Bolgoda Lake undemarcated even after survey: Environmentalists

Published : 9:34 am  August 22, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 

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cxxcText & Pics By Muditha Dayananada   

Environmental organisation ‘Dalthara Parisarikayo’ says the Bolgoda Lake and its surrounding natural reserve in the East Gramaseva Division of the Kesbewa Secretariat remain undemarcated even after surveying the area as ruled by the Court of Appeal. 


Dalthara Parisarikayo Secretary Nilupul Kahapolaarachchi said their organisation strived for many years to protect the Bolgoda Lake and it was able to obtain a court order to demarcate the natural reserve and undo the unauthorised filling of land in the area. 


After the survey, an area of eight acres of illegally filled land within the stretch of one-and-a-half kilometres was identified. 


However, the officials have not taken steps to acquire these lands or even to mark them, thereby depriving the residents of the opportunity to use the river for their day-to-day needs. This has also left the river to shrink gradually. 


“This environmental devastation around the Bolgoda  Lake is a result of the illegal activities of businessmen who run tourist hotels and leisure resorts with the support of politicians,” Mr. Kahapolaarachchi said. 


A patron of the organisation, Professor P.M. Bandaranayake, too expressed similar sentiments. 


LATE-CITY-DM-1-192“Dalthara Parisarikayo is not an organisation confined to secure the environment around the Bolgoda Lake. Its members are active environmentalists. As a result of our efforts, we have been able to get a court order to engage officers of relevant government institutes including the Survey Department to secure the Bolgoda environmental zone. However, this process has come to a standstill because of the protest of the users of reclaimed land. Also, the said survey is now being carried out in Bandaragama, but such protests are not shown in the area,” he said.  


Meanwhile, those opposing the survey claim that the surveying had been done based on a map planned in 1817. 


However, an official of the Central Environment Authority who was involved in the survey refuted this argument saying the survey was done based on a tracing prepared in 2001 on a 1962 survey of all the river basins of the country by a Canadian institute at the request of the Sri Lankan Government. 


When asked about the reasons for not installing survey stones in the area, Survey General P.M.P. Udaya Kantha said their survey was accurate and they applied same methods of surveying any part of the country, but had to stop installing surveying stones temporarily due to protests raised by several land owners.   

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