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COPA has decided to appoint a Joint Committee to preserve Muthurajawela Sanctuary

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The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) has decided to appoint a Joint Committee consisting of all relevant stakeholders responsible for the conservation of the Muthurajawela Sanctuary. 

The decision was taken at the Committee on Public Accounts which met in Parliament recently under the chairmanship of Prof. Tissa Vitarana.

Although Muthurajawela was gazetted as a sanctuary by the Gazette Notification No. 947/13 of 1996, the Committee pointed out that the boundaries of the sanctuary have not been demarcated thus far. 

The committee also inquired as to the reasons for identifying the only 1285 hectares of Muthurajawela as a sanctuary even though the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) had identified 2569 hectares as an ecosystem. 

The Committee focused on the importance of protecting this wetland in line with the Ramsar Convention entered into force in Sri Lanka on 15 October 1990. 

Representatives of the Muthurajawela Protection Organization and the Muthurajawela Protection Archbishop Environment Committee also made a special presentation on the conservation of Muthurajawela.

The Committee also noted the failure of the relevant agencies to properly identify the total extent of lands in the Muthurajawela ecosystem exceeding 6000 hectares and the extent of private lands and government lands within the sanctuary.

Although a number of complaints have been received by the government institutes such as Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation, the Central Environmental Authority, the Urban Development Authority and the Agrarian Services Department regarding the illegal filling of lands belonging to the Muthurajawela Ecological Zone, the COPA has drawn the attention for not taking the proper action in this regard.

In addition, the Committee expressed its views on how to overcome the weaknesses of sharing the results of biodiversity researches and surveys among all wildlife conservation agencies.

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