5 August, 2021

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A President For All Situations, But Sinharaja Forest Needs More Than Roadside Decisions 

By Rajan Philip

Rajan Philips

The pictures that have been circulating as part of the unfolding Sinharaja saga say more about the power-status of the Executive Presidency than all the protestations about the alleged fetters of the 19th Amendment on the presidency. The pictures and the news reports tell a different story as well. It is the total absence of anything technically environmental or engineering informing the presidential visit. The omnipresent President landed on Lankagama, the newly storied village in the jungle, met with the villagers, and listened to them complain that the environmentalists are lying. He then went to the road site with half a dozen Ministers and even more officials following, surveyed the scene, and gave the order to build the road in 90 days, but without harming the environment. All of this has been photographed and reported.

But there were no pictures or reports of government officials explaining to the President the details of the project and how environmental impacts were identified and how they would be mitigated. It is not the best construction practice to avoid harming the environment without pre-identifying impacts and mitigation measures. Independent of the presidential visit, no government agency has provided clear and detailed information about the limits of the road work, who did the design, if an environmental assessment was undertaken, whether mitigation measures were identified, and how they will be implemented. 

Not surprisingly, there are bouquets for the President’s hands-on mode of execution. Equally unsurprisingly, there will be brickbats as well, and petitions to UNESCO will follow from environmental activists (who are now being called terrorists by Mahinda Pathirana of the Sri Lanka People’s Front and Chairman of the Sri Lanka Press Council). Without showering flowers or throwing stones, it is reasonable to say that – what Sinharaja forest needs is not roadside decision making but organized and systematic care. 

What is also missing is a single government agency that is exclusively responsible for the protection and stewardship of the island’s most pristine forest reserve. And that is after more than forty years when Sinharaja forest was first recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978, and later as a World Heritage Site. What is even more surprising is that nobody seems to know how the current road construction got started, which agency is responsible for it, and how it will end. 

According to reports, Sri Lanka Army Engineers started the road work on August 10, five days after the election. If that is true, that is a clever way of by-passing tender and avoiding government funds to pay a contractor. Give credit for cleverness, but Sri Lanka will benefit immensely if those who are clever in this government are also straight. Civil engineering work can be ideal for gainfully deploying the armed services when they are not militarily engaged. But that should not be for work that is normally done by government public works and private contractors. It should be for extraordinary work such as emergency restoration and disaster (i.e., floods, landslides) prevention. Not haphazard road building on a natural heritage terrain. 

A haphazard project

The whole haphazardness of the project has become clear with the President first issuing a stop work order ten days after the road construction had started, and then reversing it after another ten days following his site visit. Which government agency or officials advised the President first to issue the stop work order, and then gave countervailing advice to rescind that order. It is also unfair to use the needs of people in the small, isolated villages in the buffer areas of the forest to justify infrastructure projects. Unlike the demands of the timber industry or tourist industry, the needs of the villages are not a significant burden on the Sinharaja natural environment. There have been plenty of studies, reports, and plans for just doing that. Emeritus Peradeniya Ecologists like Savitri and Nimal Gunatilleke have done their life work for the Sinharaja forest. 

But there has been no corresponding follow up action by any government from 1978 when Sinharaja forest received world environmental attention. Even now, the responsibility for the forest area is fractured administratively between Rathnapura, Galle and Matara districts, and between different line ministries and departments in the central government. God only knows what, if anything, the Southern and Sabaragamuwa provincial governments did for the forest. To repeat what I said earlier, Sinharaja deserves a single agency, like the Gal Oya Development Board or RVDB, not for developing and colonising the area, but for protecting it from profit seeking encroachers while sustaining the lives of people in the forest area villages.    

Sinharaja is not the only situation where the government was forced to put out environmental fires. While the President was visiting Lankagama last Saturday, Forest Conservation Minister C. B. Ratnayake went to Puttalam to stem the fallouts at the Anawilundawa wetlands where a business group with alleged political connections has been clearing sensitive areas for a prawn farm. Prawn farms have become a fancy but dubious business operation causing lasting ecological harm without creating jobs or foreign exchange in any significant measure. Studies have shown that most of them have been non-starters and are abandoned after digging up wetlands. River sand mining is another area where the government ignored all concerns and allowed unsupervised sand mining to be restarted. Similar to the human-elephant conflict, this government is poised to run into environmental conflicts if it begins to aggressively push its ‘development’ agenda. Launching major development or infrastructure projects without assured funding and adequate preparation will only exacerbate environmental harms.   

On the other hand, the government seems all set to launch the 20th Amendment. This is one area, if not the only area, where the President may not be called upon to put out fires. From what is being reported, everything in the 19th Amendment other than the presidential term limit is ready to be tossed out. There is a historical cycle at work here. Every major constitutional change to the Soulbury Constitution has produced an equal and opposite reaction. The 1972 change begot its 1978 rejoinder. Similarly, the 18th Amendment scuppered the 17th Amendment, 18A was undone by 19A, and now the 20th Amendment (which had an earlier version that was used by Ranil Wickremesinghe, the JVP and the TNA to fool everybody) is set to take out 19A. No one knows when and how the SLPP’s currently embryonic 20A will get its nemesis. But it will come.

 

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Latest comments

  • 8
    43

    yes, yes, we do need an environment commission followed by a ministerial commission followed by a presidential commission and after all these, we need to make sure nothing is done.

    You know this is the exact reason the people voted for this president and the SLPP. We need realistic decisions. not more and more commissions.

