Monday, June 12, 2006


Sumudu Galpaya

Poverty is increasing worldwide due to the population increase, higher consumption of resources and inequality of resource distribution. Also poverty is higher among the rural population which is comprised of 70% of the world population mainly due to environmental degradation.

Being forestry is a multilateral subject it can be used for rural development through an integrated manner. These rural development programs should consist of improving social forestry and agro forestry systems, improving small scale industries of non wood forest products in rural areas, family oriented improving schemes and hence development of forest villages as revenue villages. Regenerate and management of forests and trees for food security, energy plantations for fuel wood supply and rural electrification, Green belt establishment to improve coastal livelihoods, improving mangrove ecosystems will also be added to those forestry programs. It will be more effective if they can be included forest extension, forestry education, and forestry research and personnel management in rural areas with infrastructure development. Legal and financial support of governmental and non-governmental organizations is very important factors for those implementations.

It has been now recognized that maximum participation of community for decision-making in forestry programs is very essential for successful consequences. There are several such effective initiatives in Sri Lanka such as participatory forestry programs, upper watershed management projects; wilderness area management programs based on community participation with governmental support. And also successful stories from India and Nepal of community forestry programs are valuable examples for us.

Sri Lanka being a developing country integrated forestry related programs will be an effective answer for achieving the development of rural communities giving them drinking water, food, energy, education, health and infrastructure facilities with proper livelihoods in a sustainable manner. It will also increase gross national production in the rural sector while conserving the well-being of the rural population.



This project is within the Western Province, which comprises of three districts namely Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara. This is the most densely populated due to the presence of the capital of Sri Lanka; the province is more advanced with respect to other provinces with respect to socio-economics, infrastructure, education health facilities and development. So it is a must to develop the road network to quick, efficient and time saving transport system.

Due to an absence of any highway to by-pass Colombo city, with exception of the Baseline road environmental and extension project the traffic causes unnecessary traffic congestion within the city. The trunk roads radiating from the city viz. Colmbo to Galle, Colombo to Puttalm, Colombo through Awissawella to Rathnapura, which from the major traffic corridors is already approaching capacity.

The proposed outer circular highway would provide inter connectivity from the major corridors.This will be a 22 kilometers expressway which will construct around the Colombo city. All proposed expressways will link to this road.

The EIA report of this project was prepared by Engineering consultants limited of SriLanka.The impacts of the project was considered under physical aspects, biological aspects and socio-economic aspects.

The proposed route of this highway will be passing through Kelani River. Bolgoda Lake is also located nearer to the proposed route of the highway. So these water bodies can be badly affected in the pre-construction stage, construction stage as well as implementation stage. So the water quality of surface water bodies as well as ground water can be contaminated with these pollutants. Although this route won’t significantly harm unique sites of breeding and feeding grounds, as a whole their habitats will be in danger. Especially those who inhibit in marshlands. If the project is implemented it will displace around 1684 families due to land acquisition for the project. Also 132 persons will lose their source of employment due to the acquisition of agricultural lands.

Although the mediatory measures for the impacts are given, the sites of relocation of residential houses, industries and agricultural lands are not identified at this stage which is a major aspect to be considered. So when compared to the identified impacts, the identification of mitigatory measures are not adequate. Also the alternatives of the project are also not considered as a detailed manner.

So if appropriate mitigation measures are taken to minimize above weaknesses before implementing the project, it will be beneficial to both the economy as well as to the community of Sri-Lanka.




University of Sri Jayewardenepura (