CA grants relief to Anuradhapura farmers

The Court of Appeal recently issued a Writ of Mandamus that compelled the Anuradhapura District Secretary to execute his duties to halt the Road Development Authority from constructing a 30 feet wide road way over Lolugaswewa causing destruction to the tank, its bund,bund reservations and the adjacent area.

The petitioner is Ekamuthu Govi Sanvidanaya.

The respondents are Commissioner General, Department of Agrarian Development, Director General of Irrigation Department, chief engineer Road Development Authority Anuradhapura and nine others.

Delivering the order Justice Mahinda Samayawardhena inter alia stated:The petitioner has obtained expert opinion from a retired Regional Director of Irrigation regarding the damage caused and likely damage to be caused to the tank bund and the tank. It appears that some party interested in setting up a purported Monastery has carried out this wanton destruction to the tank, which has been objected to, not only by the Petitioner Farmers’ Organization, but also by the North Central Provincial Council and the Chief Prelate of Anuradhapura Atamasthanaya.

The Deputy and Assistant Commissioners of Agrarian Development of Anuradhapura has very politely requested to stop further construction until necessary approvals are obtained after the damage has been considerably done.

Under the Irrigation Ordinance, No. 32 of 1946, heavy responsibilities have been cast upon the Director General of Irrigation and the Government Agents (District Secretaries) in protecting irrigation work. In the instant matter, they have conveniently turned a blind eye.

The Farmers’ Organisations need not spend money and time on litigation to protect ancient irrigation work.

Dr. Jayatissa de Costa, PC, with P.L. Gunawardena for the farmer organisation.

SC Manohara Jayasinghe appeared for the respondents.

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