- Rehabilitation of Neluwa – Lankagama road to be completed within 90 days
- No harm should be caused to forest reserve and ecosystem
- Permanent bridge replacing hanging bridge
- 2100 plants to be added to the reserve
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa reiterates his intention to fulfill the needs of the people without causing harm to the environment.
During the last few days, electronic, print and social media reported that rehabilitation work of Neluwa – Lankagama road is causing damage to Sinharaja Forest Reserve and the surrounding ecosystem. President Rajapaksa visited Neluwa Lankagama today (29) to get firsthand information of the situation and to obtain views of the experts and the residents in the area.
After inspecting suspended development work President pointed out that the long-felt need of the rehabilitation of the road should be carried out while protecting the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and nearby vicinities.
The history of Lankagama area dates back to King Walagamba period. Tea plantation is the main livelihood of the people living there. For over a period of 100 years villagers transport their tea leaves to Deniyaya and Neluwa through the road close to Sinharaja Forest.
The unsatisfactory condition of the road hinders transportation of patients to Neluwa, Udugama and Karapitiya hospitals. It also causes many hardships to the children pursuing their education as well as to the day-to-day activities of the villagers. Rehabilitating “Neluwa- Lankagama- Pitadeniya” road was commenced as a measure to address these difficulties.
Simultaneously, 120 feet long and 6 feet wide bridge will be constructed to replace the existing hanging bridge over Ginganga in Lankagama. This will facilitate children in Wathugala, Lankagama, Nilwella, Kolonthotuwa and Pitadeniya to reach their schools.
President directed the officials to distribute 3 plants to each of 700 families in Lankagama and to get the families to nurture the total of 2100 plants and add them to the forest reserve.
People in the area said that they protected Sinharaja Forest and its eco system from generation to generation and strongly objected to the moves by certain environmentalists who act without proper knowledge for obstructing one of their basic needs being met. A father who was carrying his toddler on his shoulder requested the President “please do not let our children to suffer the way we did”.
Maha Sangha blessed the President for taking the decision to rehabilitate the road for the benefit of the residents in the area who suffer due to lack of basic facilities.
Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando, Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation C.B. Ratnayake, Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Plantation Ramesh Pathirana, State Minister Mohan P. de Silva, Members of Parliament Sampath Athukorala, Nipuna Ranawaka, Chandima Weerakkodi, Weerasumana Weerasinha, Governor Willie Gamage and officials of several Ministries were present on the occasion.