    These people are suffering without a road. and Mongala wants to relocate them to god knows to where. Why don’t we relocate him to someplace we cant hear this MORON.

    This is why I love Gota. you UNESCO and all the NGOs can cry forever , there will be a road in 3 months and there will also be a bus to serve these poor people.

    End of Story period.

  • 7
    37

    Also let me ask you one thing when is the last time the JVP ever told the truth.?

    • 12
      1

      why should you the guys be that stupid ?-

      Were not the JVPrs who fearlessly revealed the high corrupted handlings of Rajapakshe family ?

      Were you born yesterday ?

      You talk high to have got a degree in Engineering but not opening your eyes for the truths ?

      What is the difference between blind supporters of Rajakshes and so called LOCAL GRADUATEs, who earned the degrees thanks to the tax payers funds ?

      Motherlanka would never forgive you guys – wait and see. The situation will be worsening day by day in that island.

      • 1
        10

        Hey Jackass

        We unlike you, have seen the true colors of the JVP. We went through the late 80s and the 90s. They are the lowest of the low of human beings.

        I personally would have preferred if they were eliminated like the LTTE . It is unfortunate that some of these animals survived . and are back to their lying cheating ways.

  • 24
    10

    Gota is hero in the street.
    He has the brain, action man , engineer, environmentalist, quantity surveyor all in one human body.
    Lankapura villagers will benefit from the project at bigger cost to the rain forest. But GOTA solved the problem. May be a wrong way.
    There will be green hotels, holiday bungalows, safari sites build up in the village in the future owned by political stooges.
    People go their man. Now enjoy the action.

    • 6
      0

      Jack,
      .
      I like your comment.
      .
      The only problem with it is that many of our fellow citizens may not sense the biting sarcasm, however apparent to me.
      .
      This seems to me to be the case throughout the world. I wonder if it was so throughout human history. I don’t know the answer to that!
      .
      I’ve been a language teacher throughout my life; I realise all too well how naive and unskilful teachers have always been. Which language matters not a jot. Me? – I’ve not been perfect, either.
      .
      Difficult days ahead – I’m old, not too many ahead of me. The tragedy that has befallen our country I see as worse than in most other places, but it’s difficult to assess.

  • 17
    1

    Dear Rajan Philips,
    .
    You are right. The alarm bells are ringing, but nobody is hearing them.
    .
    I think that I’m depending too much on the Internet – the semi-lock-down that we impose on ourselves in fear of COVID doesn’t help.
    .
    I listened to the English news on Rupavahini “Eye T.V.” to see what others are saying. The “New Diamond” Super Tanker received adequate coverage. A World non-issue, let’s hope. But a warning:
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MT_New_Diamond
    .
    Also Gota speaking to the Medical fraternity in English sounded sincere.
    .
    However, the point is that as a military man he is searching for quick and “effective” solutions without allowing any experts to come in on subjects of this sort. These life forms have taken millions of years to evolve, and upto now, as in all other countries, I think, the advice of World Bodies was heeded.
    .
    But now, all dissent is going to be treachery.

    • 8
      0

      Dear Sinhala Man,

      Please study it closely -now they dont care much about the containment of the COVID virus within the country, even if the numbers is in india rise upto the highest in the world yesterday. Poor folks get caught by the virus easily in India even if China has radically controlled it sofar.

      I guess just a week ago only, President paid a visit to Sinharaja area where they construction is planned. There, I saw he himself had not used a mask/ as is the case in Europe and America. Now their self proclamations and self adulations fooled the people as if the govt s magical powers contained the virus fully away from the country. Can you imagine ? Even countries, far developed than srilanka , they are scared of a second wave.

      The truth is not only SRILANKA, many countries including Myanmar and Sudan did not claim more deaths in terms of COVID, because they performed lesser number of PCR tests not respecting the instruction of WHO ” test, test, test”: Consequently, the numbers estimated were much less. The very same was the case with srilankens, but their subjective statistics fooled the nations as never before. Besides, COVID is connected with multiple factors incl. BCG universal vaccination, climate, food intake, age and various others according to world experts in virology.

      • 4
        0

        Apologies

        I have passed with numerous errors. It should be as is not the case in Europe. Here we wear the masks, if anyone would not wear a mask in trains and buses, you have to pay a fine amounting to 150 Euros in Germany(218 x 150 = 32700 in SLR). That is no different in neighbouring countries.

        I think current govt in SL, is playing with human lives.

        Even if Russians have already introduced a vaccine to their people, Moderna and their counterparts in Europe would not follow them soon. I believe a vaccine would be possible in the first quarter of 2021.

    • 1
      0

      Why do you need a 20th AMENDMENT, when the president can do anything he wants to without any amendment at all ‘ unless of course, he wants to amend himself.

  • 23
    6

    we have ministers for beetle nut and thambili but not for UNESCO Heritage sites
    instead we have a Presidential Task Force to unearth pseudo Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhist Archaeological sites in the NE to kick out the Tamils out and colonise them.

    After the 20th Amendment President will not make any Road side decisions he will make decisions at the drop of a hat.

    the Rajapakses bought Sinhala villagers vote for few rupees, few rupees at a time and they will congregate anywhere.

    • 4
      11

      Rajash,
      Dumbo, the archeological sites in NE are not pseudo Sinhala Buddhist archeological sites. NE is where Sinhala Kingdoms Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa existed and Sinhala Buddhist civilization flourished. These Kingdoms were destroyed by ‘Para’ Dravida invaders. Now this area is occupied by the descendants of Dravida slaves brought by Portuguese and dumped in Yapanaya and descendants of Muslims who were settled by King Senerath after saving them from persecution by Portuguese. They are occupying land belong to Native Sinhalayo.
      Presidential Task Force is not there to unearth Sinhala Buddhist archeological sites. They have been assigned the task to check the destruction caused to these sites by ‘Para’ Demalu and ‘Para’ Muslims and find ways to protect them.

