Forest fires: govt gets tough with culprits
The government will take tough action against poachers who
deliberately set fire to forests, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda
Amaraweera said yesterday.
Addressing a media-briefing in Colombo, the minister said President
Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the Police and the STF to nab culprits
and take stern action against them.
Minister Mahinda Amaraweera
He said the President has appointed a special committee comprising
officials from the Agrarian Services and Wildlife Ministry, Agriculture
Ministry, Disaster Management Ministry, Defence Ministry, Environment
Ministry and Irrigation and Water Resources Management Ministry to
formulate an action plan to prevent inhabitants from setting fire to
forests within the next six months.
"The committee members are negotiating to amend the Act if it
necessary to prevent such illegal activities," Amaraweera said. The
minister said 64 forest fires have been reported during the past two
He said 16 fires in the Badulla district, 22 in the Moneragala
district, 24 in the Nuwara Eliya district and four in the Matale
district were recorded.
The minister said soil erosion and landslides could occur due to
these acts. The recent forest fires in Badulla, Matale, Nuwara Eliya,
Moneragala and the Kandy districts were suspected to be intentionally
carried out by people in these areas to hunt animals, cut trees and
obtain fresh grass for cattle.
The minister called upon the public to support the government's
endeavor to protect forest reserves countrywide.