Controversial land doesn’t fall within Sinharaja area ; Amaraweera

Controversial land doesn’t fall within Sinharaja area ; Amaraweera

Written by Zulfick Farzan

24 Mar, 2021 | 1:44 pm

Colombo (News 1st); The controversial land in Sinharaja does not fall inside the 12,000 acres of the Rainforest or the 36,000 acres extended forest cover, said Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.

The Minister told Parliament on Wednesday (24), that he expects a report from the relevant authorities on the matter by Thursday (25).

“Permission from the Pradeshiya Sabha was obtained by the owners for the construction of three houses in a six-acre plot of land,” he said adding there is no report about the felling of trees in the land in question.

The owners who claim it is private property have produced documents dating back to around 40 years, however, those documents will be re-checked with the land registry, said the Minister.

Further, the ministry is looking at taking over this land which is termed as private property as well as several other areas, to increase the forest area of the Sinharaja Rainforest, said the Environment Minister adding there is NO state intervention over the matter.

However, MP Buddhika Pathirana from the opposition pointed out that trees cannot be cut down even in a private property located close to forest reservations.

The Minister went on to note that permission must be obtained from the government for constructions related to industries and hotels, adding no permission was granted for the construction which led to controversy.

MP Buddhika Pathirana again noted there was never a discussion in recent decades for the construction of agrarian tanks inside the Sinharaja Rainforest, adding it was only suggested to construct tanks outside of the rainforest area.

Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said he made a comment on the agrarian tanks in Sinharaja in response to question posed by the people, and he did not make a clarification at the time.

He said there are many weaknesses concerning the Irrigation Act of Sri Lanka and they were identified, adding amendments were directed to the Attorney General and a more strong Irrigation Act will be presented.

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