President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said today that allowing the villagers to use their traditional farmlands uninterrupted does not mean that it was a permission given to destroy forests.
He said this participating in the ‘Gama Samaga Pilisadara” programme in Karuwalagaswewa in Puttalam District.
The President said some people had misunderstood what he said in ‘Gama Samaga Pilisadara” programmes and added that he had only instructed to allow people to cultivate traditional lands that the people had been cultivating for years.
“I talked about land issues in almost everywhere I went. What I said has been misunderstood. In some places, farmlands in boundaries to the forest department lands where the people have been cultivating for years have been earmarked by the forest department wrongly as forest lands. It can happen when lands are earmarked by using google maps. We discussed this issue and decided to allow people to cultivate these wrongly marked boundary farmlands. If people clear forest lands, it is up to the officials to stop such acts,” he said.
He said social media was prepared to spread false news and sabotage these programmes.