Written by Zulfick Farzan
09 Nov, 2020 | 6:59 pm
Colombo (News 1st); District & Divisional Secretaries have been vested with the power of using lands classified as ‘Other State Forests’ (OFSs) for economic and other productive purposes, terminating the previously issued circular.
Areas that are not declared under any enactment (Forest Conservation Ordinance, Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance or the National Heritage Wilderness Areas Act), but are nevertheless forest areas that come under the purview of the Forest Conservation Department, are called “Other State Forests”.
Other State Forests were brought under the Department of Forest Conservation in terms of the provisions of Circular No. 05/2001, so that no-one can use these lands in an arbitrary manner.,
If lands classified as Other State Forests are to be used for any economic or productive activity, it is mandatory to obtain approval from a special review committee.
Prior to the 2020 General Election, it was proposed to do away with the circular, however, those attempts foiled following serious public outcry.
However, based on the Cabinet directive on the 01st of July 2020, the Secretary to the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation Bandula Harischandra issued a new circular on the 04th of November 2020 terminating several circulars including Circular No. 05/2001.
Accordingly, the District & Divisional Secretaries will be given the power to use lands classified as Other State Forests for various activities.
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