      “Presidential Task Force to unearth pseudo Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhist Archaeological sites in the NE to kick out the Tamils out and colonise them.”

      • 2
        1

        Dumbo Eagle-eye – “” the archeological sites in NE are not pseudo Sinhala Buddhist archeological site”
        —————————————–
        Dumbo Eagle Eye – These so called Sinhala Buddhist archeological sites don’t exist at the moment.
        ———————————-
        Even your eagle eye wont fond them.
        ———————————
        YThe Presidential Task force is burying art effects now to excavate them later and shout Eureka!
        ——————————————-

  • 12
    6

    + Oh, the gods have made a thundering error in their gifts to the world.
    #
    If only he had made D.A.Rajapaksa impotent, or allowed him to fire blank – pus wedillas and made his concubine barren not being able to bear children the present lots of mangy flea-ridden criminal stinking Rajapuk’s along with their horu boru gangs running amok creating havoc in whatever they lay their soiled fingers on.
    What a calamity.?
    #
    The only exception to this cursed sordid family was the late George Rajapaksa a born rich pleasure to associate with whose life was taken much more sooner than expected.
    #
    To this infidel, money-making is their sole and objective to be living on this wonderful planet where I and you are aboding.
    #
    Climate control preserving the environmental sites like the now much spoken about Singharajah forest are of no concern to these cursed parasites who are only interested in salli salli for their ilk.
    #
    The sooner the globe eradicates these willfully damage-causing no class at all pariah low-lives it will be better for the peasants who are now suffering silently whilst in the pangs of hunger, starvation and most importantly of them all NO worthless Lankan rupee to purchase their essentials.?

  • 19
    3

    Amazing that successive Buddhist governments haven’t created Preservation of Forests Dept.!

    *
    Not too late. At last, environmental groups that are giving their voice at this time! Current GoSL should listen. Tone down the obsession to make the Motherland look Western(via China). It is incumbent upon them to act Buddhist and show this to the rest of the world also.
    *
    If is too expensive to relocate these relatively recent forest dwellers, implement the Green New Deal and keep them on as forest dwellers. The forest dwellers should sign honor codes to preserve the forest, where they adopt an environmentally-protective lifestyle.

    • 24
      3

      These forest dwellers cannot enjoy the beauty of the natural forests and then start demanding city facilities like city schools, supermarkets, hospitals, and other commercial services – the very things that will destroy this ancient forest that they chose to live in.
      *
      What the gov. should provide for them is education pertaining to forest dwelling, and adequate health-care services (clinic or small hospital). They should remain self-sufficient within their own previous employment that made them move to the forest in the first place. Then even transportation into city areas will be not necessary – the original road would suffice. But if GoSl wants to splurge some extra money on them, they can build an overpass over the forest, or a monorail (such that they are planning to build in Colombo) where minimum to no trees are cut.
      *
      Otherwise it should be mandatory for the forest dwellers to relocate and accept whatever the gov. offers them.

      • 14
        2

        America has been protecting her forests since 1875. This was before environmental protection was even thought of. And with the millions of immigrants coming in, forests were a banned domain for the public. If the public wants to go into the forests, they have campsites where they can stay in tents and clean up after themselves later. No such things as eco-hotels to suck up the water and other natural resourses. Forest rangers make sure the public follows the rules.

        • 3
          9

          And why is that possible . it is because there are proper access roads in these national forests and parks. ?

          • 12
            2

            Only on the outskirts. Then one has to park and then walk on the forest paths to the campsites that are also on the outskirts. To explore deep into the forest, one has to go through the forest paths (if there are any). And they certainly don’t have any settlements.

            • 2
              10

              Seriously Ms Ramon . have you ever been to the US or are you making this stuff up. Look up Yosemite, Lassen , Yellowstone , Sequoia , Kings Canyon. and almost any national forest. Some of these parks are even bigger than Sri Lanka. Every single one of them has well-paved roads/Highways in them. Where entrants can drive in them for the park entrance fee. Its true that you can take trails off these roads. but every national park has roads, restaurants souvenirs shops.

              If you don’t know please do some research . Don’t make nonsense up. All it takes is a google search and you will not post alternate facts.

              I live close to these parks and Forests and I have been to many of them. And this road they are talking about is on the boundary of the park not inside it.

              Facts are your enemy.

              • 8
                0

                a14455,
                Ok….but they don’t have settlements in them. The major roads can be equated to the roads like the Galle road. And the Highways go past the forests, not right through. I live in PA.

              • 7
                0

                Besides the highway through Yosimite at least (State route 120) has a long history and was eventually built in the 1920’s….long before Environmental concerns. It can be equated to the Galle Road which was full of forests at that time.

                • 1
                  8

                  I am not sure what you are suggesting. RTF It makes no sense. Every national/State park not just Yosemite has well-maintained roads in them. They have shops park rangers public utilities in them.
                  These are not old abandoned roads. They are superbly maintained.
                  So the difference is not the size but the approach. In the US they have taken the approach that to protect a forest you need to make it accessible to the protectors.

                  In Sri Lanka on the other hand this JVP led clown “Environmentalist” are keeping the wound a sore so that they have their false talking points.

