Which project is the Agrarian Dept. funding?

Published : 9:14 am  October 13, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (167) reads | 

Tank restoration or building two tourist hotels?


dty-gBy Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa   

People living in the Sigiriya area are concerned about the filling of a reservoir to build a tourist hotel under the pretext of a development project. 


They pointed out that the private contractors who undertook the project said to be costing Rs.2.4 million funded by the Agrarian Services Department to restore Awudugannawa tank were clearing the tank reservation area and filling it with earth excavated from the tank bed.   They said that a vast area of the tank reservation had been cleared to build two tourist hotels overlooking the tank. Area residents including the Mahasangha yesterday staged a protest near the tank accusing politicians and officials that they allowed the contractors to destroy the forest reserve that protected the tank. They claimed that huge trees including kumbuk and ironwood on the tank reservation had been felled and removed under the pretext of ‘developing’ the tank.   

Meanwhile, treasurer of the Awugandawa Agrarian society, G.Somalatha said although she was an officer who signed the contract agreement, she did not know what was going on under the project. The Secretary of the society Gamini Karunadasa responded with a similar reply when questioned.   

However the president of the society said he did not know the amount of money allocated for the project, but that he with one of his friends was carrying on the restoration of the tank.   

Divisional Officer of the Sigiriya Agrarian Services Office, Sampath Kumara said the department had allocated Rs.2.4 million for the project and that he did not know about any damage being done to the tank reservation or the felling of trees.   

Minister of Agriculture Wasantha Aluwihare who denied any knowledge about the matter said he would look into the issue and that he would order the Commissioner of Agrarian Services to suspend the project if any irregularities were found.