Sri Lanka court halts tourism development on Eastern islet

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal has halted the construction of tourist facilities on a small islet in the east coast after an environmental organization protested that it was done without required environmental clearances.

The CA issued a stay order on the construction activities by a state agency Sallitivu Islet in Batticaloa, until the next hearing on August 04.

The Environmental Foundation Ltd, had gone to court saying the District Secretariat started a project to build accommodation and tourist facilities in the islet without a license from the Department of Coast Conservation and an environmental impact assesment.

The EFL in it pleadings filed by counsel Viran Corea, Sarita de Fonseka and Subashini Samaraarchchi, said the islet had 50 native species of plants, including one national endangered, two nationally vulnerable and four near threatened species according to its ecological profile.

It also had a mudflat used by migrant bird species.

EFL pleaded that it had been informed that a decision was taken to go ahead without a license because, due to time taken to get it, the funding period will be exceeded.

The islet was only 275 meters long and 155 meters wide and was seasonally connected to the mainland through a sand bar.

EFL said tourism was a ‘non-consumptive’ use of the islet, but it had to be regulated and used in a sustainable manner.

EFL said it had found construction in progress, with tyre tracks and some vegetation cleared, and plastic refuse scattered about. (Colombo/July05/2018)