Coalition to Protect Our National Heritage said if former Minister Wimal Weerawansa was remanded for misusing state vehicles, politicians and government servants who were behind the deforestation of the Wilpattu National Park should also be brought before the FCID and CID.
Environmental activist Nayanaka Ranwella said the devastators of the environment should have been in prison for causing an irreparable loss to the environment and added that they were urging the government to implement the law against the culprits.
“While Wimal Weerawansa was arrested for misusing state vehicles, politicians and government servants who destroyed Wilpattu National Park are at large. We can buy vehicles but we cannot repair the destruction caused to the environment,” he said.
He told a news conference that more than 3, 400 acres of the Wilpattu Forest Reserve had been destroyed and that the deforestation was continuing under the present government as well.
He urged the President as the Environmental Minister to mediate in resolving the issue as it would endanger the rare “Villu” eco-systems.
Environmental Activist Sajeewa Chamikara said people from other areas were being settled in Wilpattu Forest Reserve for political advantage claiming that it was resettlement.
“It is not resettlement which is happening in these areas. People from other areas are brought to these deforested areas on political requirements. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen is trying to justify his taking over of the forested areas,” he said.
He said 280 acres of forested land was taken over by Minister Bathiudeen and Basil Rajapaksa by forcing the Forest Department to release the land during the previous government and added that over 1, 700 acres had been cleared illegally so far.
“The Forest Department officials were helpless as they were unable to take action against them,” he said.