The case No. B8691 / 20 filed by the Hanthana Conservation Organization against the conversion of eight acres of land above 3,000 feet in the Hanthana Mountains into barren land is to be taken up before the Kandy Magistrate’s Court tomorrow (16).
The police who filed a B report on the complaint has summoned seven government agencies and sought permission from the Kandy Magistrate’s Court to question them.
Following the orders, the police have summoned the Divisional Secretary of Gangawata, the Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Land Reforms Commissions, the forest range office, the Geological and Mines Bureau. Rupa Goonetileke, who is suspected to be involved in the deforestation, has already gone to the Kandy Police and given a statement.
This land is located on the boundary of an eight-acre land which is said to belong to Kandy District Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella. According to Lakshman Kiriella, he had purchased the land from its previous owner Andiris Jayasinghe in the 1990s.
However, in 2017 and 2018, the Central Environmental Authority had cleared the land allegedly belonging to Lakshman Kiriella and when questioned by the Hanthana Conservation Organization, the Central Environmental Authority had stated that the land belonged to one Rupa Goonetileke.
Accordingly, there is a dilemma as to who owns the land and the aim of the organization is to find the true owner who has cleared it to re-cultivate it, the organization’s General Secretary Amit Senanayake said.