Soragune Forest is the water catchment for more than 7000 farmers living downstream. This 628 acre forest is belongs to the Soragune Shrine.
Although such "Nindagam' forest cannot transfer to an individual, the forest has been illegally sold to a hotelier to build a 36 hole Golf Course and a 1500 room hotel.
In order to bring the necessary attention, several trees were symbolically ordained on the 1st March 2014 and the forest has been now handed over to the Buddhist monks to save it. Buddhist Monks lead by Venerable Kalupahana Piyarathana Thero issued a 'Sahngaachna" to the gods to save the forest.
The Centre for Environmental Justice took the lead in organising the Dharma Yathra started at Vihara Maha Devi park on the 27th February 2014 which reached the Forest on the 1st March 2014. Over 60 buddhist monks and more than 4000 people joined this second tree ordination ceramony.
Dharma Yathra was very successful in bringing public attention to the forest destruction. Many temples and the local people along the route supported the 3 day long travel.
Looking at the large number of public attended the Tree ordination ceramony, I see that it is getting high recognition by the local communities. No wonder why. The authorities have continuously failed to protect the water catchments in Sri Lanka.
In this case, it the Commissioner of the Buddhist Affairs who has failed to act. Other than this 628 acre forest another 3000 acres belongs to Soragune "Kuda Katharagama Devalaya" has been sold to rubber plantations. This forest is also the water catchement of Weli Oya and Walawe river.