August 24 (Daily Mirror) – Mr. Yoshitha Rajapaksa, son of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, yesterday denied allegations by environmentalist Sajeeva Chamikara, that the controversial road construction inside the Sinharaja Forest Reserve was being done by the army to connect the main road to a hotel owned by him. Daily Mirror was informed by Yoshitha that he owned no hotels or resorts inside the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and the accusations levelled against him by Chamikara were baseless and false.
He said that his lawyers would send a letter of demand to Chamikara and pursue legal action against his allegations, today. “This is completely false. I am a nature lover and respect the environment. This is why I am a member of the World Green Building Council.
Certain groups are now attempting to tarnish the Rajapaksa image once again, resorting to spreading false stories in the media. I respect our forest reserves and have not owned any hotel there. I will pursue legal action as this group is trying to mislead the public,” Yoshitha said. Chamikara, in a media briefing last week said that the army was involved in cutting through the Sinharaja Forest, to connect a hotel which he alleged was owned by Yoshitha to the main road.
After a public outcry, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week, ordered that the 1.1km road development project which had commenced in August in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve be halted.
Rajapaksa issued directions that no development project that harms the flora and fauna of the area should take place.