                  The President is no fool. He I am sure is quite familiar with what is what. He also clearly knows that no forest or ocean can be protected unless the people who live close are hungry and are without basic necessities. So I admire him taking this decision which is absolutely the right one.

                  • 11
                    1

                    a14455,
                    *
                    Yeah, but the forest rangers are not big communities- just one or two people per place who take turns to protect the forests, and when they have finished their weekly/monthly tenure, go back to their families in the nearby cities. Same with all the shop people. When they finish their daily work, they drive go home to the cities. Nobody lives in the middle of the forest. And no, they are not old abandoned roads, but e.g. the route 120 that goes through Yosemite was built in the 1920’s- long before any environmental concerns. Nowadays they won’t build such roads.
                    *
                    But to be fair to Gota, guess he feels real concern for these people. One can’t just uproot them even if they have been there for only a generation (or less,….or even more). Ok…it is the cheapest way to do it- to build a road, but there should be caveats to it. Only one bus per day can go on it (and it has to be one of those van buses). For emergencies, there must be an emergency car or van. Wayside shops will have to be banned. No visitors or tourists to the area (they will have to show a pass before boarding the return van).

                    • 7
                      0

                      For emergencies, there must be an emergency car or van. Wayside shops will have to be banned. No visitors or tourists to the area( they will have to show a pass before boarding the return van). Hopefully, the young people will relocate and the village will fall into disuse. And if there are other villages around Sinharaja, these facilities will not be given to them. They will have to relocate. Mandatory laws in place to prevent squatters.

                    • 0
                      9

                      RTF

                      I dont know if you have ever been to these remote villages in Sri Lanka? From your fancy houses in Colombo to understand how hard these lives are. I have. During my time working in SL I have been to many of these places. So to suggest to not have shops on the road is hilarious. A Shop is the last thing any of these people would care about.

                      I suggest you go visit one of these places whenever you get the chance to go back. Then you will understand why these people want a decent road. Its all very good you you and those Colombo dwelling tools to ask them to be relocated. It just show how disconnected you are from reality.

                      And lets not talk about parks and Forests in the US. it is clearly a futile exercise.

                    • 7
                      0

                      a14455,
                      Good lord! No, I have no fancy house in CMB. Wow! Imagine that for me? Some relatives life in the places you describe, and if there is a road where a CTB bus can go on, …..Shops!….Lankan butiks selling cigarettes, beede, bulat, bull-toe, milk-toffee, chipped cup of Lankan tea with condensed-milk, coconut-water, chewy maize (better than US gmo’d corn), lump-rice packets, egg-hoppers, panadol, automatically spring up along the way (not French Boutiques of course).

                    • 7
                      0

                      Having shops mean that the place will become commercialized, firmly established, and even more commercialized – from village to town to city. Residents have to gradually leave, and leave the forest intact.

              • 10
                0

                And the Sinharaja boundaries keep getting smaller and smaller.

                • 3
                  1

                  RTF you are contradicting yourself.

                  “… the forest rangers are not big communities- just one or two people per place….”
                  ——————————
                  “..But to be fair to Gota, guess he feels real concern for these people. One can’t just uproot them …”
                  ————————

                  so what you are implying is destroy the entire forest for just one or two people!
                  ——————
                  But Gota is only Concerned about one person

                  and he is not who take turns to protect the forests

                  he wants to build a hotels in the forest!
                  and make a financial killing in the short term
                  ..and kill the forest in the long term…
                  then go and find a another forest!

                  destroy yhr rnetire forest

                  • 2
                    0

                    Rajash: Read carefully again. then feel ashamed.

          • 6
            0

            I’ve never been out of Asia, while you, a14455, say that you’ve been so fortunate as to globe-trot.
            .
            True though it is that I’m at that disadvantage, I say “Bravo” to RTF, whom we often make fun of. Yes, dear RTF, you are always sincere!
            .
            I dare say the Parks in the USA may be larger, but each environment is unique. It is ridiculous to compare. This is a unique World Treasure – a treasure that contains many species that must be preserved. For the sake of mother Earth, if not for the Universe. BTW, I have no pretensions to being a botanist or an environmentalist. I’m akin to the little child who saw that the Emperor was naked.
            .
            These puny homo sapiens who must have invaded recently ought to be thrown out – but all I can do is type that in here. Research it. If I’m proved wrong, I will still persist. Let these people then live as they always did – or else relocate them. I say that the forest is worth more than these people and the despicable politicians.
            .
            There! Like it or lump it.
            .
            Panini Edirisinhe aka “Sinhala_Man”

            • 11
              1

              Dear Mr Panini Edirisinghe,
              .
              You have articulated it as no others above. Thanks for that. I have been to many continents but not to Africa and South america yet.
              :
              As you clearly said above, it is wrong to compare ours with that of USA or any other places. Srilanka is a very small country – like or not, they should respect the reports of the ecologists/environmentalists: Those people living in that met areas would know nothing much about the harm if Sinharaja would be destroyed, just because of an abusive family thinks it is right.

            • 0
              1

              This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

              For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

            • 3
              0

              Mr SinhalaMan@

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVGFqKgRwCk

              Please listen to this video.

              • 3
                0

                See how Smart our AKD.
                :
                Cabral is speechless.

                Well done Mr AKD. We salute you !.

