” he said.
Minister Navin Dissanayake could not be reached for comment.
Courtesy : CEYLON TODAY