Vedda chieftain Uru Warige Wannila Aththo has stated that he will go to court against the massive environmental destruction taking place in the Galwalayaya government forest reserve near the village of Maha Oya, Pollebedda in the Ampara District. He recently visited the area and witnessed the destruction of hundreds of acres of this state forest by large scale dozers and machinery in less than 30 days.
“If these trees can talk, they will talk about the destruction that has been done to these trees.Many of our generation lived in the mountain ranges of Pollebedda, the cold Vanni and Horikana. But now they have lost their right to live. Land ownership has been given to companies from foreign countries. This is wrong and it must be stopped. If not, I have made all arrangements to go to court together with the Environmental Justice Center” he said.
It was revealed during the inspection tour that the Mahaweli had divided nearly 6,000 acres of forest land in that area into 15 parts and handed it to 15 companies with the consent of the government.
The people who were present at the event pointed out to the tribal leaders and others that the clearing of the lands sold in such a manner would result in massive environmental destruction as well as damage to the catchment areas of the Rambaken Oya Reservoir.