Deforestation near Sinharaja: Now government said no approval given to remove trees

Mahinda Amaraweera

The government had decided to take over 1,500 acres adjoining Sinharaja forest, including a seven-acre land which had been the centre of controversy in recent days, Minister of Environment, Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday.

Minister Amaraweera said that there were 135 families living in that area and they would be relocated.

“There has been a controversy over a seven-acre land where construction work is on. A large number of trees too have been removed. The owners have presented a deed but we are now trying to find out if this is an authentic deed or not.”

The minister said that neither the Central Environment Authority nor the Ratnapura District Secretariat had authorized the removal of trees from the site. “Given that the Divisional Secretary and the Grama Niladari are at fault for not doing their duty. If valuable trees have been removed and environmental laws violated, I will take personal responsibility to ensure that justice is done.”

(Source: The Island)