Ashu Marasinghe, Upul Jayasuriya support Veli Oya jungle destruction!

MP Prof. Ashu Marasinghe and BOI chairman Upul Jayasuriya are planning to grant approval for a golf course and hotel project that will come up near Veli Oya, destroying its catchment areas, says the land and Agricultural Reform Movement. Activist of the Movement Sajeewa Chamikara says the project will also displace 3,000 farming families.


 
The Rs. 850 million Veli Oya irrigation project enabled the cultivation of land in both the Yala and Maha seasons. The ‘Eco Golf Resort’ is to come up in a 628 acre land in a temporalities land of Soragune Devale. It will destroy jungles at Dadayampalagama, Ranwan Guhawa in Haldummulla.
 
It is to be carried out by Alpha and Omega Developers (Pvt.) Ltd. The area, located north of Udawalawe national park, is a habitat of wild elephants.
 
The jungle land there had been fraudulently handed over to various persons by the father of S.M. Janaka Ravindra Kalupahana, Basnayake Nilame of Kuda Kataragama Devale at Soragune. It was from one such person that the investor for the project, US resident Vasu Rasiah, had obtained the land.
 
During the previous regime, Udith Lokubandara had supported the project. After the present government took office, Rasaiah tried to get minister Harim Fernando’s support for the project. Certain top officials of Haldummulla area are already supporting it.
 
The Movement says it is sad to note the support being given to the project by BOI chairman Jayasuriya. To build and run a gold course in the dry zone, large amounts of water, urea fertilizer as well as pesticide are needed as the ground will be prone to insect attacks. Also, chemicals with aluminum are needed to prevent soil erosion. Such a high level of chemical use will mean the reservoirs irrigated by Veli Oya will be contaminated. The project will not only pollute the available water, but also create an acute water shortage.
 
The Movement urges the CEA and the environment ministry to make an immediate intervention.
 
Ashika Brahmana

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