JVP Leader appeals for conserving environment

by saman Indrajith

Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday told Parliament that a conservation plan for the central hills was an urgent need.

Participating in the debate on a motion moved at the time of the adjournment of the House by the Government on the relief measures and damages caused by the floods and landslides, the JVP leader said the destruction of forest cover in the central hills had resulted in water levels rising in rivers and the mountainous areas from knuckles to Rakwana were prone to landslides. 

Dissnaake said the tea and cardamom cultivations had spread into the forest lands near Knuckles and Sinharaja. "Horton Plains and Sri Pada are also facing the same situation. The hotels in those areas must be removed."

The JVP‚Äąleader said as per the environmental regulations every river with a width of over 50 metres should have 60 metre buffer zone on either side. He pointed out that this eco-system of the Kelani River had been already destroyed. 

"Many low lying areas in Madinnagoda, Sri Jayewardenepura, Wellampitiya and Mulleriyawa have been reclaimed illegally with the support of local government politicians. We all know the political hands behind constructing of hotels near Parakrama Samudra, Kala Wewa, Nachchaduwa and Thabbowa. The need for a national environmental programme has been felt today as never before to restore the damaged ecosystems. A fast and efficient intervention of the government is needed to take the necessary policy decisions without delay. This is a responsibility that none of us can ignore."

He said that the government had no effective state mechanism to face a natural calamity of this nature. "There were many lapses on coordination of disaster relief distribution. People came forward to help the affected people, but the government could not properly coordinate it."

The JVP leader said the government should immediately come forward to help the small, medium and large scale businessmen who were badly affected by the recent disasters.

He said the JVP had organised a special cleaning campaign today and tomorrow to help the people in the two districts worst affected by the floods. He said a youth cadre of about 1,000 would take part in the programme. 

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