Water Supply and Drainage Minister Wasudewa Nanayakkara warned planters to refrain from clearing land on the boundaries of the Sinharaja range for tea cultivation.
Addressing a tree planting ceremony in the catchments of water resources in Rakwana area he said anyone would not be allowed to claim ownership to land in the Sinharaja or on its boundaries.
“The British rulers in Sri Lanka destroyed our forests and cut down Mee trees after the 1818 rebellion. I have decided to plant ten times the number of Mee trees destroyed by the British. I would personally look into the growth of trees. Anyone should not claim ownership of land in the world heritage of Sinharaja forest. I warn the planters to refrain from cultivating tea on land on the boundaries of the world heritage forest range. If they ignore it legal action would be taken against them through the police,” the minister said.
He further said Rakwana river has been running dry for the last several years due to the wanton destruction of water resources and that he was determined to prevent it. (Ajithlal Shantha Udaya and Dapane Nanayakkara)