Gov. has not approved development within reserves – Min. Kabir Hashim

Gov. has not approved development within reserves – Min. Kabir Hashim

Reporting by Staff Writer Written by Staff Writer

28 Jul, 2018 | 7:40 pm

Colombo (News 1st) – Kabir Hashim, the Minister of Highways & Road Development commented on the issues surrounding the Knuckles Mountain Range after an event in Kegalle today (28 July).

He stated that he is not aware of any cabinet paper regarding the Knuckles Mountain Range being produced before the parliament. He stated that a cabinet paper was produced to restructure the loss-making state plantations to proceed as Public-Private Partnerships which was for local investors to commence projects, but noted that it never sought approval for projects in the Knuckles reserve. The Minister noted that they would never provide approvals for such projects as well.

In order to state with certainty that approvals have not been granted to local or foreign investors to engage in development activities in the forest reserve, one must have a thorough understanding of the boundaries of the said reserve. Therefore News1st spoke to officials of the Forest Department.

A letter was addressed to the Department on the 22nd of June, were received a response on the 24th of July. In its response, the Department stated that the respective units have failed to provide the required information and sought more time to respond to our queries.

The logic of the Minister confirming that the area within the forest reserve will not be given for investors is questionable when the Forest Department itself does not know the boundaries under them!

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