Several acres of forest area closer to the buffer zone of the Udawalawe Forest Reserve were deforested following an illegal charcoal production factory in Sri Lanka.
This illegal charcoal production factory was built in Arambekema village in Grama Niladhari Division of Thanamalvila.
20 ovens are already established for charcoal production. However, an additional 19 units are planned to be built in the same area to further increase production.
Each oven consumes four and a half tons of timber for the production of one ton of charcoal.
The people in the Arambekema village claimed that soon they would face the risk of turning their village into a barren desert.
The villagers also claimed that this alarming situation involves the heat generated from burning logs being transmitted to the ground, which poses a threat to the surrounding trees, plants, and crops.
This company was launched in the first quarter of this year, claiming that it collects wood that has fallen and broken. That was why people did not care about this project.
The villagers also claimed that large trees like teak, satinwood, burutha, and neem had been taken out of the woods for charcoal production.
The manager of the charcoal production factory told the media that exporting charcoal is a better solution to increase the country’s dollar income. He said that the country gets 60 percent of the revenue, while the export companies get 40 percent of the revenue. This is run under a BoI project, and we have all the relevant documents to prove that this company has registered with them, he said.
The manufactured charcoal is exported to China, Korea, and Japan. Later, the charcoal will be exported to other countries as well, the manager said.
However, the BoI, State Timber Corporation (STC), Wildlife Conservation, and the Forest Department confirmed that they have not permitted such production.
source daily mirror