Issues will be resolved expeditiously – Devananda
By Naalir Jamaldeen
Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda, said on Monday (18), the issues that have arisen during the implementation of the Negombo Lagoon Project will be resolved as soon as possible. Minister Devananda addressed these issues, which were recently discussed at the Fisheries Ministry under his patronage, as well as Wildlife Protection, Adoption of Safety Measures, including the Construction of Electrical Fences and Trenches, and Reforestation and Forest Resource Development State Minister Wimalaweera Dissanayake.
Devananda said the development of Negombo Lagoon had been hampered after the fisheries societies in the area and people living in close proximity to the lagoon requested that the mangrove uncultivated land be kept as a playground. The development of Negombo Lagoon and the surrounding areas, in particular, had come to a halt after news circulated on social media recently that damage was being caused to the mangrove forest in the vicinity of Negombo Lagoon, which is considered a sensitive ecological zone to the sea.
The problem was exacerbated after the fisheries societies and residents made a request to the Ministry for a playground to develop the physical fitness and sports skills of children and youth in the area, according to Minister Devananda. Minister Devananda also stated that the Chief Engineer in charge of the project informed him that the mangrove ecosystem is stretched in the areas that have been gazetted as Negombo Lagoon, and that no development works or other recreation facilities can be developed there without the permission of the Department of Forest Conservation. State Minister Wimalaweera Dissanayake stated during the discussion that the destruction of mangrove forests would have a severe impact on the marine ecosystem.
A Gazette Notification has brought the mangrove forest near Negombo Lagoon under the purview of the Department of Forest Conservation. This environment cannot be used for anything else. Aside from that, if there are any possibilities, attention will be focused on providing them. The Negombo Lagoon development work should be completed as soon as possible, and steps will be taken to resolve the current issues by conducting an on-site study with the relevant parties in order to continue the lagoon development works uninterruptedly, Minister Devananda added.