May 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka's President Maithreepala Sirisena says the conservation of the national forests and protecting the environment are among the government's foremost challenges and therefore among the top priorities of the government.
Speaking during a function held today at the President Secretariat, the President said the present government has been able to prevent unwanted political influences that led to deforestation of national forests during the previous administration.
At the function today, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Wild Life and Forest Conservation Association Professor Lakdas Fernando presented the Association's 25th anniversary periodical to the President.
The Association also handed over several proposals with regard to environment and wildlife conservation.
Revealing that there is evidence of the involvement of some officials in the destruction of forests, the President pointed out the need for everyone to work in unison to identify such corrupt officials.
President Sirisena while noting that the decision taken by the previous government to resettle families in the close proximity to forest reserves is not favorable for forest conservation, pointed out that the government also has the responsibility of providing blocks of land for the displaced families.
However, the President assured the Wild Life and Forest Conservation Association members that his government would carry out resettlement activities without causing any environmental or social problems.
(Photos by President's Media Unit)