Protected Area status remains unchanged

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Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga shelved his Cabinet paper seeking to remove several acres of the Wilpattu National Park, where a church is located, from ‘Protected Area’ status because of the objections raised by several Cabinet ministers yesterday.

He had submitted the Cabinet memorandum on an earlier occasion, however, Buddha Sasana Minister Gamini Jayawickrama, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa raised objections to this move at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. They said there were other places of religious worship within the national parks, and this move would set a bad precedent with requests to have them also removed from ‘Protected Area’ status.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet memo was deferred for a later date.