The Mahaweli authority had staring developing around 6000 acres of forest near the borders Kokilai sanctuary as the Mahaweli H section. Therefore, the forest is being cut down rapidly. At present the development is carried in two places. One thousand acres of forest is divided into 25 acre sections in the Pansal Kanda area which belongs to the Mullaitivu divisional secretariat. These lands which are situated south to the Kokilai lagoon have been given to various companies and people.
Another 5000 acres of forest from Halaba wewa to Kokilai lagoon are being divided using heavy machinery. Similarly, 25 acre sections a planned to be awarded to various people and companies as agricultural lands. All the cut down trees are burnt.
The entire forest section is considered to be a special catchment area. The forest is a catchment area for Aedandawala reservoir, nearby swamps of the reservoir as well as Jankapura, Valiara and Moraoya water streams which joins the Kokilai lagoon. There are also ten important archaeological sites in the area.
The current area is the habitat for elephants, bears and bison. These forests accommodate the small amount of bisons.
Until now Janakapura, Halamba wewa, Thennamwadiya, Singhepura villages did not experience any human elephant conflicts because the forests were kept intact. If the wild animals start entering the villages the Mahaweli Authority should take the blame.
It is extremely sad to witness the unlawful act of the Mahaweli Authority. These actions will have a negative on the civilians. The final outcomes will be human elephant conflicts, water scarcity and climate changes.
According to the 1993 June 24 no 772/22 gazette which was published in accordance with the revised 1980 no 47 national environmental act, any forest which is more than one hectare should undergo an environmental assessment before commencing a non-forest related project.
Therefore, we request the officials to refrain from destroying the forests. The selected land should be used for agriculture according to a plan. Otherwise it would be a severe loss for the future generation.