Dole Legalizing The Illegality In Sri Lanka
“Good governance” government have been trying to legalize the illegal land ownership of, ‘DoleCompany”, lands which are located at Kudaa Oya and Demodara areas of Moneragala district nearby to Lunugamwehera National Park.
Dole company has been operating commercial banana plantations for export purposes in these two areas of lands which are belonged to Department of ForestConservation in Sri Lanka.Even company accepted that their land ownership in these two plants is illegal at a court. Under the previous government these activities continued did those things which a help of previous corrupted rulers.Unfortunately,this government who came into the power to end the corruption, has been contributing to the massive deforestation. The starting of legalization process began with 15th of September 2016, cabinet paper to regularize the ownership of KudaOya and Demodara lands.While Department of Forest Conservation working to take court orders against that company,government is trying to avoid taking orders and give these lands to illegal owners-the multinational company.
Dole company is one of the largest multinational companies of the world which started their operations in Sri Lanka in previous government. The company is famous for maintaining plantations of fruits and other crops for export purposes throughout the world. Their history has full of controversies and functioning of this company was challenged many countries in the world. Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten’s film “Bananas’, artistically reveal the dark side of this multinational company.
Sri Lanka and Dole
Even in year 2011, they allegedly tried to establish banana plants in Somawathi National Park according to environmental activists. However, due to heavy protests, they had to abandon the plan. Anyway, after that incident, they have been able to establish another banana plantation in nearby lands (4600 acres) of Lunugamwehera National Park which are belongs to Department of Forest Conservation of Sri Lanka.The company had so many connections with high level politicians of previous government and that paved the way for them to grab the lands in many other areas also.They are consuming these forest lands while violating all the prevailing environmental lawsincluding national environmental act.
According to reliable sources,Dole company has been using water resources of KirindiOya and Menik Ganga for their commercial banana plant and nearby people have been suffering due to lack of water for their agricultural and daily consumption needs.And Company is using earthed water from digging deep wells and it paves the way for lack of moisture in soil and can be harmful for nearby Lunugamwehera National Park.It is reported that high usage of pesticides and fertilizers there which is contributing to pollute the whole forest environment. And farmers of the area who worked for temporary land permits sold their lands to this powerful company and now some of them have to work as the labors of banana plantations. Thatphenomena reveal thatit has already become a crisis of humanity. The workers of there don’t have any labor rights and necessary safety methods to protect themselves from fertilizers and pesticides.
The Way Forward…
This government became to power from pledging to stop all the corrupted tasks of previous government under former president Rajapaksa. President Sirisena`s election manifesto, there were many statements and promises regarding the environmental protection. However, unfortunately they have been unable to implement any of these promises.
At least now, government should be able to regain this lands from multinational companies and let the natural environment to prevail without external disturbances. New laws are not essential to keep the environment of Sri Lanka. if politicians do not involve and if prevailing laws are implemented in impartial manner, it is overly sufficient for environmental protection.