The Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) has applied for a writ in the Court of Appeal against certain government organizations and representatives in connection with continued deforestation of land in the region around Wilpattu National Park. The land concerned includes the Maraichukkaddi/Karadikkuli area and a section of the forest’s Northern Reserve, both at the centre of the controversy. The lands moreover belong to the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).
As such the writ accuses key government representatives of exceeding their powers in allowing housing settlements to be built in these areas. The petition states that more than 2,000 hectares of land within the above areas have been paved and people settled illegally in them.
Those referred to in the writ include the Minister for Trade and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen and representatives of the Department of Archeology and the Ministry of Environment among other organizations. The petition alleges that several lands with significant archaeological and geological value have been converted illegally to housing settlements, alleging furthermore that a continuation of such housing will prove detrimental both to the flora and fauna and to the persons housed in these lands.