No settlements within demarcated forest boundaries
The Forest Conservation Department has completed survey and
demarcation of 17,279 kilometres of forest boundaries for the last eight
years and the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry on Tuesday
announced that it will not allow new settlements to take place inside
its demarcated boundaries under any circumstances. Environment and
Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka said, we have decided not
to allow anybody to set up new homes inside those forest boundaries
demarcated by the ministry's Forest Conservation Department to ensure
the sustainability of the country's forest. However, Minister Ranawaka
said , they will not move those farmer communities that were found to
have been living in those forests at the time the Forest Department and
survey contractors demarcated the land.
He also said ,"no one will be allowed to take sand, rubble or any
such items from the forest."
The Environment and Natural Resources Ministry has demarcated the
forest boundaries under its Forest Resources Management Project in
keeping with the Forest Sector Master Plan (1995). The Government has
received a credit of 25.2 million US dollars from Asian Development
Bank, and spent US 10.9 million dollars from its own funds and Project
beneficiaries have provided US 2.6 million dollars for the project.
The project was implemented countrywide except in the Northern and
Eastern Provinces due to security reasons, said Ranawaka.