Date fixed for petition against Wilpattu destruction fixed for June 28th

Date fixed for petition against Wilpattu destruction fixed for June 28th

Written by Staff Writer

22 Mar, 2019 | 10:52 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Many News 1st viewers, whose feedback is much expected and appreciated, have asked News 1st why we haven’t reported on the Wilpattu issue as yet. However, we reported on the issue starting from 2015, way before the issue was spoken off on social media. There are several updates on the issue.

The petition filed against the destruction caused to the Wilpattu Forest Reserve with the Court of Appeal will be taken up from June 28th.

A petition was filed against the clearing of land in the Wilaththikulam area of the Forest Reserve by Nagananda Kodithuwakku and Journalist Malinda Seneviratne. People were being resettled in that area.

Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and Director of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Land Commissioner General and the Attorney General among others were named as respondents in the petition.

Counsel for Nagananda Kodithuwakku informed the court that various groups were clearing lands adjacent to the Wilpattu Forest Reserve and if it continues, the Wilpattu Forest Reserve will be at serious risk. The Court of Appeal considered these facts and decided to take up the petition for hearing.

Minister Rishad Bathiudeen making a statement in parliament today (March 22) clarified why the issue surrounding the Wilpathu Forest reserve has resurfaced.

He noted that it all started when he (Bathiudeen) questioned about a project in Aruwakkalu which will span across 170 Kilometres with an allocation of Rs. 7900 million. He alleged the locals in the respective areas have not even been given a proper explanation over this project.

Meanwhile, today a protest was held in the Puttalam town area when the President of the country was due to arrive in the town to declare open several development projects. The demonstration was organized against the proposed Aruwakkalu Sanitary Landfill Project.

During the President’s visit to Puttlam today, issues surrounding Aruwakkalu Sanitary Landfill Project were to be discussed. However, a group claiming they wanted to meet the President, voiced their objection which resulted in police taking measures to disperse them.

Police spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekera speaking to News 1st clarified the reasons the police took measures to disperse the protestors. He noted that during the time of the protest many VIP’s including the President were attending a number of ceremonies to declare open projects in the area.

He added that there was also a court order that was obtained from the Puttalam Magistrates court imposing certain conditions on the protesters, but he added that the protesters disregarded the court order and acted in an unruly manner, and blocked main roads in the area.

SP Gunasekara said as the protesters were acting in defiance of the court order and considering the safety of the general public, and the VIP’s and also the disruption of the flow of traffic in the area the police took legal steps to disperse the protesters and arrested two in the process.

He noted that they will be investigating as to who organized such a protest in this area on a day when a number of events of this nature were to be held in the very same location. The spokesperson noted that they (protestors) staged this protest in defiance of a court order that was issued, therefore, they had to take legal measures to disperse these protesters.

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