Aug 19, 2020

Road through Sinharaja built over public request - Ministry Featured

Environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara urges that construction of a road through the Sinharaja Forest Reserve should be halted immediately.

This road which connects Neluwa and Deniyaya, is being constructed through the Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest and the Gin Ganga Reserve.

The road which will be 12-20 feet wide, also raises the risk of landslides within the area.

Mr. Chamikara further spoke on this as follows : 

Residents' request!

Meanwhile, in a media release, the ministry of Highways says that the 18-km road is being constructed at the request of the residents to develop this road.

However, it adds that the President has instructed the ministry of Wildlife that development of this road should not be done in a manner which harms the environment.

Accordingly, no construction is done nor will be done in the future within the 1.1km area located in the eco-sensitive zone, the media release further adds.

The relevant media release in Sinhala is shown below :

ministry of highway letter

Whose hotel?

Meanwhile, Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Propaganda Secretary - Pubudu Jagoda has questioned whose hotel it is to be built by constructing this road, deploying Army soldiers.

"Why is a road several feet wide being cut through one of the most precious areas of the Sinharaja reserve when there are already several well-developed roads between Neluwa and Deniyaya? For the people to go? Then why is it being built using the Army, with no involvement of the Road Development Authority (RDA), even denying access to public representatives and environmental organisations? If the Army is deployed for everything, why not dissolve the RDA?," he added.

Global petition

Meanwhile, a global petition has been initiated to stop this destructive measure which is underway with the involvement of the military.

Environmentalist and National Coordinator of Centre for Environmental and Nature Studies (CENS) - Ravindra Kariyawasam urges all Sri Lankans to sign the petition, initiated by the Avaaz group.

Complaint to UNESCO

CENS has also complained to UNESCO about the present plight of the Sinharaja reserve.

The Sinharaja Forest was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.

The construction of the aforementioned road initially kicked off in 2013 but was halted on the intervention of UNESCO.