Chairman of Polonnaru District Development Committee Polonnaruwa district Podujana Peramuna parliamentarian Mr. Jagath Samarawickrama, Chairman of Welikanda Regional Council Mr. Nimal Adhikari and a group of farmers’ representatives went to observe the destruction being caused to Polonnaruwa Welikanda Suriyawewa Reserve. At that time, there was a heated discussion between an investor and the group.
In response to a question asked by Mr. Samarawickrama as to why the decision taken by the members of parliament and the committee including himself in the Welikanda Regional Development Committee are not being implemented, the investor stated that he is investing lakhs of rupees in this project and it can only be stopped by the decision of the National Livestock Development Board.
That elephant-human conflicts are increasing through this forest destruction which continues by cutting down huge trees including palu, veera, buruta, etc., and if this causes loss of life or property to wild elephants in the village, these investors will be fully responsible, if this project is not stopped, Mr. Jagath Samarawickrama said that he is even ready to give up his position for the sake of the people in protest.
This deforestation is taking place in a reserve near the Somavathiya Trikonamaduwa National Park, and some ministers of the government are behind this deforestation challenging the decision given to stop this deforestation in the meeting attended by a state minister and two members of public representatives and the local development committee. The participants revealed,
Agricultural representatives, including Mr. Samarawickrama and Welikanda Regional Chairman Mr. Nimal Adhikari, said that it is surprising that the State Timber Corporation, the Department of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, as well as the responsible institutions, are silent at a time when so much deforestation is taking place.