Colombo, July 22 (Ban/ AD): Appeal court has been informed by the Director General of Forest Conservation Department that it opposes felling of trees in the Kallaru Forest Reserve Zone near the Wilpattu National Forest. Appeal Court bench consisting of judges Janaka de Silva and Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne heard the submission by forest department while hearing a petition filed by the Environmental Justice Center.
The court directed the State Counsel to submit a copy of the written notice of the Director General to former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, who is named as a respondent in the case. The court ordered the petition to be taken up on the 31st July.
The appeal court was informed about unauthorized constructions by certain persons in the Marichchukattu and Kallaru forest areas about 400 meters from the Wilpattu National Forest Zone. The petition states that the clearing of forests in this manner is a punishable offense under Section 3 of the Forest Conservation Act. If anyone found guilty would face up to five years imprisonment and Rs. 100000 fine. The court has also been urged to ban cutting of trees and prevent any further encroachment.