Connect with us

news

Cost of restoration of Kallaru Forest Reserve Rs. 1.07 billion

Published

on

Bathiudeen to appeal against court decision

By Ifham Nizam and Rathindra Kuruwita

The Forest Conservator General has estimated the cost of restoring a section of the Kallaru Forest Reserve, which suffered extensive damage due to the establishment of a village, at Rs. 1.07 billion. The Court Appeal has ordered that SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen, responsible for clearing part of the forest reserve bear the total cost of the reforestation programme.

Sources close to Bathiudeen said he would file an appeal against the Appeal Court decision in the Supreme Court in the coming days.

Commenting on the estimate, Attorney-at-Law Ravindranath Dabare, who filed the petition in 2015 challenging the destruction of a section of the forest reserve said that they were ready to accept the calculation if the Forest Conservation Department felt it could replant the cleared forest area with that estimated sum.

“It’s the responsibility of the Forest Conservation Department to replant the cleared area. Last year, the Court of Appeal ruled that a “vast extent of the reserve forest has been cleared and used for the resettlement of IDPs, in breach of the provisions of the Forest Conservation Ordinance”.

The court also ordered the Conservator General, Department of Forest Conservation to take action against the illegal removal of the forest cover and illegal re-settlement of IDPs.

Dabare also said that Bathiudeen had the right to appeal but they were ready to go on fighting until those who destroyed a section of the forest were made to pay for what they had done.

The Forest Conservator General was then ordered to calculate the costs of the tree planting programme and inform Bathiudeen of the expenses within two- months after delivering the judgment. Bathiudeen has to pay the sum calculated by the Conservator General within one month after he is informed. Bathiudeen has to bear the full cost of the tree planting programme under the polluter pays principle since according to the evidence before Court he was instrumental in using the reserve forest land for the resettlement of the IDPs.

The judgment was delivered by the Court of Appeal two-judge bench comprising Justices Janak de Silva and Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne.

The petition filed by the Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ) said that around 1500 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs’) families had been illegally settled in Kallaru sanctuary area in violation of the Forest Conservation Ordinance.

Delivering the order the two Justices said that Section 7 of the Forest Conservation Ordinance (as amended by Act No. 65 of 2009) prohibited fresh clearing, clearing or breaking up any land for cultivation or any other purpose, erection of any building whether permanent or temporary or occupation of such building and constructing any road in a reserve forest.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

news

Geneva HR vote:

Published

on

UK, Canada seek to influence member states against Lanka

The Sri Lanka Core group members, Canada and the UK, are campaigning hard to muster support for their resolution against Sri Lanka at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council. Sri Lanka Core group consists of Canada, Germany, the UK, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Malawi.

Canada High Commissioner David McKinnon met the Bangladesh High Commissioner Tareq Ariful Islam, at the Canada House, Colombo 07.

Sources said that meetings between diplomats of those countries were rare. Bangladesh is a member o the f UNHRC. The meeting at the Canada House took place close on the heels of the UK HC Sarah Hulton meeting South Korean Ambassador Woonjin Jeong. South Korea is also a member of the UNHRC.

The 47-member UNHRC is divided into five groups on regional basis. The Asia-Pacific Group consists of Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Marshall Islands, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Uzbekistan; Western Europe and Other States consists of Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and UK; Eastern European States consists of Armenia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine; Latin American and Caribbean States group consists of Argentina, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela and African States group consists of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Gabon, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Togo. (SF)

Continue Reading

news

CEB Chairman: Country would have been facing daily power cuts if not for MR’s initiative

Published

on

by Ifham Nizam

The country would have been facing a daily power cut of eight hours if not for the initiative taken by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, when he was the President, to commence the first coal fired power plant complex at Norochcholai, said Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Chairman Engineer Vijitha Herath at yesterday’s inauguration of the first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) power plant in Sri Lanka.

PM Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the event. The CEB head stressed that if not for the Norochchoali plant the country would have lost more than Rs. 100 billion annually.

Power Minister Dullas Alahaperuma said that since the construction of the Norochcholai power plant in 2013, no large scale power plant had been built.

“Today, we are paying for this. Only small hydro power plants and solar power plants have been added to the national grid,” Alahaperuma said.

The power minister said that the LNG plant was coming up at an important time and would bring great relief to the economy which was heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

“Let there be a power sector that is not dependent on fossil fuels. The new power plant has been constructed at Kerawalapitiya, Wattala. This has been designed in accordance with international standards with minimal environmental damage. This power plant will have the highest efficiency F class gas turbine installed. The Kerawalapitiya Power Plant is a dual cycle power plant and will be completed in two phases. The installation of the first phase, or gas turbine, will generate 220 MW, which will be completed within 21 months and added to the national grid.”

Alhaperuma said that the second phase would add another 130 megawatts to the national grid via a steam turbine, which was expected to be completed in 12 months. With a total capacity of 300 MW over the next three years, the plant was expected to meet the country’s growing electricity demand, he said.

Speaking at the event Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed that the government wanted to provide electricity at affordable prices using the most advanced technology. There had been many delays in building power plants under the Yahapalana regime; but the current government would fast-track power projects, he added.

Minister Alahapperuma also said: “The LNG power plant will be a great relief to the economy. Renewable energy is the future. It was clearly mentioned in the President’s vision of prosperity as well as in the Mahinda Chinthana. Our goal is an economy fully armed with renewable energy.”

State Ministers Duminda Dissanayake, Susil Premajayantha, Nimal Lansa, Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy Wasantha Perera, LTL CEO of Lakdanavi Affiliates U.D. Jayawardena, and a large number of people’s representatives and government officials were present.

Continue Reading

news

US Secretary of State names Lankan for International Women of Courage (IWOC) award

Published

on

Lankan Human Rights Activist and Attorney-At-Law Ranitha Gnanarajah is among the recipients of this year’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) award presented by the United States Secretary of State.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will host the annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Awards virtual ceremony to honour a group of extraordinary women from around the world on Monday, March 8, at 10:00 am, the U.S. State Department announced.

The First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden will deliver remarks to recognize the courageous accomplishments of these women.

Now in its 15th year, the Secretary of State’s IWOC Award recognizes women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment – often at great personal risk and sacrifice, the US State Department says.

According to the biographies of the finalists for the 2012 IWOC Awards, Sri Lanka’s Ranitha Gnanarajah, a lawyer, and Head of the Legal Department of the Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) Sri Lanka continues to fight for and defend the rights of the marginalized and vulnerable communities in the country, despite threats and challenges by the state.

“Ranitha has dedicated her career to accountability and justice for victims of enforced disappearances and prisoners detained often for years without charge under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act by providing free legal aid and related services. As an individual personally affected by the conflict and based on her extensive experience working with victims and their families, Ranitha has demonstrated tremendous passion and dedication to justice and accountability, especially for Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable populations.”

From the inception of this award in March 2007, the Department of State has recognized more than 155 awardees from over 75 countries.

U.S. diplomatic missions overseas nominate one woman of courage from their respective host countries, and finalists are selected and approved by senior Department officials.

Following the virtual IWOC ceremony, the awardees will participate in an International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) virtual exchange and connect with their American counterparts.

Continue Reading

Trending