                • 1
                  0

                  True, though all this is, what’s the point in our persisting?
                  .
                  All this sort of thing was told to our voters, and yet they gave these villains an overwhelming majority of seats.
                  .
                  Is there any reason to feel that the voters are even now paying heed to all this?
                  .
                  BTW, don’t you think that it would have been possible to place this comment as a response to this article by Dr WAW?
                  .
                  https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/500th-in-the-series-a-peep-into-the-past-10-years/comment-page-1/?unapproved=2359183&moderation-hash=8bd873cfc0c59c109cd60728a73e27d5#comment-2359183
                  .
                  He’s a decent man, and will welcome the occasional email – if there is something serious to say. His telephone number he guards more carefully, but I do talk to him sometimes.
                  .
                  We must ensure that we act more effectively.
                  .
                  The links that you provide are useful, but don’t you see that you are preaching to the converted?

                  • 3
                    0

                    Dear Mr SM,

                    There is a saying, in sinhala vernacular – you cant expect lions to reign where donkeys are the majority. That is what you and I have been experiencing in SL today.

                    Also now I am into this ” the smarter gives in” – this is the answer to your question – I can read your thoughts and minds very well.

                    “True, though all this is, what’s the point in our persisting?”

              • 3
                0

                One law to Rajapakshe men and another law to normal people incl. Mr SF.
                .
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbaShaJUsx4

          • 4
            0

            Punnakku drinkers of your nature, would not stop their habbits even if you would live in a civilized country. The best examples are

            Eaagle EVIL Eye
            a14455
            SOMA

            So what more talks about Ms SC Pasqual – another easy backlicker to the rascals ?

        • 2
          15

          ramona therese fernando,
          There is a severe shortage of land in the South. Government should establish settlement schemes in North and East where land is abundant and settle landless people from South.

          • 1
            6

            Eagle Eye. Agreed!

            • 3
              0

              Dear RTF,
              .
              I don’t think that you get the boringly repeated drift of Eagle Eye. He wants State-Sponsored Settlements of Sinhalese in traditionally non-Sinhalese areas.
              .
              I’ve visited some of these areas with retired Government Teachers. The efforts at colonisation are going on apace. I think that there must be remains of Buddhist and Hindu (Islamic? – I don’t know) religious remains in the North and the East. Were some of these Buddhists Tamil-speaking, I wonder?
              .
              The Buddhist temples claim that tens of thousand hectares were given to their temples by some king. Maybe. Those grants may clash with other grants given by other kings to other religions. By British times, the East had very few Sinhalese. Colonisation by Sinhalese going as individuals would have been all right. Organised upsetting of ethnic balance caused heartburn.
              .
              Isn’t it time that the world did away with all forms of organised religion?

            • 6
              0

              RTF,
              .
              why you say agreed ? Are you sitting on your head ? Not only southern areas but also everywhere, there are problems today, – the poor people are suffering more being caught by Rajapakshe mantra… they have no idea about BUWANEKABAHU rajaya sabawa demolition or even their lovely ones would have been raped and murdered. They are brainwashed to the very same manner, as is the case in Zimbabwe and Northkorea.

              Ultra Racist Eagle Eye would go on singing the same song not being able to grasp the little. That he has proved … even if he is said tob e an octagenarian today. What we can provide these buggers with pacifiers. ::: They are the blue flies being found on the heaps of excreta. Rajapakshes harvest on them. Nice no ?

          • 4
            0

            Oh, shut up, racist!

      • 1
        7

        what are you smoking ms Ramon

        Have you ever lived in a place like this? Is that why you are treating these villages as if they are subjects of your sick experiments.

        • 3
          0

          a14455 ,
          No….what you call as smoking is clarity that the Masses contain in light of the environmental pollution they have to endure.
          *
          Yes, we have to re-experiment on a higher level, because the the sick money-making experiment that keeps you nice and comfortable on the skirts of the US forests, is destroying our Motherland.

          • 0
            5

            Laughable. You live in the US and have probably never been to a national park or forest or worse has not even done the basic research that would have shown what you were spewing here is false.

            What is destroying the motherland is foolishness. not My living on the “skirts”

            • 3
              0

              Plenty of forests in PA.

              • 0
                3

                lol. yes, of course, but you have never been to one. !!!

                • 1
                  0

                  Have trekked through a number of them…..camped once.

        • 2
          0

          She does not seem to smoke anything but you sound to be a ICE consumer …

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVGFqKgRwCk

          Rajapakshe backlickers will have to agree with Mr AKD . If you really feel like SRILANKEN, please come with constructive arguments for all what AKD has raised in the Video.

      • 6
        0

        Ms Ramaona F,

        You may be right – but those who have come to power today, would not care much about the conservation of world heritage sites, but more into their own pocket filling tactics.

        Prior to 2015, they proved it well, but very same people elected them again.

        The kind of conservations, should not be matters of politicians, but the specialists in Geology, Ecology and archaeology to see the impact of the kind of road and constructions. People and their representatives would not see it right – the incumbent president to go to the site to the manner, WORLD s clown Trump did it to Kenosha lately, is a funny step.#
        Instead, he could ask the men in responsible ministry to show up there. and collect the ideas of people.

        They in general dont care much about secured future for their lovely ones.
        Just imagine, why unexpected floods damged the country 4 years ago ? Even colombo was submerged as never before. Why do srilanken experts on the subject stay as if they are no different to the sloths in amasona jungles ? (https://www.rainforestcruises.com/jungle-blog/sloths-in-the-amazon-rainforest)

        Rajaakshe s illegal plans without proper feasiblity studies destroyed almost everything sofar. Now they are back to power to continue where they were stopped by 2015.

