Feb 28, 2020

Man behind Wilpattu destruction revealed (Video) Featured

The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) yesterday (27) made a written request to the secretary of the Ministry of Environment, requesting to take immediate action to prevent the massive environmental disaster in the vicinity of Wilpattu buffer zone.

The CEJ has revealed that a private company engaged in Aloe Vera cultivation is clearing a 1,500 acre area in Rajanganaya, Yaya 18.
The letter, signed by the CEJ's Policy & Advocacy Campaign Officer - Janaka Withanage, also calls to suspend this project until an environmental evaluation process is carried out.

The letter states that residents of the area had informed the CEJ that a company called Aura Lanka Herbals (pvt) Ltd in Rajanganaya, Yaya 18 area has commenced a large scale project in the area, which includes a large scale Aloe Vera plantation, a factory, a research lab and an indoor sports stadium.

'Sri Lanka Mirror' learns that the project is carried out by a person named Chandika Viranjit Tambugala.

It is said that a staggering US$ 370 million investment has been poured into this project, with US$ 110 million reserved for the construction of the factory alone.

US$ 97 million and US$ 28 million have been reserved for the Aloe Vera plantation and the indoor stadium respectively.

Permission sought only for Aloe Vera plantation

The company behind this massive environmental disaster has sought permission from the Central Environmental Authority's North Central Provincial Office only for an Aloe Vera plantation, A letter seeking permission was submitted to the office on 2019 Sep. 04 under the reference number ANU/RAJ/LND/6/MISCL/1.

After a field observation, the company was given the green light for the plantation.

Noting that 1500 acres is being cleared for this project, CEJ points out that such a large scale project would definitely require an Environmental Impact Assessment Report.

Adding that similar violations of the National Environmental Act were reported on several instances in the past, the CEJ says that providing approval of such large scale enterprises sets a bad precedent.

Copies of the letter have been forwarded to several other parties including the Director General of the Central Environmental Authority, DG of the Wildlife Conservation Department, Conservator General of Forests, Director, the IGP and the Anuradhapura District Secretary.

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100 acres of Wilpattuwa cleared for Aloe Vera cultivation