Anawilundawa Wetland clearing: Businessman, backhoe driver granted bail

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The businessman and the backhoe driver arrested over the clearing of the Anawilundawa Wetland Sanctuary in Mundalama, Puttalam, have been released on bail.

Chilaw District Judge Manjula Thilakaratne delivered the order today (18) when the duo was produced before courts.

The suspects have been imposed two personal bails valued at Rs. 10 million.

The district judge has ordered the Arachchikattuwa Police to submit every piece of evidence in this case to the court and to arrest any other person linked to the clearing of the sanctuary.

On August 25, the mangrove ecosystem in the sanctuary has been cleared using machinery illegally. The area where the illegal activity had taken place is approximately 0.697 hectares, according to Secretary to the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation M.K.Bandula Harischandra.

Subject Minister C.B. Rathnayake later gave instructions to take action in this regard and the wildlife officials had reported the matter to the Chilaw Magistrate’s Court.

Further investigations were subsequently launched with the police to disclose the suspects and the case items.

The backhoe driver was taken into custody by the Arachchikattuwa Police on the 28th of August at his home in Kiriyankalliya, Mundalama.

Based on the information obtained from him, the 35-year-old businessman, who hails from the Udappuwa area, was arrested the following day.  The duo was subsequently placed under remand custody.

This 1,397-hectare land was declared as a sanctuary on 11 May 1997 in terms of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance.