Multimillion-dollar aloe vera cultivation project: Approval only after court ruling: Central Environmental Authority

  • Project may require specialised CEA reports for approval process

By Yumiko Perera

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) will consider granting permission for a $ 783 million aloe vera cultivation project in Anuradhapura, only after the ongoing legal action by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) against the investor concludes, The Sunday Morning learnt.

Speaking with The Sunday Morning, CEA Chairman Siripala Amarasinghe noted that the Authority is awaiting the conclusion of court proceedings to consider granting permission for the aforementioned project.

“The CEA is yet to come to a final decision in this regard, but cabinet approval has already been granted for said project. However, nothing can be said in this regard as of yet, and the CEA would wait for a court ruling in order to proceed,” Amarasinghe noted.

The CEA Chairman stated that the regulator can approve projects on individual plots of lands, but if the proposed project plans entail the conjoining of multiple lands to put up nurseries, laboratories, or factories, they would have to obtain specialised reports from the CEA. Meanwhile, environmental activists called upon the Government to revoke the cabinet approval that was granted for the controversial project, citing concerns regarding the impact on the environment.

Earlier this week, Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Minister of Plantation Dr. Ramesh Pathirana stated that the project is aimed at developing an organic herbal medicine manufacturing industry using the aloe vera plant for export purposes.

Dr. Pathirana stated that aloe vera roots, tubers, gel, and external parts of the leaves are expected to be used to produce several export products.