President Maithripala Sirisena has ordered an immediate stop to deforestation and land reserving around Wilpattu National Park in the Northern Province.
Effective immediately, clearing the surrounding area and land reserving of Wilpattu National Park, Vavuniya and Mannar are prohibited under a special decree by the President, the President’s media unit said in a statement.
President Sirisena ordered the Secretary of the Environment Ministry to immediately take necessary steps regarding this matter and also informed all state officials from the area.
He instructed all the relevant divisions to enforce the law against anyone engaging in deforestation and land transferring in those areas illegally.
The Wilpattu National Park has recently drawn attention after media reports alleged that the Muslim IDP resettlements, led by Ministry of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, were damaging the Wilpattu Forest Reserve. Minister Bathiudeen vehemently rejected the allegations and openly challenged anyone to prove the charges, vowing to resign immediately if they were proven to be true.