        • 4
          0

          cotninuing


          . In north america, Austraila, Africa and Indian subcontinent they have lot s of space to build their roads and constructions, but smaller countries should not emulate them. It is no correct to compare the road and constructions in the Netherlands with that of Germany, UK, Portugal, France and Spain.

          What matters is we dont have many UNESSCO world heritage sites, but it is just 8.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_Sri_Lanka

          If we would not protect their sites from being damaged by politician’s games, there will be lot more landslides and floods so that we all would have to face the the unprecedented incidents of disasters. Just because an uneducated family thinks it should be made for the benefit of the nation, it should not continue but through proper feasiblity studies only they continue road constructions.
          :
          Geologists, ecologists, and other professionals, over to you, please wake up from your long slumber, not just people, but the land is being destroyed by the bunch of thugs in power today. :

  • 9
    3

    Jack of all the trade master of none.blood is thicker than water.is it SINHARAJAH FOREST come on you have 2/3 hanging make it MHINDARAJAH FOREST.

    • 9
      2

      Kallathoni war criminal forest can be an ideal name.

    • 2
      8

      Paragon,
      Master of eliminating Tamil terrorist barbarians who bragged that they cannot be defeated militarily.

      “Jack of all the trade master of none.”

    • 6
      0

      Paragon,
      .
      Not just Sinhalaraja deforestration, but imagine how they buried it in Kurunagala. The man who is said to be the president, had the temerity to add ” Is that Buwanekabahu not the son of that Restaurant owner ?”. People would not care much about the facts, so long politicians behave like ultra idiots.

      I think the song below would guide you more. I restrict to few lines. I am so fed up being unable to see any goodthing is happening in my home country.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdlXWhK_b8g

    • 2
      0

      Sri Lanka is MHINDARAJAH FOREST.
      The animals living there have IQ well below that of a monkey!
      you can detect some of the animals roaming here in CT

  • 5
    18

    The author in writing this article has highlighted many aspects in decision-making which any good manager should learn as lessons. The author highlights the trips made by those in power to inspect at site. Unfortunately, in this country, the facts can be be reported with a twist. I get the impression upon reading the article that the author gives less priority for proper access to remote villages. If so, I dissent. It is a basic human need and consequently should be a human right to have proper road access, and other utility services. In doing so there would be construction of all sorts. Any construction causes an impact on the environment and the challenge is to provide human needs with the least amount of impact on mother nature. In my opinion the construction of the road for this village is a must and am satisfied that no land belonging to the Sinharaja forest was acquired for the construction.

  • 15
    3

    Was wondering who will be sensible and right on Sinharaja. Thought the entire topic will fall by the roadside, now that the president and his men have marched down the initial footpath. But alas, in 90 days there will be a new road. Buses and traffic will commence shortly. Roadside stalls and shops will mushroom. Whispers of a tourist hotel may be true. Development will be brought to the Sinharaja Forest like a sword thrust to the heart.

  • 18
    3

    In reference to 1972 the writer may be putting it too strongly in speaking of a historical cycle at work, but about the backlash, one need have no doubt. But no one can predict how it would work out. Firstly, the men of 1972 were mostly considered wise men. Many of my batch of students expected great things from them including the writer and another occasional contributor, Sunil Abeyratne, both my companions of old. Even as the author’s piece above indicates, there is hardly anyone today we would dare to call wise. Even if G.L. Pieris is wise I wonder if anyone would care to listen to him if he were to speak honestly. What we have is a leader groping with the military behind him. The military, as we have seen in the course of our insurgencies is a very fallible institution.
    Did the wise men of 1972 foresee that their actions in forging a constitution that cornered the Tamils, followed by those of JR, whose arrogance dwarfed his wisdom, would by a freak create and bring to the fore the LTTE; a movement that would hold the country and the military, besides the Tamils, to ransom?
    There is no sense in moving on in denial of the massive killings without any attempt at reparation, which is the first step to healing. We may not see an upsurge in violence as in the past. But we may be left alone to scrape a living as a mediocre and forgotten people, a people of no quality.

    • 4
      17

      Rajan Hoole
      “What we have is a leader groping with the military behind him. The military, as we have seen in the course of our insurgencies is a very fallible institution.”

      Sri Lanka Armed Forces did a great job eliminating LTTE Tamil terrorist barbarians who slaughtered Native Sinhalayo for three decades.
      Sri Lanka Armed Forces also did a wonderful job in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
      ===
      “There is no sense in moving on in denial of the massive killings without any attempt at reparation, which is the first step to healing.”

      Massive killings of Native Sinhalayo were done by LTTE Tamil terrorist barbarians to grab their land to create a separate State for the descendants of Dravida slaves brought by Portuguese and dum ped in Yapanaya. ‘Para’ Demalu who launched the terrorist campaign against Sinhalayo and caused a massive destruction should pay reparation.

