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Muthurajawela: Lands of legal settlers will not be acquired – State Minister Nalaka Godahewa

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State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Community Cleanliness Dr. Nalaka Godahewa yesterday said that no areas in which people live legally will be acquired through the Muthurajawela Gazette Notification.

“Action will be taken against those who acquired lands in a fraudulent manner,” Dr. Godahewa said.

The State Minister stated that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has not proposed to take over any of the areas legally inhabited, through the Gazette Notification issued by the President on October 7 under the Urban Special Provisions Act.

He was speaking to the media at his Ministry in Suhurupaya, Battaramulla regarding the situation that has arisen in connection with Muthurajawela.

“However, even within the area designated as a sanctuary by the Wildlife Department in 1996, settlements are now located and the new Gazette Motification says they will not be harmed so that they can live in their own habitats and this will only stop further illegal landfilling,” he explained.

He added that the Gazette Notification mentions a number of Grama Seva Divisions in the Negombo Electorate including Munnakkaraya, Pitipana, Bolawalana, Kurana and Kapumgoda due to the boundaries of the lagoon because of the fact that they are bordering the lagoon and that it has not been proposed through this Gazette Notification to acquire any of those divisions mentioned.

He said that politicians from the ruling and opposition parties who had expressed views about Muthurajawela had met individually as well as in groups and the situation had been explained in detail to them.

Godahewa clarified that, subsequent to more discussions, there is room for the lagoon to be removed from the Gazette Notification if necessary.

The State Minister also said that those who oppose the Government’s decision on behalf of future generations should keep in mind that if the remaining Wetlands are not protected, there will be severe floods in the Gampaha district in the future.

The Gazette clearly states that Google indicates the boundaries of the territories proposed to be conserved by the Government. The vast majority of this proposed Conservation Zone comprises the Negombo Lagoon.

When the boundaries of the lagoon are shown in Google coordinates, the names of the Grama Sewa Divisions bordering the lagoon have to be mentioned.

But this does not mean that the lands beyond the lagoon in the Grama Sewa Divisions have been included in this Gazette Notification. For example, it is not proposed to take over a single house in in 156 A Munnakkara North, 160 E Udayathoppu South, 156 Munnakkara East, 162 Pitipana North, 162 C Pitipana Central, 162 K South Pitipana, 157 East Bolawalana, 157 E Kurana West, 163 Thalahena, 163 E Dungalpitiya, 156 Siriwardena Place, 163 Settappaduwa, 163 A Kapunagoda Grama Sewa Officers’ Divisions the Negombo Divisional Secretariat Division with this Gazette Notification. Many of the Catholic churches that have been protesting in recent days are located outside the proposed area.

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