The government is going to handover 2.3656 hectares from Katumana Kele forest, which adjoins Sita Eliya reserve in Nuwara Eliya, for a housing project, says the Centre for Environment and Nature Studies. The land is partly owned by the Survey Department.
Located 5,000 metres above sea level, this is an environmentally-sensitive area and its boundaries as per plan 2760 are Bakers Farm from the north and the west and Nesby Estate from the south and the west. This area is prone to earth slips and any construction activities there is a violation of the laws.
Dr. Ravindra Kariyawasam of the Centre says parts of the Sita Eliya reserve have been cleared, and given on lease, for crop cultivation or the construction of houses and hotels.
The area is home to flora and fauna species endemic to Sri Lanka too. The clearing of the forest has resulted in Glen Falls having run dry while a similar fate awaits Lovers Leap Falls.
Approving the location of a housing project in such an area is shameful and a misleading of the public while talking about environmental protection, he adds.