Indigenous leader goes to court against land allocation
by Zulfick Farzan
Colombo (News 1st); Leader of the Indigenous community Uruwaarige Wannila Aththo and the Centre for Environmental Justice filed a writ application with the Court of Appeal seeking an order to prevent the allocation of indigenous community lands for maize cultivation for leading companies.
The Minister of Wildlife, Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Mahaweli Development Authority, the Director-General of the Department of Wildlife, and Director-General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation among others were named as the respondents in the application.
Leader of the Indigenous community Uruwaarige Wannila Aththo and the petitioners pointed out the indigenous community for centuries used these lands and survived in the wilderness and the decision taken by the Mahaweli Development Authority to allocate over 5000 acres of forest land for maize cultivation takes away their livelihood.
The petitioners pointed out that the companies awarded these lands have illegally closed down the canals which carry water to the Rambaken-Oya and this had caused grave environmental destruction as well.
The petitioners requested for the Court of Appeal to issue a writ order on the respondents to immediately suspend the action taken.