Written by Lahiru Fernando
14 May, 2015 | 9:46 pm
An ongoing coastal construction in the Kadapala area in Beliwatta, Dikwella that causes harm to the environment grasped the attention during the Dikwella Pradeshiya Sabha Meeting held on Wednesday (13th May). This artificial reef is being constructed within close proximity to a Hotel on the coast of Kadapala.
According to the Chairman of the Dikwella PS, the construction does not have the approval of the PS and is being built to protect the swimming pool of the hotel. Furthermore, the law does not allow any private construction activity to be carried out in any coastal area.
News 1st’s inquiries revealed that the hotel belongs to a relative of a powerful politician in the area. A source that wished to remain anonymous revealed that the construction of the reef on the beach is being carried out by Minister Mangala Samaraweera.
Chairperson of the Dikwella PS, Krishali Muthukumarana, noted that if a certain development activity is taking place within parameters of their jurisdiction, it is essential that a Development Permit be obtained from either the Pradeshiya Saba, Urban Council, Municipal Council or the Local Government Authority, depending on the development activity that is taking place.
Speaking to News 1st a resident in the area revealed that there is a hotel being constructed by Foreign Minster Mangala Samaraweera and in order to protect the swimming pool of this hotel, the foreign minister is filling up the coast and building a road. He also added that these activities are taking place without any permission from the Coast Conservation Authority, the Pradeshiya Sabha or any other institution.
When News 1st inquired from the Coast conservation department office in Matara regarding the matter, a zonal engineer who spoke through an office telephone stated that the head office in Colombo was informed about the construction.
Director General of the Coast Conservation Department Prabhath Chandrakeerthi stated that though there was a problem with regard to the construction activities before he assumed duties, approval has now been granted for the construction.
When News 1st spoke to the Zonal engineer afterwards, he said that as the officer in charge he was not informed initially but added that he was later informed by the DG that approval was granted for the construction. He added that he had submitted the report containing his recommendations to the Head Office two months ago, noting that he expects to receive a copy of the approval in the near future.
Speaking to News 1st, Environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara noted that any development work carried out in the area could have a huge impact and that the physical impacts could include erosion, soil accumulating adding that this could also effect coral reefs in the area.
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