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Sunday, 13 May 2012

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Stringent steps to protect forest reserves

The Department of Forest Conservation has expedited the collection of data for the land acquisition process from the adjoining areas of the Knuckles Forest Reserve in the Kandy district, a spokesperson for the Environment Ministry said.

A team of forest officers from the Kandy regional office is currently conducting investigations in areas such as Ududumbara, Medadumbara and Pannila where the Knuckles Forest range spreads. This is to inspect the state of the lands to be acquired where the landowners have been informed earlier and to investigate whether any lands remain adjoining the forest that need to be declared part of the reserve due to the sensitive environment.

"Our officers will check if there are lands which need protection in the World Heritage Site, but had been left out due to the lack of information provided by the public. Considering the environmental sensitivity of such lands, they may be considered for acquisition by the Ministry," the spokesperson for the Ministry said.

According to him, compensation for land acquisitions would be made based on the state of the land at the time the ministry informed the owners in writing. Any new developments on such land will not be considered.

The Ministry took steps last week to declare 17 forests as reserves in Mannar, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura and Colombo districts. Accordingly, forests in Mullikulam, Periyamurippu, Vilattikulam of the Mannar District, Alaweduwan, Pudukuduirippu, Mankulam, Thunukkai in Mullaitivu district, Panikandamadu, Kodikodunthuvil, Maduwilnadu, Punnaweli in Kilinochchi district, Kalegama, Borawewa, Ratmale in the Polonnaruwa district, Panburugashinna in Trincomalee district, Wellaragama in Anuradhapura district and Indikada in Colombo district will be declared as reserves by the Ministry of Environment.

 

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