Written by Staff Writer
08 Dec, 2015 | 7:16 pm
The expenditure heads of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment and Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management were debated in Parliament on Monday.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen speaking in the parliament said:
It is said that there were issues when resettling Muslims in Mannar. They show their lands in the respective Grama Seva Divisions. When it is looked into as to whom the lands actually belong to, this is what was understood. Back then , under Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, 6042 hectares of land for the displaced persons were taken over by the Department of Wildlife Conservation on the night of October 12th 2012.’
He also noted that in addition to that, around 2000 hectares in Mannar and Vavuniya were vested with the Department of Wildlife Conservation, through a gazette.
Speaking further, the Minister noted ‘
When the lands of the people are being reclaimed they need to be informed and their objections need to be taken in to consideration. How this was done when these people were housed in the displaced camps? A forest named as ”Karadkulimarichchikattu” has been declared. Many hectares of land have been taken over by the government and security Fforces. Bimal Rathnayake has also commented on this based on what environmentalists have said. They are not environmentalists, they are racists and nationalists. When I stepped away from the Government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, many things happened against me. I did not give any plot of land to the Muslims in the North in an illegal manner …”
Meanwhile, Minister of Disaster Management Anura Priyadarshana Yapa pointed out that forest reserves were declared based on the marking on the maps of the Department of Forest Conservation, adding that the statement made was wrong.
JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake too commenting on this matter said that when justice is being meted out to those who have been treated in an unjust manner, the truth is that environmental destruction is taking place beyond the limits of justification.
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