Centre for Environmental Justice speaks against deforesting the Rambaken Oya Forest Reserve.

Centre for Environmental Justice speaks against deforesting the Rambaken Oya Forest Reserve.

Centre for Environmental Justice speaks against deforesting the Rambaken Oya Forest Reserve.

Written by Tharusha Kumarasinghe

22 Feb, 2021 | 10:24 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st): The Centre for Environmental Justice points out that deforesting the Rambaken Oya Forest Reserve is illegal.

Despite, its illegal nature, several large scale companies have already commenced cultivation activities in the forest reserve.

Cabinet approval had been granted to lease 2,750 acres of land belonging to the Rambaken Oya forest reserve for maize cultivation.

According to the Cabinet decision, such land leased to investors will fall under the Mahaweli Authority’s purview and will not belong to any identified forest reserves.

The cabinet paper submitted by the minister of irrigation adds that such land will first be leased for one year.

Depending on the progress of the plan, such land will be given to the respective investors on a long term lease programme.

However, this footage reveals how land belonging to the Rambaken Oya had been cleared by large scale companies for cultivation activities, even before cabinet approval was granted.

Clearing land at the southern boundary of the Rambaken Oya forest reserve commenced in December last year, prompting locals to stage protests against such illegal activities.

This is a land that belongs to the Rambaken Oya forest reserve on which cultivation has already commenced.

The deforestation that had taken place at the forest reserve, disregarding the protests staged by locals, has destroyed several natural water resources.

The land cleared off for cultivation are areas where dears, elephants and other animals source food. They have cleared hundreds of acres of land. Certain factions have encroached on forest reserves and commenced cultivation.

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