Wilpattu crisis: Mass destruction of Kallaru forest land

Wilpattu crisis: Mass destruction of Kallaru forest land

Wilpattu crisis: Mass destruction of Kallaru forest land

Written by Staff Writer

28 Jun, 2015 | 9:06 pm

Former Minister of Resettlement Gunaratne Weerakoon claims that he was unaware of people being resettled at the Kallaru Reserve bordering Wilpattu, during his tenure as the subject minister.

Although constructions were carried out by clearing this area of the reserve,with the intervention of Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen, this seems to continue.

This is a News1st expose compiled following a tour conducted by air.

The Kal Aru forest, or the Marichchukaddai – Karadikkuli Wildlife Reserve located north of the Wilpattu National Park, is considered a forest eco-system which is of much significance to Wilpattu.

Due to the land and reclamation that has been taking place since 2010, nearly 3000 acres of land in this eco system is destroyed.

The destruction caused, could be seen by air.

Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen who constantly stood firm on the belief that this is not harmful to the environment and that it is not illegal, made such a statement recently.

However survey plans which were declared in 1938 is a testament that the statement made by the Minister is false.

According to these survey plans, resettlement in this area commenced in 2010.

Since then, the carnage that has befallen on this reserve took a new turn in 2013 with the intervention of Minister Bathiyutheen.

That is through this letter issued by the Department of Wildlife on February 14, 2013.

According to this letter, a land area of 1080 acres in the Mannar District belonging to the Department of Wildlife was released to resettle those displaced.

What is alarming is the fact that Gunaratne Weerakoon, who was the Minister of Resettlement during the time frame these lands were said to have been released by the Department of Wildlife, claims that he was unaware of this.

After revelations made on the destruction caused, the President ordered that it be stopped immediately.

The President ordered the Ministry of Environment that the matter be examined and a report by submitted to him.

Today News1st inspected as to how deforestation of Kallaru forest area continues despite the orders of the President. News1st correspondent Nuranga Samarasinghe who went to the area on Sunday, was met by an organised group of people.

Should measures not be taken into such acts which harm the environment that are carried out devoid of the law, defying orders and obstructing the media?

Is it not disappointing the extent politicians go to, just to be in power, by destroying the gifts of mother nature which have been providing us for thousands of years?

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