Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith together with Venerable Pahiyangala Ananda Thera today expressed his displeasure over the alleged move to set up a tourism zone in Muthurajawala Park which is said to comprise a golf court and crocodile park.
The Cardinal told a press conference that a private company had fraudulently taken over the park which is situated in the conserved land and put up sign boards that claiming the land to be a private land. Also he said almost 700 acres have been filled already.
“I request the people in the area to go and remove the sign boards. The land belonged to Department of Forestry earlier and the sign board of the department has been removed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Venerable Pahiyangala Ananda thera said the project had actually begun two years ago.
“The land is being currently filled in the guise of disposing of solid waste. Solid waste from Colombo Municipal Council is also being dumped into this land,” the venerable thera said.
It was revealed that there are 78 species of fish,14 species of reptiles and 83 bird species living in the Muthuragawala wetlands will be destroyed if the project goes ahead.
Also it was highlighted that the filling of the wetland will have a negative effect to Dandugama oya which is connected to Negombo lagoon.
“Wet land is actually a breeding grounds for fish which ends up at the Negombo lagoon. Accordingly those who are engaged in fishing in the lagoon will also lose their livelihood,” The Cardinal and the thera said.
It was also highlighted that the filling of the wetland actually began in 1991 but was later halted as people in the area including the clergy protested against it. (Yohan Perera )