Blames trade union | Page 2 | Sunday Observer
Zoo chief

Blames trade union

28 March, 2022

A trade union at the National Zoological Gardens legedly involved in corruption and misuse of public property had sought to remove me from office, the former Director/ General of the NZG Shermila Rajapakshe said this week.

“The current situation in the Zoological Department is very critical. One veterinary doctor at the Ridiyagama Safari Park was assaulted recently, and he was hospitalised.

On the same day, a female staffer at the Dehiwala Zoo was held hostage in a room. No action was taken against the unionists who were involved in these activities, “she said.

While describing the situation she had to face at the Department, she said the Wildlife and Forest Conservation Minister and the Ministry Secretary should bear the full responsibility of those acts by this union.

She also revealed that an illegal organic fertiliser project at the Zoological Gardens was manipulated by the trade union and towards this end an independent commission was appointed a few months ago to look into the matter.

The Commission on March 13 issued its interim report followed by a final report on March 16 but the Minister or the Ministry Secretary of Wildlife and Forest Conservation have yet to implement the recommendations of the commission.

“According to the report, the Ministry Secretary said that there was no issue with the recommendations which clearly mentioned of taking action against the members of the union who were involved with the alleged illegal businesses and activities at the National Zoological Gardens,” she said.

Therefore, she said that if they cannot carry out the recommendations they should resign or bring the National Zoological Gardens under the purview of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. A day after the media briefing, Rajapakshe was removed from the post of Director General of the National Zoological Gardens Department.

“During discussions with the Minister and Secretary, I was convinced that they were trying to remove me from the post while protecting the culprits. As soon as the meeting with me concluded, the Minister and the Secretary held a discussion with the said union leader and pledged their support for the union and said that action would be taken to remove me”, she said.

“The previous Zoological Gardens’Director Generals were forced to resign owing to the forceful activities ofthese unions. They did the same thing to me, but I will never resign until a decision is taken by the President, because it was he that appointed me to this post.”

If we do not control these union activities, we will have to close the zoo and release the animals to forests or send them to zoos in other countries, she said.