EFL, on the request of the villagers, investigates into the forest clearance within the Ehetuwewa Divisional Secretariat in the Kurunegala District. The forest clearance is being carried out over 1000 acres of temple land which has been given to two multinational companies. The causes for concern are the far-reaching environmental impacts:
- Increased human- elephant conflict, as between 200-300 elephants habitat the forest and surrounding catchment.
- Land clearance along the catchment will lead to siltation, threatening the livelihoods (small- scale cultivation) of the people, as well as the wildlife dependent on it as a source of water.
- Illegal quarrying has been established directly adjacent to an archaeological site, where 8 of the 9 existing artefacts have been completely destroyed.
The most important objective is to completely halt or limit the immediate destruction to the forest currently occurring, with the ultimate establishment of an Elephant Management Range (EMR), which can be supported by the members of the community, due to their livelihood interests.
Following the second site visit, EFL met with the Buddhist Affairs Commissioner General and two Monks from the Lankawiriduwagama Nakolagane Purana Viharaya, at the Buddhist Affairs Commission.
The Buddhist Affairs Commissioner instructed the Monks, to complete the survey without further deforestation, obtain all relevant approvals and requested an alternative plan for a less- destructive programme on a smaller scale. The Commissioner further instructed the monks that no work was to commence before the authorized EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), AIA (Archaeological Impact Assessment) and demarcation surveys were completed, without further damage to the forest.
Following this a joint inspection with Regional Director CEA Kurunegala District and EFL was implemented. Deforested areas and road network, as well as the illegal quarry and site of archaeological value was inspected by the Regional Director.