Officials of the Forest Conservation Department are perturbed by the decision of a senior forest conservator to alienate a 90 perch block of land of the Udawattakele forest reserve to a leading hotel in Kandy.
The officials said the officer concerned had instructed the Divisional Secretary, Kandy Four Gravets and Gangawata Korala to proceed with the required documentation to release the block of land based on a 12-year-old cabinet decision of a previous government.
A top Cabinet Minster in the Government has shares in the hotel.
They said that the relevant gazette notification to alienate the block of land was now being drafted and that the official responsible for this land grab might have provided misinformation to the President and Environment Minister.
Forest Department officials said the senior officials of the department were planning to alienate 90perches of the Udawatta forest reserve to the businessman concerned to expand a leading tourist hotel in Kandy and that the hotel company was already occupying the land illegally.
“The Range Forest Conservator had filed action against them in the Kandy Magistrate’s Court on the charge of causing a damage of Rs.73, 885,000 to the forest reserve. In 2005 the then Tourism Minister Anura Bandaranaike submitted a cabinet paper to alienate the land to the hotel company in exchange of a block of land in another location belonging to the company. However, it was foiled by the provincial forest conservation officials and other organizations that protested against the move. It is in doubt that the court case might have been brushed under the carpet due to political interference.
The Udawattakele forest reserve which had been used as a royal park during the reign of the Kandyan kings was declared a forest reserve by the British by an extra ordinary gazette notification under the Forest Conservation Ordinance. The value of the land which is rich in bio-diversity would run into billions of rupees. However the Forest Conservator (Planning and Progress Control) has taken steps to alienate the land and instructed the Divisional Secretary to release it from the forest reserve.
Forest Conservation Officials said that the Forest Conservation Ordinance does not provide for the proposed exchange of land from the forest reserve for one belonging to the hotel company and that it would create a bad precedent creating serious consequences. They are surprised how a cabinet approval that had been laid by successive governments for 12 years could be implemented without the knowledge of the present cabinet. (Ajithlal Shanthaudaya)
Karu Thursday, 8 February 2018 09:06
Sri Lankan Politicians follow only the Jungle law.
Reply : 0 65
God Saman Thursday, 8 February 2018 09:16
Who is behind this crime in this government? I curse everyone involved in this criminal act.
Reply : 1 65
Bala Thursday, 8 February 2018 10:56
The reporter should have given an oblique reference to the Minister concerned so we can guess the person.
Reply : 0 38
Lord Wolfstein Thursday, 8 February 2018 09:25
Merciless corruption is going on
Reply : 0 56
Ram Thursday, 8 February 2018 09:50
This is a good test to see if MS would take action. If no action is taken corruption at the top is exposed
Reply : 1 50
Hubert Thursday, 8 February 2018 09:58
Immediate action to stop this nonsense Environment Engineer
Reply : 0 43
lion Thursday, 8 February 2018 09:59
stop this immediately hope the top man of the country will stop this without any delay.Heritage of this country should not be allowed to perish it has to be protected from business vultures whose only motto is to get money.
Reply : 0 34
Katie Thursday, 8 February 2018 10:07
Think that the public should protest against this land grad. The beauty of Kandy will further be lost. Enough damage has been done to Kandy by cutting down trees setting up consultations along the Peradeniya road like mushrooms, and the over crowding of population. Please somebody stop this land grad. Mr President should be informed of the actual situation prior to approval.
Reply : 1 41
Saman Thursday, 8 February 2018 10:55
Looks like newspaper delivery guy has been late today.
Reply : 1 19
indika Thursday, 8 February 2018 11:17
who is this idiot ordering like this, even if legally allowed mas has to think about the social repercussions.
Reply : 0 21
ase Thursday, 8 February 2018 11:24
If this is true why cant you publish the name of the minister ??
Reply : 1 31
Suneth Perera Thursday, 8 February 2018 11:30
This should not be allowed. Forest is the sole of this country and using it for economic gains of some corporate would be a grave crime. Perpetrators should be punished with a maximum possible way. Today the development in unsustainable scale has partly destroyed this country beyond imagination.
Reply : 0 20
viraj Thursday, 8 February 2018 12:00
well, we do not know whether the minister is behind the deal or not. There's no indication in the article that he has pushed the forest officer to do it. It can be that the owner of the hotel himself has done it. Heard that its a hotel right next to the forest reserve.
Reply : 5 11
Brainmaster Thursday, 8 February 2018 12:42
In a well governed country the name of this shareholder-minister would be published and he would have to step down. But here.... Like this we never get a clean parliament. via DM Android App
Reply : 0 22
Lawry Thursday, 8 February 2018 15:23
All these fellows going on strike against SITEM should protest over the destruction of Sri Lankan resources.
Reply : 0 13
Nimal Thursday, 8 February 2018 23:16
This forest is precious to the people of Kandy that absorb the carbon dioxide and home wild life. We should preserve every bit of it.We have heartless crooked politicians will do anything to make a quick buck. Why not open the road by the Maligawa that is causing congestion and pollution.Our dirty politicians couldn't care less for the people.
Reply : 0 5
Champika Friday, 9 February 2018 21:17
Where is the law? RTI is also functioning.Then why the exact information can.t be Published and punished to the people involved?
Reply : 0 0
Iqbal Friday, 9 February 2018 22:56
When English men left the island,our forest coverage was 80%.Our politicians have made it18%.Still not satisfied.
Reply : 0 3
Liamsi Sunday, 11 February 2018 12:14
Pl save the forest and the and keep Kandy from thease type ministers who ruining our country and it's environment. ..
Reply : 0 0
Add commentComments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.