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Feb 25, 2020

100 acres of Wilpattuwa cleared for Aloe Vera cultivation Featured

Around 100 acres of the Wilpattuwa wildlife sanctuary buffer zone has been cleared using bulldozers for the cultivation of Aloe Vera on a large scale it is revealed. 

This is said to have been done under the patronage of a private company.

This company is reported to be planning on commencing these projects island-wide with its main base in Rajanganaya, Yaya 18 in Anuradhapura.

It has also been revealed that this private company is planning on building an international stadium in the Wilpattu Wildlife sanctuary buffer zone area.

In fact, this private company had not even obtained an environmental assessment report prior to commencing the Aloe Vera project.

When contacted the Rajanganaya Divisional Secretary Sunil Abeykoon said, “This area consists of permit lands and the farmers engage in Chena cultivation in this area. However, with the assistance of this private company now these Chena farmers have started cultivating Aloe Vera. Accordingly, the farmers made a request from me and I have taken steps to notify the relevant units. These lands are located around a kilometre from the Wilpattu national park border. This private company had informed the farmers that they would construct water tanks, roads and an international stadium for them. In the Yaya 18 area over 100 acres is being prepared for the cultivation of Aloe Vera.”

Meanwhile, expressing his views on this issue Environmentalist Janaka Vithanage of the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) said, “The 100 acres already cleared for this project is a huge land space. If such a project is to be set up in the Wilpattuwa buffer zone which could have an impact on the environment, then an environmental assessment should have been done. This is similar to clearing the Wilpattuwa forest. If such a project is being done then they should have obtained an environmental assessment report. They have not obtained a licence from the Central Environmental Authority for this project. It is unclear who is doing this, under whose powers and for whose benefit this is being done. What is the purpose of an international stadium in Rajanganaya? And also what is the connection between the Aloe Vera cultivation project and an international stadium? There is definitely an underlying intention in all this. Later it won’t be the same project that initially commenced in this place. Eventually this will lead to losing the lands in the buffer zone of the Wilpattuwa forest. It is obvious that this project is being done through political clout without following proper approval procedures,” he said.

When we contacted the Wildlife Director General C. Sooriyabandara regarding this matter he said an immediate investigation would be carried out regarding this Aloe Vera project.

 

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