South Asia

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

controversial bill: A new bill that seeks to set up Sri Lanka's National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol has kicked off a huge controversy. The bill aims at reducing consumption and bans advertisements of these products. But the brewers, tobacco manufacturers, retailers and marketers have petitioned the Supreme Court against the proposed legislation, calling it a violation of the citizens' freedom of choice and expression and the right to engage in a fair trade of one's own choice. They further pointed out that strict regulations enforced through the bill could bring down the local breweries and promote illegal liquor production and cigarettes. The court will look into these petitions soon. The bill is before the parliament for discussion.

phulbari coalmine: Experts evaluating the Phulbari coalmine project in Bangladesh say it would adversely affect the environment. They say ground water in around 20 km of the mine would get severely depleted, leading to scarcity of drinking water and drying up of tubewells. The livelihood of about 10,000 people will be disturbed during the mining period and only 1,000 new job opportunity will be created, they added. They said the open pit casting method was suitable only for abandoned areas and was risky in densely populated countries like Bangladesh. The government will get only 6 per cent royalty but it would have to buy coal from Asia Energy at international prices, which will be unprofitable.

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