Wildlife Minister Halts Giritale Deforestation
By Eunice Ruth
Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation C.B. Rathnayake has ordered for an immediate report on the deforestation which has taken place at Elahara, in the Giritale Sanctuary.
An official from the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Polonnaruwa said that Rathnayake had visited the Sanctuary at night on 29 September and after inspecting the destruction of land, he ordered that the illegal activities be stopped immediately. He ordered a special investigation to be conducted to identify those behind this illegal activity.
Meanwhile, the official pointed out the perpetrators had started clearing small areas of the land over the last few days. They had cleared more than 200 acres as it is. This illegal activity was done by a group of people using huge machines within the Sanctuary.
Severe action will be taken against persons who destroy sanctuaries and natural reserves and in order to prevent this from happening, the Department will instruct the authorities to formulate strict rules and establish a proper system of protection targeting sanctuaries and reserves, he added.