      • 3
        0

        Eagle Eye,
        .
        .
        Rajan Hoole
        is a man who defied the LTTE with greater courage than you could even dream of.
        .
        Also, note that he and I both reveal our identities clearly.
        .
        I know that Rajan has gone slightly off-topic, but he is one who has so much reverence for life, that he sustains himself only from food that is obtainable from non-animal sources.
        .
        I don’t know whether Rajan remembers how some of the Prose Excerpts in our O. Level English Literature syllabus had a passage describing the pain that even plants feel.
        .
        Still, being a vegan is as far as any homo sapien can go!
        .
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe aka “Sinhala_Man”

  • 22
    1

    Compared to state leaders of the early independence years, today’s lot are not statesmen. They lack the intellect, the balance, the integrity, sincerity and education that comes from a cultured background. Instead, they soon acquire a street-wise sense of bravado and jingoism that sits well with the hoi-polloi that form the ranks of the voting public. They too are largely uncouth, unsophisticated, crass, monolingual toads in the well who hardly know anything about how the world outside works. State leaders must unfortunately adopt the low values and lack of ethics in order to remain popular. So they will cut roads, rape the land, tread on minorities or stop imports on whim. It has nothing to do with national policy or development. That is mere bunkum, designed to fool the people until the next round of votes and drunken cries of “Jayaweyva”…

  • 4
    10

    I opposed Rajapaksas until stateless racists’ threats resurfaced. Rajapaksas are the best bet to destroy them. Gotabaya is wrong here but what better choice SL has? We certainly do not need another 07 September 1978 (terrorists bombed an Air Ceylon civilian plane) and 21 April 2019 (terrorists bombed civilians in churches and hotels).

    • 9
      1

      Gattam, Ok, we certainly need the SL air-force to bomb the church with more than 200 civilians in Navaly and to bomb the orphanage residence in Mullaitivu. And the army to bomb blasts the genitals of a poor mother after raping her in Mannar. Do you need more facts/evidences about the heroic SL soldiers? Go and get areal buddhist life man, not the fake/thug buddhist life.

      • 3
        8

        They all are LTTE terrorists, not innocent citizens, millions of unarmed Vietnam civilians killed by Americans. LTTE killed Muslims worshipper while they are praying inside the mosque. All done by LTTE human butchers

    • 1
      0

      Tamil jingoist readers and writers will do well to note how deplorably GATAM’s comments have changed during the past six months or so.
      .
      Yes, GATAM, although I don’t know who you are, I deplore the change that is coming over you.
      .
      Could you please explain to me what the adjective “stateless” in your first sentence means?

  • 3
    2

    Environment stupid!

  • 11
    2

    Trump doesn’t believe in climate change, Bolsonaro (retired army general turned politician) of Brazil is happy clear the Amazon rain forests for ‘development’, so who can blame GR? These are all self serving, egoistic politicians with limited education who believe they are practical, no nonsense leaders that know what is best for their country. In their understanding, UNESCO & environmental NGOs are just busybodies who block the path to development.

    SL has given the mandate on a platter for a perceived tough, result oriented leader to ‘save’ the country from economic catastrophe & anarchy (from ethnic & religious minority). It will be future generations that will decide if SL made the right choice now.

    • 6
      0

      Trump sees the climate change option as seriously damaging the American economy. They have no other way to turn given their history and economic setup. Biden’s New Green Deal might deal with climate change, but with control and forcement of other countries so the American economy keeps balanced.
      *
      But what warrants Motherland to sshamefully want to behave like Trump and America, is the question. One thing: Trump is not cutting down any forests for extra development.

      • 3
        5

        really .. where will the Alaska pipeline be built if not through the forest? There are skyways for pipelines. lol

        • 3
          0

          a14455,
          It goes mostly through prairie land, not forests. Yet it is not a wide road. The amount of space it takes is minimal because it is a long pipe. And much design has gone into keeping it non-polluting.

          • 4
            0

            Sorry…that’s the Keystone pipeline that Trump was involved in. As per the Alaskan pipeline, It’s for oil! True, sectors are taken for the pipeline (which is a thin long tube with not much width), and environmental protectors since this decade (after 2010) at least are stringently put in place.
            *
            The Alaskan forest, whilst an important part of biodiversity, is nothing compared to the biodiversity of the rain-forests. Guess if oil is discovered in the middle of the Sinharaja, it would be incumbent on us to use it. But still that is far, far, better than having 700 families in the middle of Sinharaja clamoring for modernity.

    • 3
      13

      Raj-UK,
      Native Sinhalayo have been going through hell because Sinhala politicians did not take right decisions in the past. If they chased all Dravidians brought by colonial parasites soon after Sinhale got Independence, situation could have been completely different.
      • No Kthoni Chelvanayakam to form Federal Party.
      • No Vaddukoddai (Sinhala name Batakotte) Resolution to create a separate State for the descendants of Dravida slaves brought by Portuguese and dumped in Yapanaya.
      • No LTTE terrorists slaughtering Native Sinhalayo.
      • No 13th Amendment.
      • No IPKF killing Sinhalayo.
      • No Viggy to humiliate Mahawansha.
      • No destruction of Sinhala Buddhist heritage sites in NE.

      • 8
        1

        Mr Mahindapala, how hateful are your comments? How do you sleep at night? Is this how you have trained your kids? Is this the legacy you wish to leave behind to those who will inherit this earth from you?

        Surely even spite has its bounds?

      • 7
        0

        Eagle Eye

        You are moving away from the subject but since you addressed your comment to me, let me give my opinion.

        I assume you are living in SL with deep sentiments of a ‘pure’ Sinhala Buddhist culture, the same ideology of white supremacists in the US & right wing nationalists in Europe. The white supremacists in US have got their historical facts wrong because, apart from the native Americans who are, incidentally, still marginalised in their own country, just as the aborigines in Australia, white people are all immigrants from Europe. Even so, would you say the slaves brought by white slave traders to America, just as the Tamils to SL hundreds of years ago by the colonial masters, were not sent back to Africa is the same ‘mistake’ of our own past politicians? In which case, do you think the US today would be a better place without all these black protests & violence? ‘Ethnic cleansing’ as tried by Nazi Germany, Eastern Europe & Africa has not worked & is not possible. Countries were built by migrants & if I am not mistaken, most of us in SL have originally come from India.

