Ministry to arrest racketeers seizing lands belonging to Kebilitta Forest Reserve | Daily News

Ministry to arrest racketeers seizing lands belonging to Kebilitta Forest Reserve

The Forest Conservation Ministry has decided to arrest and prosecute racketeers and persons who are forcibly seizing lands belonging to the Kebilitta Forest Reserve.

It has been reported to the Ministry that some groups of people in Moneragala District have been attempting to seize lands belonging to the Kebilitta forest for cultivation for the last two days.

A discussion on this matter was held under the patronage of the Minister of Agriculture, Wildlife and Wildlife Conservation Mahinda Amaraweera at the Battaramulla Forest Department yesterday (01).

The Minister inquired about the acquisition of lands in the Kebilitta forest. Officials pointed out that 25,000 acres of land outside the Kebilitta forest had been given for cultivation to the public but that these people were trying to acquire reserved lands without cultivating them.

Although a group of Wildlife Officers had entered the Kebilitta forest with the Special Task Force yesterday morning (01), the Minister had telephoned the DIG of Moneragala District and inquired about the situation as it was reported that some people were obstructing them.

Accordingly, the government has decided to give priority to cultivation, but the Minister instructed the DIG to immediately arrest and prosecute any persons who forcibly seize lands belonging to the reserve despite having suitable lands.

Also, since the cultivation of maize in the Maha Season is scheduled to commence from October, the Minister instructed that no one or racketeers should be allowed to take over the lands in the Kebilitta forest reserve until a meeting is held with the participation of all parties to identify those who do not have the land required for cultivation.

Chandra Herath, Secretary to the Ministry of Wildlife and Wildlife Conservation and the Director General of the Department of Forest Resources also participated in this discussion.


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