Written by Staff Writer
05 Jan, 2016 | 8:54 pm
Over the past few days News 1st revealed the extent forest destruction taking place in the areas of Bovitiyawatte , Handapanella and Manikwatte areas.
The Land Reclamation Commission (LRC) visited the area following the News 1st revelation and stated that the Department of Forest Conservation’s (DFC) failure to reclaim lands which are under the project to expand the Sinharaja Forest Reserve has led to the forest destruction.
However the DFC says that the current situation has arisen as ownership of the lands in question have not been given to the Department.
According to the LRC, the lands in question were allocated for a project aimed at expanding the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. The Commission noted that the administration task of the lands were vested with the DFC.
Pathmasiri Liyanage, the Ratnapura District Director of the LRC, stated that the DFC had not taken any steps to reclaim the lands which were demarcated under the Land Reclamation Act. Liyanage further noted that, though the ownership is with the LRC, the right of carrying out operations has been vested with the DFC. He also added that the LRC has no right to interfere in the matter as the administration is vested with another.
However, the DFC made a statement to News 1st on Monday (4 January) saying that the Department has no right on the land as it is owned by the LRC.
Some of the lands that are being stripped of its vegetation are plots which were legally leased by the LRC, while others have been encroached on illegally.
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