Environment Minister urges to take over a hotel built in the vicinity of Mahaweli River | Daily News

Environment Minister urges to take over a hotel built in the vicinity of Mahaweli River

The Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera visited several places including Getambe and Peradeniya on Saturday (22) to observe the environmental destruction taking place in the vicinity of the Mahaweli River which flows near the Kandy City .
Member of Parliament  Wasantha Yapa Bandara as well as officials from the Urban Development Authority, Mahaweli Authority, Kandy Municipal Council, Central Environmental Authority, Irrigation Department and Kandy Divisional Secretariat as well as Ministry of Environment was also present the observation tour.
During the discussion, civil society organizations, the public, environmentalists and journalists also briefed the Minister on the illegal acquisition of hotels, houses, resorts and the acquisition of the river reserve by various individuals along the Mahaweli River.
The Minister and his team then proceeded to the Dodamwala Bridge to inspect the unauthorized business establishments as well as the illegal acquisition of the river reserve.
The Minister also inspected a hotel built to enter the Mahaweli River near the Hakkinda Archipelago, near the name plate which was designated as the Mahaweli River Reserve. The construction of the hotel had not been approved by any of the responsible agencies. The hotel was built by a man who used money and political power to pollute the Mahaweli River. He was also building a house on the Mahaweli River to house his family.
He also observed the huge Kumbuk trees in the vicinity being cut down and arranged to accommodate customers visiting the hotel. It was confirmed that the construction of this hotel has not been approved by the Central Environmental Authority, Urban Development Authority, Municipal Council or any other relevant government body.
Accordingly, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera instructed Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Environment Wasantha Dissanayake to take legal action to take over the hotel immediately. The Minister also instructed all institutions to immediately mark the protected area of the Mahaweli River which flows near the Kandy city limits and to take action against those who have taken action to illegally occupy the river reserve.
Addressing the gathering the Minister expressed these views
The government has taken steps to conserve 103 rivers in our country under the Surakimu Ganga program. Accordingly, we have begun marking the reserve for all rivers. The work on the Menik River has already been completed. Marking of the Kelani River will commence in the near future. No individual is allowed to destroy natural resources on the basis of money, wealth, or political power. I know there is politics behind all this. But we are fulfilling this national responsibility.
He also said that the government would take over the hotel and turn it into a suitable environmental education center for environmental studies.

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