Controversy Surrounds Urban Sanctuary Development: Wetlands and Biodiversity at Stake

The Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte Sanctuary, encompassing 449 hectares, an oasis for migratory birds and aquatic life,  finds itself in the midst of tensions concerning urbanisation and construction projects which could threaten its integrity and ecological balance.

Last year, vigilant residents near the sanctuary noticed construction machinery within the protected grounds. In just a span of twelve months, the verdant tree line that once graced Alakeshwara Road in Kotte succumbed to development, transforming the scenery profoundly. The rapid alterations have triggered inquiries about the true motives behind the construction and the sanctuary’s impending fate.

Authorities initially claimed that construction approvals were granted for a canal to protect against encroachment and bolster flood defenses. But investigations by the Sunday Times have revealed a different story – the cut canal seems to be part of a plan to create a private biodiversity park.

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