The Wildlife Department, in a report submitted to the Court of Appeal, has revealed that many privately owned lands can be found within the Muthurajawela Sanctuary.

The Wildlife Department submitted to the Court that landfilling and waste disposal has takenplace as this area has become more densely populated through the illegal acquisition of lands.

In its report, the Wildlife Department has revealed that several illegal constructions and landfilling within the Muthurajawela Sanctuary could bring adverse effects to both animal and the human community as a whole.

The Wildlife Department had filed this report in connection with the writ petitions filed by Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjithand the Centre for Environmental Justice.

The report includes details of a village comprising 15 houses (Kindigoda Village) built under the supervision of the Colombo Archbishop within the MuthurajawelaSanctuary. The report states that the deeds for the houses given under the intervention of the Colombo Archbishop.

The Wildlife Department further informed that Seeduwa-Katunayake Urban Council is dumping garbage at a private land located within the Muthurajawela Sanctuary.  A case has already been filed in this regard at Negombo Magistrate’s Court.

The Wildlife Department further said that the removal of the notice board of MuthurajawelaSanctuary had occurred in 2017.

Referring to a 700-acre land that brought attention to the society, the Wildlife Department said that a private owner is claiming his rights for the land. The report further revealed that a massive wall had been built in a private land located within Muthurajawela Sanctuary at Kindigoda area.

Meanwhile, taking into consideration the prevailing security situation, the Wildlife Range Officer in Charge of the MuthurajawelaSanctuary has highlighted the necessity of having an official firearm to discharge their duties.

The Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice (President) ArjunaObeysekera and Justice Mayadunna Corea fixed two petitions for July 12.

In their petition, the Centre for Environmental Justice and its Executive Director WithanageDon Hemantha Ranjith Sisira Kumara named Central Environmental Authority, Minister of Environment, Minister of WildLife and Forest Conservation and nine others as respondents.

The petitioners are seeking an interim order directing the respondents to stay any further dumping of waste and the filling of lands within the Muthurajawela Sanctuary.


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