Controversial road development project through Ilumbakanda forest adjacent to the Sinharaja was halted
Posted on September 18th, 2011

Disna MUDALIGE Courtesy Daily News

Arrangements are in place to take over 2,488 hectares of forest land belonging to the Land Reforms Commission adjacent to the Sinharaja world heritage rain forest site to the Forest Conservation Department, said Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa.

Addressing a media conference at the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) auditorium on Saturday, the minister said that the LRC in a letter has expressed its approval to this move recently. The minister observed that he made the initial proposal to hand over these forest lands to the FCD in a Cabinet paper when he was the plantation industries minister.

He stressed that the controversial road development project through Ilumbakanda forest adjacent to the Sinharaja was halted and he called for a comprehensive inquiry on this matter. A team comprising FCD, CEA and ministry officials have been instructed to submit a comprehensive report next week after vising this site.

The minister also noted that UNESCO had made an inquiry while several environmental organizations have sought legal assistance to stop this road project. The minister observed that certain media reports which claimed that the road was being constructed inside the Sinharaja forest boundary were wrong and baseless.

“This is an existing foot path from Suriyakanda to Pothupitiya. However if broadening and developing this road affects the biodiversity of the forest, we will not permit it. The government has no intention to carry out any development activity while harming the environment”, he said.

Ministry Secretary R H S Samaratunga, CEA Chairman Charitha Herath, and FCD Conservator General H M Hitisekera were also present.

One Response to “Controversial road development project through Ilumbakanda forest adjacent to the Sinharaja was halted”

  1. AnuD Says:

    I have heard some Sri Lankans complain about expats not coming back and not helping the country. This is a good example that politicians use their heavy hand to override professional – bureaucrats decisions. Some how, when finally, when they find that disapproval for the project is high they stop it.

    That is how everything in Sri Lanka.

    No one wants to make the system work, to implement the system. It is always the personal decisions and that is also just to help their voter base and the popularity.

    Anything is OK as long as that allows them to get the votes and to stay in power.

    If Sinharaja forest was owned by a govt who thinks, it become a fountain of money but not in Sri Lanka. Already it had been heavily exploited by foreign pharmaceutical firms. That is just one side

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