Environmentalists and representatives of local farmers’ organizations claim a group of 30 persons are using bulldozers to flatten the forest cover and areas of archeological value in the reserves of Thoppigala,Uthuchenai and Vadamunai.
‘Lankadeepa’ reports that around 1,500-acre area in these three reserves has been destroyed by them.
Noting that the group has been clearing the land day and night under the guise of starting paddy farms, the group has also been making firearms to kill animals for a wild meat racket, while felling many huge, valuable trees.
Residents have stated that wild animals including elephants have started to enter villages as a result of this.
They also say that many areas of archeological value have also been destroyed.
Noting that these racketeers are under the protection of certain politicians representing the districts of Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa, residents have also alleged that their complaints and pleas to the Forest Department, Divisional Secretariats have fallen on deaf ears.
Speaking to ‘Lankadeepa’, Residential Business Manager of Mahaweli B Zone – Mr. Sugath Weerasinghe has said that these lands did not fall under the Mahaweli areas but are under the purview of the Welikanda and Kiran Divisional Secretariats.
He has added that measures will be taken to look into the matter.
However, Welikanda Divisional Secretary – Ms. H. Nisha has said that the lands being destroyed did not fall under her secretariat.