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Controversy over forest reserve for golf course

11 November 2011 07:30 pm - 11     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka’s newest golf course that is to be constructed in Soragune in the Uva Province has caused a major controversy because of claims that the golf course has been planned to be built on a reserved forest land belonging to the Soragune Devale.

Badulla District United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Harin Fernando told a news conference yesterday that the 623 acre land had been sold to a hotel owner in Bali in violation of the Buddhist Temporalities Act.

He charged that some 7,000 farmer families living on this land would lose their livelihood as a result of the project. Some 37 farmer associations and irrigation officials have protested this move. They allege that the Weli Oya project, which was built at a cost of Rs.850 million would be destroyed and the clearing of the forest will dry up the waterways as a result.

Mr. Fernando alleged that one farmer named Wickramapala had been subjected to undue influence by a prominent person in the area to hand over his land to the golf course project.


He asked what would become of the rare fauna and flora and the elephants that inhabit the forest reserve. Mr. Fernando said the move to build the golf course violated the decision made by the Wildlife Ministry which believed that forests should be reserved for elephants to survive.

Mr. Fernando said even government officials in the area were not aware of this sale and that several valuable trees including Burutha, Nilla and Nelli have already been cut down and a road being built for the project. (Yohan Perera)

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  Comments - 11

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  • Instant Karma Saturday, 12 November 2011 07:21 AM

    What the Dickens??? And what's going on in Sri Lanka??? Wake up people of Sri Lanka!! Our Wildlife is being destroyed and natural forests are being cut down by those in power and we remain silent, in tacit approval of the rape of our heritage. We will be cursed by the future generations for our silence and inaction, while those in power make hay while the sun shines!!

    Ram Perera Friday, 11 November 2011 09:23 PM

    Harin Fernando must take the issue to the Supreme Court and seek an order on the legality of the transaction. Any other person going to Court may become victims of thuggary
    Ram

    Frederick Friday, 11 November 2011 10:12 PM

    This is unbelievable.Sri Lanka is a tiny island with 20 million mouths to feed.How can it sell 623 acres of a scarce resource to a company in a place as backward as Bali better known in Australia as a place to which drugs are smuggled.. To add insult to injury it is a forest reserve,,a catchment area for water and a myriad other things needed to keep the environment in it's present state
    And who is going to play golf in Uva, no doubt the locals will get work as caddies.This has to be investigated ! And at the highest level..Immediately!

    Sammy Sunday, 13 November 2011 05:32 AM

    During colonial times there was a hue and cry that the powers were forcibly bringing in decadent western ways into our country, now we are doing that ourselves.

    Rumesh Saturday, 12 November 2011 02:20 AM

    What the point of having a golf course to entertain foreigners by destroying what belong to us.why the government cannot do anything about this?

    sltk2004 Saturday, 12 November 2011 02:58 AM

    Seems the majority of people want these things to happen, so why should we be concerned....

    Nodro Saturday, 12 November 2011 03:04 AM

    What a shame. The rape of our forests continues with the connivance of the authorities.

    Jodie Saturday, 12 November 2011 03:11 AM

    Sad that we don't consider Nature as our National Heritage any more. Many new on destruction of Nature since of late :(

    Martin Premadasa Saturday, 12 November 2011 12:34 PM

    I am a local of the area. …… The actual facts are completely different to these propagated lies……
    The whole land was legally bought by a Sri Lankan company 10 years or so ago.
    The current investor wants to preserve the existing flora / fauna and also build an Eco Golf RESORT of International standard, star rated hotels, Villas, Botanical gardens, lakes etc .
    This Resort project will create more than 4000 direct jobs in this area, enhance tourist & local holiday makers to this area, increase in multi-fold the earnings of all farmers, dairy & poultry producers, horticulturist, cottage industry and also uplift the living standards of the entire surrounding community.
    Everyone of the area welcomes this project, all children of the area are happy that they can find jobs in our area and I pray that this Investor doesn’t get discouraged by all the lies propagated and continue this project and help build our area

    ella Saturday, 12 November 2011 03:50 AM

    Why a golf course in UVa, of all the places? Why can't these rich golfers utilize the courses available elsewhere for their pleasure? It is time to ensure that no forest cover is reduced for such leisurely pleasures which are not important.

    Madhawa Saturday, 12 November 2011 02:26 PM

    Oh my god! what is happening to our country?


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