Written by Tharushan Fernando
21 Nov, 2015 | 10:57 pm
The Union to Protect Rainforests says that major damages have been caused to Sinharaja Rainforest as a result of the construction of a hydro power plant.
Sinharaja Forest is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka and its of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1988.
The Rainforest which is bordered by the Galle, Matara, and Ratnapura districts spans across an area of 11,187 hectares. Sinharaja is home to 50 varieties of amphibians, 40 varieties of mammals, 65 varieties of butterflies and 20 varieties of freshwater fish.
Difficulty to access this forest ensured the protection of it to a certain extent.
However, activists point out that a hydro power plants is in the stages of construction, four kilometres east to the main access in Kudawa by damming the Kosgulana River that runs through the area.
The bio-diversity in the area is at risk due to the mass deforestation taking place using backhoe loaders. A number of natural moats in the forest including waterways have been severely affected by this destruction.
The union further states that this is a violation of rules and regulations that have to be followed when carrying out construction activities in catchment areas.
When inquiries were made about the matter from the Central Environmental Authority it was revealed that the project has been granted approval by CEA in 2013.
Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority, Prof. Lal Dharmasiri stated:
Ossues surrounding the construction of a minor hydro-power plant has been reported, we see that there is a serious issue here.
This is not the issue of the river There is a major problem and you have forwarded that and it is said that there is no harm. But don’t wait until next week, go on Monday itself and produce the report before evening
He went on to note:
There are photos of that they have used backhoes. You can see it in the pictures and they have broken rocks and they are carrying out a major task here.
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