Organiser of the 'Wayamba Handa' Environment Organisation, Ajith Gihan said that nearly 100 acres of forest had been destroyed in Eluwankulama, Wanathavilluwa with the support of a provincial politician.
Forest clearance had been done using chainsaws over several months. The perpetrators have done this after performing rituals to invoke blessings from the deities.
Using chainsaws, ‘ Palu’ trees which were more than 200 years old had been felled and removed stealthily. Besides, ‘Weera’ and Satinwood which were about 100 years old had been felled.
The environmentalists said that there is a provincial politician behind this destruction. Several government officers are said to be helping them. As this forest is situated several kilometres away from the Wilpattu national park and with the destruction of the forests, it is inevitable that the elephants and other animals will roam into the neighbouring villages .
The environmentalists said that, according to the reports, there is a racket of selling wood to rich businessmen elsewhere.
Therefore, they request the relevant authorities to hold an immediate inquiry into this destruction.
Enquiries from the Wanathavilluwa divisional secretary Chaturaka Jayasinghe revealed that he had received information about this forest destruction and that steps were being taken to arrest the suspects concerned.
He said that it was being verified whether this forest belongs to the government or whether it was part of the 6000 acres of land given to the cement corporation in 1960.(Hiran Priyankara Jayasinghe)