Inception meeting of Forest Vigilant Group
Army and Browns company destroys the Kandakadu forest
1. It is reported that the army has taken over about 11400 acers of land near at the Kandakaadu area which is between Somawathi national forest and Thrikonamadu natural forest. The area is spread as flood plans of the Mahavali river. The army had started to rent the lands to several companies. The army had rented 1000 acres of land to the Browns company on a 30 year rent. Also it is planned to rent 6000 acers to the Marina company.

Mahaweli Authority destroys the Mullaitivu forests


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.

Thousand acres for Chinese investments


The Mahaweli Andarawewa reserve which is situated in the Mahaweli H area is separated into sections and handed over to the private sector. This has lead towards to a possibility of human elephant conflicts. In the year of 1982 when the land was given to the public the 1050 acres of Anderawewa reserve was named as a wildlife protected area and a main elephant exchange point. However today the reserve is being destroyed.

The first step of the destruction process was started when a 48-acre land was given to construct a hotel named ‘Forest rock garden’. The land belongs to the Nochiyagama divisional secretariat.

Thousand acres of land has been identified for establishing an industrial zone in Hambanthota District, to be established under Chinese investment. The Sri Lankan government expects to obtain more land from Monaragala, Balangoda, Kalthota and Ratnapura districts for the said project. This project is implemented on a concept of Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and holds two oil purifiers, power house and a naval dockyard. Although Mattala International Airport carries the capacity of hosting about hundred thousand (100 000) air passengers per year, currently it only receives one plane. It is expected to increase this number to forty (40) planes per day, through establishing this project.

Mr. Lasantha Weerakulasuriya
Lakbima Newspaper
Translation: Centre for Environmental Justice


චීන ආයෝජනයට අක්කර 1000ක්


හම්බන්තොට දිස්ත්‍රික්කය කේන්ද්‍ර කරගනිමින් චීන ආයෝජන යටතේ ස්ථාපිත කෙරෙන කාර්මික පුරවරය සඳහා ඉඩම් අක්කර 1000 ක් හඳුනා ගැනීමේ කටයුතු මේ වන විට ආරම්භ කර ඇත. චීන ආයෝජන යටතේ ක්‍රියාත්මක මෙම කාර්මික පුරවරය සඳහා හම්බන්තොට දිස්ත්‍රික්කයට අමතරව මොණරාගල,බළන්ගොඩකල්තොට සහ රත්නපුර යන
ප්‍රදේශවලින් ඉඩම් වෙන්කර ගැනීමටද රජය අපේක්ෂා කරයි.අගමැති රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහගේ සංකල්පයකට අනුව චීන රජයේ ආයෝජන මත හම්බන්තොට කේන්ද්‍ර කරගෙන ආරම්භ වන කාර්මික පුරවරයට තෙල් පිරිපහදු දෙකක්විදුලි බලාගාරයක්නැව් අලුත්වැඩියා කිරීමේ මධ්‍යස්ථානයක් ඉදිකිරීමට යෝජිතය.
වසරකට ගුවන් මගීන් ලක්ෂ 10 කට පහසුකම් සැපයීමට ධාරිතාවක් ඇති මත්තල ජාත්‍යන්තර ගුවන් තොටු‍පොළට මේ වන විට පැමිණෙන්නේ එක් ගුවන් යානයක් වුවද නව කාර්මික පුරය ස්ථාපිත කිරීමත් සමග දිනකට ගුවන් යානා 40 ක් දක්වා එය වර්ධනය කරගැනීමටද රජය සැලසුම් කර ඇත.

ලසන්ත වීරකුලසූරිය

Inception meeting of Forest Vigilant Network. 
5. Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) has identified the necessity of introducing a new forest crime reporting mechanism to the country. Therefore, CEJ initiated a Forest Monitoring Project to bring all interested organizations and individuals together.

This is one of the activities under the Community Based REDD+ projects supported by the GEF Small Grant Facility of the UNDP in Sri Lanka. It aims to reduce forest destruction through a real time forest monitoring process with the help of Civil Society Organizations (CSO), forest communities, and other regional forest protection committees.

CEJ is honoured to invite civil societies, environmental organizations, and environmentalists to the inception 
meeting of the Forest Vigilant Network which will be held on 11th February 2016 from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM at "Savsiripaya ”Auditorium, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 07 (in front of Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute).

Inception meeting of Forest Vigilant Network was held on 11th February, 2016. Mr. Nalin Munasinghe and Mr. Ranjan Attygala from UN-REDD, PMU and Mr. E. A. P. Nishantha from Forest Department attended the meeting. There were participants from different districts including Galle, Matara, Ampara, Moneragala, Kandy, Mannar, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, and etc. Mr. Dilena Pathragoda, Managing Director of CEJ welcomed the audience with CEJ greetings and Mr. Hemantha Withanage, Executive Director of CEJ conducted the meeting. First, Mr. Ranjan Attygala from UN-REDD, PMU explained about UN-REDD and CBR+ projects to the audience and next, Mr. E. A. P. Nishantha discussed about the Forest Management Plan.

During all the presentations, audience was given a chance to ask questions and specially during the presentation of Mr. Nishantha, Ven. Balaharuve Sirisumana Thero asked about the recent Balaharuwa Land Issue. This shows that the meeting was even a flat form to discuss recent forest issues. Similarly, few forest issues from Anuradhapura, Mannar, and Nilgala were discussed throughout the meeting.

Mr. Withanage also presented his thoughts on Forest Vigilant Network and shared project goals with the audience. Later on, CEJ team introduced the hotline number, facebook page, and Sri Lanka Forest Watch website. Audience’s attention was driven to the forest website as it seems to be the Sri Lanka’s First Forest Mapping website which can be used to report forest crime.

Among the participants, there were university students representing Uwa Wellassa University, Sabaragamuwa University, Colombo University, and Moratuwa University. University students requested all the network members to give them an opportunity to work with the network as well as to conduct awareness programs in their university as the website can be used by university students.

During the meeting, participants were given a survey form and most of the participants agreed to be in the network and also to be divisional representatives.


new forest watch group in Boralanda, Nuwara Eliya  

Centre for Environmental Justice is forming new forest watch groups in villages near forest areas. As a part of that, we have formed a new forest watch group in Bulu Ela, Boralanda area. Meeting was held on 17th February, 2016

Demodara Forest Watch Group
3. Centre for Environmental Justice has formed a new forest watch group in Demodara on 15th February, 2016. There were school students and their parents who were truly interested in forming a new forest watch group. Students were also eager to share the information among their peers
Forest Watch Group in Kandapola    
4. These days, forest fire has become a famous topic in Nuwara Eliya. So, we also aim to discuss these issues with people live forest areas and we formed another forest watch group in Kandapola, Nuwara Eliya. Apart from that, people also had various issues to discuss, so in future, we look forward to organize another meeting with Forest Department to discourse their issues.    
Awareness Program in Maussagolla Maha Vidyalaya    
5. Along with forest watch group formation, we have also focused on conducting awareness programs. During our inception meeting of Forest Vigilant Network, the audience was in a unanimous approval of educating school children about the environment. Thus, as an initiation, we have conducted one awareness program in Maussagolla Maha Vidyalaya having around 100 students from different grades and their teachers. According to the principal, our program was the first awareness program in their school and students were truly happy about the program, specially the students from Environmental Club.    
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