Residents complain of deforestation on proposed elephant reserve in Hambantota

Residents complain of deforestation on proposed elephant reserve in Hambantota

Residents complain of deforestation on proposed elephant reserve in Hambantota

Written by Staff Writer

11 Sep, 2020 | 8:53 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Individuals engaged in farming in the Proposed Wild Elephant Management Reserve in Hambantota have showed reluctance in moving out, area residents say.

“People who are outsiders to the Eppawala village are clearing the land and engaging in farming,” an area resident said adding that villagers are not allowed to use the land.

The Hambantota District Coordination Committee had decided that farmers who have been cultivating on plots of state-owned lands for several years should be given ownership.

However, a banana cultivation in the Walawwa area that had been taking place on a land owned by the Mahaweli Authority had been cleared recently to hand over the land to a foreign investor.

A farmer, who said he had arrived from overseas due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had cultivated bananas across 200 acres of the land.

“We will be receiving foreign investment soon,” an officer attached to the Mahaweli Authority said. “When this land is acquired, what are we to tell the investors?.

Against such a backdrop, those involved in farming are adamant that they would move out only when the area is officially declared as an investment zone.

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