Home » » Illegal Soragune Hotel Project Threatens Man And Nature

Illegal Soragune Hotel Project Threatens Man And Nature

Written By NAFSO on Wednesday, November 07, 2012 | 3:39:00 PM


Objections have been raised by environmentalists and authorities including the Irrigation Department and the Central Environment Authority (CEA) against the proposed hotel and golf course project in the Soragune forest reserve in Badulla.
The Center for Environmental Justice has filed a case before the Court of Appeal against the project. Case number CA.AP.No. 671/2011 is to be taken up for hearing on November 5th.
The application has highlighted issues ranging from the threat to the Veli Oya water resource zone in the Soragune area, the dispute over the ownership of the land and the non-receipt of approval from the CEA. The CEA has informed court that it is aware of a massive luxury hotel with a golf ground inclusive of swimming pools, 18 hole golf course, 5,426 rooms, 922 building units with gross floor area of a total of 226,350 m2 proximately) etc., are proposed to be constructed on the land.  The Irrigation Department has objected to the project claiming the adverse  impact it would have
on the irrigation system in the area resulting in the CEA deciding against granting approval for the project.
The hotel and golf course is to be built in a 628-acre extent of land located in the Veli Oya water resource zone and if completed, it would have an adverse impact on farmers in the Badulla as well as the Moneragala District. The lands for the hotel have been acquired from the Forest Department and the Kuda Kataragama devala. Environmentalists say that the land marked for the project is the catchement area for the Veli Oya and Kalkan Oya. Making submission to court, the CEA, which is the fourth respondent in the case, has stated that it had not processed the environment impact assessment (EIA) due to certain issues over the project. The CEA has stated that the company that has initiated the project, Alpha and Omega Developers, has requested for an EIA but the Authority had not processed the request due to issues over the ownership of the land and objections raised by the Irrigation Department.
On December 5, 2011, the CEA Chairman Charitha Herath in a letter to the Director General of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has said the ownership of the project land was unclear since the Basnayake Nilame of the Soragune Devala had in writing on November 3, 2011 informed the CEA that the land belonged to the devala. Herath has also noted that the Irrigation Department on August 16, 2011 had also stated that it could not recommend the project due to the adverse impact on the Veli Oya irrigation scheme. Director of the Irrigation Department, Engineer Y. Abdul Majeed has in his letter to the CEA informed that the project could not be recommended and that a field study had been carried out in the area. He has stated that it was found that the proposed project is to take place in the upper catchments of the Veli Oya irrigation anicut. He has added that the land is located in the water resource area of the Kalkan Oya that provides water to two other streams. According to the Irrigation director, clearing the land for the proposed project would have an impact on the water supply to the Veli Oya irrigation system. The Veli Oya irrigation system currently provides water to 27 tanks, which in turn irrigates 3,000 acres of paddy land during both Yala and Maha seasons. Majeed has also pointed out that the  water levels in the Veli Oya anicut would minimize when the water required for the hotel and golf course are pumped from the irrigation scheme. Environmentalists have however alleged that despite concerns raised by the Irrigation Department and the non-issuance of an EIA by the CEA, clearing of the jungle area and marking of trees to be cut down was already being carried out in the Soragune jungle. Environmentalists have explained that apart from the livelihoods of thousands of families dependent on the Veli Oya irrigation scheme, the area was also rich in bio-diversity and that an endemic plant, Uva Mandora was also found in the area. Interestingly, the lands marked for the hotel project is also said to block the elephant corridor between the Uda Walawa National Park and Bogahapitiya sanctuary. Convener of the Soragune Protection Society, Ven. Nellivala Sumedhalankara Thero said that the hotel and golf course project would have an adverse impact even on farmers in the Moneragala District due to the affects on the Veli Oya irrigation system.
He said that the people have raised objections to the project due to the threat to their livelihoods due to the impact bon water resources, problems with wild elephants and cultural issues. Meanwhile, Basnayake Nilame of the Kuda Kataragama Devala in Soragune, Janaka Ravindra Kalupahana said that 625 acres of the land marked for the hotel and gold course project belonged to the devala.On March 8, 2011, the Basnayake Nilame has written to Alpha and Omega Developers Pvt Ltd asking the company to discuss with him the details about the land and the project.
All these documents have been filed before court including a letter by Uva Province Chief Minister Shashindra Rajapaksa, who has also opposed the proposed project.
Rajapaksa has on letter dated July 5, 2011 to District Secretary Rohana Keerthi Dissanayake has asked that steps be taken to stop the project since it would have an adverse impact on over 5,000 farmer families and affect several irrigation systems in the area.
The Thanamalvila Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, Wasantha Liyanagamage, Moneragala District Secretary and the Haldummulla Divisional Secretary have all expressed concerns over the project highlighting the adverse impact it would have on the area.

Hotel Project Will Have An Impact
The hotel and golf course is to be built in a 628-acre extent of land located in the Veli Oya water resource zone and if completed, it would have an adverse impact on farmers in the Badulla as well as the Moneragala District. The lands for the hotel have been acquired from the Forest Department and the Kuda Kataragama devala. Environmentalists say that the land marked for the project is the catchement area for the Veli Oya and Kalkan Oya.
Clearing the land for the proposed project would have an impact on the water supply to the Veli Oya irrigation system.
The Veli Oya irrigation system currently provides water to 27 tanks, which in turn irrigates 3,000 acres of paddy land during both Yala and Maha seasons.

————————————————-
Threat To Livelihoods
The hotel and golf course project would have an adverse impact even on farmers in the Moneragala District due to the affects on the Veli Oya irrigation system.
He said that the people have raised objections to the project due to the threat to their livelihoods due to the impact bon water resources, problems with wild elephants and cultural issues.
Convener of the Soragune Protection Society, Ven. Nellivala Sumedhalankara Thero.
Source:http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/10/20/illegal-soragune-hotel-project-threatens-man-and-nature/
Share this article :

+ comments + 10 comments

Post a Comment

NAFSO




NAFSO Convenersdiary




WOMEN




YOUTH




LAND




ACN




IDP




PPD




SRIVIMUKTHI




www.nafsojurney.blogspot.com

 
Support : Creating Website | Johny Template | Mas Template
Copyright © 2013. NAFSO: Towards a Fisher People's Movement - All Rights Reserved
Template Created by Creating Website Published by Mas Template
Proudly powered by Blogger