Ministers admit to state offences in forest clearances

Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne has backed environmentalists’ claims that forest destruction has increased, pledging to throw resources into stopping culprits, pointing the finger at representatives of his own government.

Environmentalists bluntly blame the government for endorsing forest clearances, citing intrusions even into elephant corridors.

“Regional politicians have grabbed land, given land to private companies and have nearly cleared 200 biodiversity-rich areas,” activist Ven. Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thera told the Sunday Times.

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