Defence Secretary acknowledges increasing eco-damage in Sri Lanka

Defence Secretary acknowledges increasing eco-damage in Sri Lanka

18 February 2021 08:36 am

The destruction of natural resources is taking place hitting a peak in the present days and the government has been informed in this regard, emphasised Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne addressing a discussion held in the Defence Ministry.

"At this time the destruction of natural resources is taking place at its peak. We use as many troops and Police as we can, and even have Air Force planes swarm over the forests to probe such events. Even yesterday, we talked about this issue in-depth at the Security Council meeting. The destruction of forests - no matter how hard we try - continues to take place," the Defence Secretary added.

Gunaratne went on: "We have also seen the involvement of certain government officials with these irregularities. For instance, a forest is cleared by either the Army, Police, or the STF, which suggests that they, despite being seized for destroying the forests, have been given licenses to do so. Now, as to how were they given the licenses would be a question!"

Accordingly, Defence Secretary Gunaratne pointed out that a 'very wrong' procedure is being practised at some point, considered of which the President and the government have been made aware of the situation. There is no way these heavy forests can be cleared, he emphasised.

Had certain parties been giving approval to commit such destruction hiding behind the government, this has to be immediately stopped, Gunaratne pointed out, disclosing the involvement of certain divisional secretaries on the issuance of such licenses. 

"Some parties have abused power. A Buddhist monk in Trincomalee who works closely with us is largely clearing forests in the area. The Government Agent as well as the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the area were informed to take necessary action immediately. If anyone abuses their power, report it to the Ministry of Defence."