        I accepted British citizenship because it offered me a relatively better lifestyle & though, undoubtedly, there is inherent racism & discrimination,

    • 2
      0

      Good to see both RTF and Palitha Rajapaksa both sticking to principles, despite all the provocation.

  • 14
    1

    I am not surprised that some letter writing arsonists have attacked Rajan Philip… If we give in to short term gains, we will suffer long term pains, nay irreversible ecological disasters which many parts of the world are suffering.
    Our Saffron gangs, should focus on preservation of ecology, instead of sowing hatred against minorities and scarring the face of Mother Lanka as an intolerant society, and terrorizing the non-Sinhala areas with archaeological digs meant to deprive the minority of their birth rights, land rights and their right to live without the tyranny of extremist Buddhism, and they must uphold the teachings of the Buddha practising Ahimsa (do no harm), Karuna (compassion), and Metta (lovingkindness).
    Buddhism is well connected with ecology, with its philosophical insight into the interconnectedness and thoroughgoing interdependence of all conditioned things, with its thesis that happiness is to be found through the restraint of desire in a life of contentment rather than through the proliferation of desire, with its goal of enlightenment through renunciation and contemplation and its ethic of non-injury and boundless loving-kindness for all beings, Buddhism provides all the essential elements for a relationship to the natural world characterized by respect, care, and compassion.” Pratitya-samutpada or paticca-samuppada refers to mutual causality, the interconnectedness and interdependence of all conditioned things.

  • 11
    1

    Thank you Rajan Philips, for another masterpiece. Thank you Rajan Hoole, too, for your subtle but incisive comment.

    We may sow today with abandon, but we will reap widely tomorrow.

    The catastrophic mess created by SWRDB and JRJ will torment their souls for ever, if they ever had one. But the average Lankan will not care.

    What Gota is doing with 20A will come back to bite not his, but Sri Lanka’s collective bum in years to come. We thought that we could not get worse than MR, his band of family brigands and their bootlickers, but this will look like a walk in the park when we see a future president with the intellect of a gnat but the ego of a blue whale running riot!!

    ^^No one knows when and how the SLPP’s currently embryonic 20A will get its nemesis. But it will come^^ So true!

  • 7
    2

    Only on the outskirts. Then one has to park and then walk on the forest paths to the campsites that are also on the outskirts. To explore deep into the forest, one has to go through the forest paths (if there are any). And they certainly don’t have any settlements.

  • 4
    0

    It’s nice to see how predictable the doesn’t-deserve-a-vote moda rice packet voters are out in number to make any excuse possible to defend the inexcusable criminal actions of their hasn’t-got-an-education-war-criminal of a president.

    The same moda rice packet voters who would have taken to the streets and cried if this were done by anyone other than the criminals they think are going to bring back some non existent past glory days of sinhala rule XD. How pathetic and ignorant.

  • 6
    0

    “….what Sinharaja forest needs is not “roadside decision”…”

    Gota is clever and even the so called intellectuals like Rajan has fell for it.

    if we acknowledge there is a road side in the forest its exactly what the Rajapakses end game is!

    This is an acknowledgement “there is a road” even though the road is not complete.

    The protest is to stop the road being built any further.

    There are so many other forests being destroyed,
    Trees over 200 years old being felled!
    No one knows who is giving the orders and who is benefitting!

    “….what Sinharaja forest and all other forests being destroyed need is not a decision at a drop of a leaf”!!!!

  • 0
    0

    PART ONE
    .
    a14455,
    .
    I don’t like the way you keep bullying RTF.
    At least she is a real person, who speaks sincerely:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-american-midterm-elections-vis-a-vis-the-sri-lankan-constitution/
    .
    You have given yourself a pseudonym that tells us nothing about yourself except that it implies that you were born on the 14th of April 1955.
    .
    She has written only that one article on CT – which fared disastrously. She had already revealed quite a bit of her life to us. I’ve just re-read that article of hers now; you will see that I have made no attempt to speak on her behalf because she was trying to justify the Maithripala-Mahinda “coup”, which I felt was all wrong. I was making many comments elsewhere, where I made that point. However, I was also stating clearly that our protests may turn into blunders if they made Ranil Wickremasinghe feel that we were enamoured with him.

    .
    On that score, RTF, has been proved right, so the article doesn’t sound so foolish. However, she is now critical of the Rajapaksas for their shocking rape of the Sinharaja.
    .
    She is authentic, you, “know all”, sound phony.

  • 0
    0

    PART TWO
    .

    You ridicule everybody except the powers-that-be, but your sentiments sound hollow. I’d like to see you interacting with those villagers; you are incapable of empathising with them, so please stop spouting your cliches.
    .
    People like me do what we can. I’ve never been into the Sinharaja, but I have visited this place that is similar in many respects:
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya
    .
    Being largely ignorant of Botany, I think myself unworthy to venture into the sacred Sinharaja – and I don’t have the means. On Monday, the 24th of August I did provide the opportunity for the wife and three children of Prof. Jeevan Hoole (who has done so much for us – even if it now seems futile) to visit the Horton Plains. I put them up in my modest house, and they paid for the van to transport us all, while Jeevan stayed in Nuwara-Eliya on post-election work.
    .

    By furthering the cause of rogues, you do immense harm. I genuinely feel the outrage that I’ve been expressing, but I don’t pretend to be authoritative. Rajan Philips has written with feeling about a very important subject. We could do without your arrogance.

  • 1
    0

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