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Court stays Thalangama fly over project

21 February 2022 01:29 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Court of Appeal has issued an order staying the construction of the four lane elevated highway through Thalangama Wetlands.
 
The Court of Appeal made this order pursuant to two writ petitions filed by two individuals challenging the legality of gazette notification issued permits the construction of a four lane elevated highway through an Environmental Protection Area contrary to all measures taken to preserve environment. 
 
The Court of Appeal Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna issued notices on respondents returnable for March 30.
 
In his petition, R. M. Suwandaratna, a paddy farmer who owns a about 5 acres of paddy land in the vicinity of the Thalangama Wetlands stated that the Thalangama tank facilitates irrigation of the paddy fields which is the main source of livelihood for over 175 neighbouring families including the petitioner. 
 
The Petitioner and the other farmers are traditional farmers who have cultivated paddy for years and other crops and vegetables.
 
The petitioner said Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera has issued Gazette Extraordinary which permits the construction of a fourlane elevated highway through an Environmental Protection Area contrary to all measures taken to preserve and protect such area.
 
The Petitioner further stated that Colombo has eight wetlands, namely, Diyawanna, Diyasaru, Beddagana, Kolonnawa, Heen Ela, Thalawathugoda, Madinnagoda, Mulleriyawa and Thalangama and, it was declared as South Asia’s sole wetland city during the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Dubai on 26-10-2018.
 
The Talangama Wetlands is a unique habitat rich in biodiversity having additionally a historical value to it and its surrounding area. It supports critically endangered plant species and animals.
 
The petitioner states that steps are being taken to construct an elevated highway in the vicinity of the aforesaid Thalangama Wetland EPA. 
 
The petitioner said the decision to permit an elevated four lane expressway within a specifically protected wetland has been reached without taking relevant considerations into account or by taking irrelevant considerations into 
account.
 
Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera, Central Environmental Authority, Road Development Authority, Minister of Highway Johnston Fernando, Director-General of Department of Wildlife Conservation Chandana Sooriyabandara and several others as respondents.
 
President's Counsel Saliya Pieris, M.A. Sumanthiran, counsel Pulasthi Hewamanna and Ermiza Tegal appeared for the petitioners. (Lakmal Sooriyagoda)

  Comments - 1

  • gomes Monday, 21 February 2022 03:01 PM

    well done judiciary


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