No clearing forest land for cultivation – Dr. Jasinghe
By Sandeep Tissaaratchy
The Ministry of Environment has launched a special programme to prevent deforestation in sensitive ecological areas after recent criticism regarding the Government’s plans to increase cultivatable land for farmers.
Secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Dr. Anil Jasinghe told a Media briefing, on 24 February, that Divisional Secretaries of the respective areas will be informed about proposed cultivatable lands which will then be assessed to ensure that they do not fall into the sensitive ecological areas category, thereby preventing such lands from being cleared.
Dr. Jasinghe added that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is focused on ensuring that the environment is protected and denied allegations that forest land was being cleared and taken for cultivation. He said a large swathe of unused land was not categorised as forest or jungles land but were owned by the State Plantations Corporation, the Department of Agriculture, the Mahaweli Development Authority and the Railway Department.
Dr. Jasinghe further said that according to the Paris Agreement, Sri Lanka hopes to increase forest cover to 30 per cent by 2025.