Gazette Notification next week – Ramesh
By Thameenah Razeek
A land belonging to the Department of Forest Conservation and Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority has been selected to declare a management reserve for elephants and other wildlife in Hambantota.
The land is 23,746.55 hectares and the Gazette Notification contains the guidelines and regulations required for the purpose and will most likely be issued next week, Co-Cabinet Spokesman, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said yesterday (23).
Speaking at the weekly Media briefing at the Government Information Department, Dr. Pathirana said due to the accelerated development projects in Hambantota District, the habitats and corridors of wild elephants and other wildlife are being severely affected.
As a result, the human-elephant conflict in those areas is developing critically day by day and as a remedy to this, initial steps were taken to declare a reserve.
The joint Cabinet Paper was submitted by the Minister of Irrigation and the Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation.
Around a month ago, residents of Walsapugala Village in Hambantota staged a protest demanding a solution to the human-elephant conflict in the area. They demanded that the Government issue a Gazette Notification declaring a wild elephant reserve in Hambantota. The protest was launched by farmers representing 86 farmer organisations in the area.
When the Government failed to respond, three of the farmers decided to fast unto death. By 22 January, two of the farmers had to be hospitalised.