SC orders Bathiudeen to pay for reforestation


The Supreme Court on 3 June ordered former MP Rishad Bathiudeen to bear the cost of carrying out a reforestation programme at the Wilpattu forest complex in accordance to the Court of Appeal decision made in this connection. Although Bathiudeen filed an appeal against the Appellate Court decision, the Supreme Court on 3 Friday held that such appeal is not an impediment to execute the order of the Appellate Court.

The Supreme Court made the order after the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) observed that the reforestation has not taken place due to the appeal. Bathiudeen following a meeting held with the former Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Energy, Director General of Forest Conservation and his officers, arrived at a decision to release several such land for the resettlement of IDP while the Conservator General of forest, K.G Ariyadasa signed the document containing the decision.

The Conservator General of the Forest Department, was thereby directed by the Appellate Court to calculate the cost of replanting and inform Bathiudeen the details of the account to which the said sum should be paid by him within two months of the date of the judgement, following which Bathiudeen has a period of one month since notified, to make the payment thereby, there were statements made that the approximated cost amounts to Rs 200,000 per acre while the total could amount to over Rs 500 Million.

By Faadhila Thassim