President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday (23) said that the government has not given any land area in the Wilpattu forest reserve to any individual or institution during the last four years.
He stated this in reference to allegations leveled against the government regarding the issue of deforestation and alleged clearing of forest areas for resettlement within the Wilpattu reserve.
He stated that the Wilpattu issue has become a much discussed topic among the country’s Buddhist clergy and citizens while even the media is very heavily reporting on alleged land allocations within the Wilpattu forest reserve.
“We have not given even an inch of land in the Wilpattu forest reserve to any individual or institution within the past 4 years – the period from January 08, 2015 to today,” he said.
The President made these comments at the end of his address, during the National Ceremony to announce the proposal made by Sri Lanka to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare the Theravada Tripitaka as a World Heritage.
President Sirisena yesterday officially handed over the proposal to the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Ms. Hanaa Singer, at the ceremony which was held at the Maha Maluwa (Great Terrace) of the premises of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy.