Destruction of UNESCO World Heritage Sinharaja MAB  Forest Reserve  .
Posted on January 12th, 2019

Keerthi Hewagoda 

Hereby we complain regarding the ongoing destruction in Sinharaja,  which is the last remanent virgin rain forest in Sri Lanka. With its high bio-diversity having a unique evolutionary history from the Gondwana assembly, particular bio-geographic features and with anthropological heritage; the Sinharaja offers  immense  scientific and cultural treasure for humanity. But the recent infrastructure development works and failure of Sri Lankan Government to manage the forest, posses  great threat to the entire Sinharaja eco-system, and  affect  the human population who directly or indirectly dependent on forest.

Continue plea by the environmentalists and public has been neglected  either by politicians or by government officers. The Commercialisation of Sinharaja under pretext of development is a master plan for ruthless exploitation of forest resources ranging from drinkable water to endemic genes. it is well known that the various nexus with interest of commercial profit are sponsoring the  projects like; Mini-Hydro electricity plants, bottled water plants, Eco tourist constructions and once also proposed a Genetic research laboratory inside the forest .

Jungle track from Pitadeniya to Sinhagala

A large section of Sinharaja was selectively logged in 1972- 1977 and now covered with secondary forest  highly degraded . Instead of good conservation policy of restoration and rehabilitation of this degraded forest, the Sri Lankan Government backed by the World Bank (ESCAMP project) has been involved in constructing of road infrastructures for commercial interests. The jungle trail from Potupitiya to Sinhagala ridge is not even a regular foot path but a jungle track which occationally used by the villagers. So constructing a tourist road will damage undisturbed statues of the primary Rain forest. I have explored this remote jungle section with a village tracker in December 2010

We propose that,

  • Halt immediately the ongoing illegal road constructions inside the Sinharaja forest.
  • Stop the World Bank and Government commercialisation of sinharaja forest.
  • Annex the surrounding forest fragments as proposed by the president orders cabinet paper No: PS/CS/26/2004 ( dated 22 July 2004), National Conservation Review (NCR), Sinharaja management plans and Execute the proper Forest Restoration programme in degraded forest areas and conserve the entire Sinharaja Range as a unit.

We have complained the international organisations UNESCO, WWF, IUCN, CAO in various occasions in past  and  will continue to give evidence of these unethical and ecologically destructive activities inside the Sinharaja forest while doing our utmost best to protect it . Under above circumstances, We are kindly requesting you to look into this matter and make preasure to stop the destruction of Sinharaja Rain Forest. Please find enclosed herewith photographic  evidence.

1 :-  The map of ESCAMP project plan with ongoing road construction between Kudawa and Pitadeniya conservation centers according to ESCAMP/FD/RATHNAPURA/SINHARAJA/3a-01 published by Forest Department

2:- The map of the Forest area selectively logged during the years 1972- 1977

Hereby I bear the responsibility of this complaint with truthfulness, rationalism and knowledge. Thank You.

Keerthi Hewagoda                                                                                                     Date 11.01.2019

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