Saving Crudia tree will cost millions - Lansa

State Minister for Rural Roads and Other Infrastructure Nimal Lansa said that changing the Central Expressway plan to keep the controversial and endangered Crudia Zeylanica tree on the same site, will cost around Rs.8,000 million. The people should decide on the course of action to be taken as public funds are at stake.

Lansa expressed these views while participating in the inauguration of road development projects in the Anuradhapura District.

The State Minister said, “While constructing the Central Expressway, a rare tree was found. The people of the country demand that the trees be protected. The Cabinet Ministers are all working to listen to the people and take necessary action. This is public money. If this plan is changed, billions of rupees will have to be spent. This money belongs to the public. Environmental groups have stated that this tree could be uprooted and replanted. But we can’t do that. There is a great social opinion that this tree should not be uprooted. Then we have to change the plan by spending Rs. 8000 million. We are currently in discussions to change the plan to leave the tree as it is. A final decision has not been taken yet.

Different people have different views on the report of the Presidential Commission on the Easter Attack. The Easter attack took place during the last good governance government. The Easter Attack Presidential Commission was appointed by former President Maithripala Sirisena. It is not a commission appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. We have big questions about the report of this commission. Our Cardinal hoped to find those behind the terrorist act and those who aided it. The Easter attack was not carried out by Buddhist organizations. I do not know why Buddhist organizations have been named. As Catholic MPs, as the Catholic Church, we call for the capture of the terrorists who carried out the Easter attack. We were not talking about the Sinhala Buddhist organizations that helped us. We wonder if anyone was involved in creating a problem between the Catholics and the Buddhists. It must be clearly stated that justice was not done for the innocent people who died.

The Cardinal has declared this Sunday a Black Sunday. It is a very fair programme. It is right to ask for justice for the innocent people who have died. It is for that right that we are asking them to hoist a black flag in their homes this Sunday and to wear black to the Church.

We are all working hard to bring all those involved in the Easter attack to justice. We asked the President to expedite it. None of us will intervene to protect them. It must be clearly stated that the Cardinal’s program this Sunday is very reasonable,” the Minister said.


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