Committee to manage Hanthana Protection Area
A committee is appointed to manage the activities in Hanthana
Environmental Protection Area, said Central Environment Authority
Central Province Senior Environmental Officer Chandana Seneviratne to
the Daily News.
The Hanthana Range was gazetted as an Environmental Protection Area
on February 17, 2010 under the National Environment Act.
"To inspect the activities going on in this area and to manage them a
13 member committee has been appointed. We are now in the process of
making a set of guidelines to the committee. Once this is completed we
hope to make a management plan for the area. The conservation of natural
habitats in the area will be given prominence through it" he said.
According to the gazette Hanthana Range is divided into three zones
based on the height. Those are 'higher than 3000 ft, in between 2500 ft
to 3000 ft and below 2500 ft'.
"We hope to maintain the zone higher than 3000 ft as a forest cover.
There is no restriction on maintaining the existing cultivations such as
pepper and tea in this zone through the gazette. But new cultivations
will not be allowed within this zone. People live and in small villages
within the 2500ft to 3000ft zone,. In this zone cultivations only for
their consumption are permitted, but cultivations for commercial
purposes are not permitted. Even industries cannot be established in
this zone", he explained.
He noted that within the zone below 2500 ft the approval of the
Committee should be obtained before any construction or cultivation.
Once this approval is obtained then an Environmental Impact Assessment
should be done as the next step.