By Ifham Nizam
Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) Spokesman Sajeewa Chamikara says the government has caused grave environmental degradation by allowing racketeers to extract granite, soil and sand with hardly any control
Some government ministers had also advised officials to turn a blind eye to environmental destruction caused by ‘development projects’, he alleged.
Chamikara alleged that Mahaweli Development and Agriculture Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, had at the Hambantota District Co-ordination meeting on Monday, asked officials not to interfere when natural resources, particularly soil and granite were exploited.
More than 25,000 acres had been cleared in the Hambantota District, he said adding that it was the major cause for the Human-Elephant conflict increasing in the vicinity. “When soil is taken out from forests that would ultimately end up in more and more Human-Elephant conflicts.”.
Chamikara said the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government first and foremost should protect the forests in the country. Mere promises to plant trees would do, he added.