Presidential advisor Batagoda accused of forest clearing in Kebiliththa!

An advisor to the President has submitted a proposal to release another piece of land from the Kebiliththa Forest Reserve located north of the Yala National Park for cultivation, the Collective of Environmental Organisations said.

The Centre for Environmental Justice, Surakimu Sri Lanka Movement, Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform and many other environmental organisations have forwarded a letter to the President on behalf of the Collective in this regard.

The letter said that about 300 acres of this reserved area have been grabbed by various people who are not traditional farmers, and these people have also interfered with the duties of the forest conservation officers.

It is also highlighted in the letter that the cultivation of maize in the Kebiliththa Reserve belonging to the buffer zone of the Yala National Park has increased recently, and that the country’s food security cannot be strengthened by clearing forests.

When Sri Lanka Mirror investigated the issue, it was revealed that allegations have been made against Dr. Suren Batagoda who is a Presidential Advisor.

Dr.Batagoda, who is a former secretary of the Ministry of Energy, was recently rumored to be appointed as the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance.

He has previously served as an additional secretary in the Ministry of Finance. He is also a lawyer and graduated from Harvard University.

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