The SPC has made plans to lease out the land at Rs. 2,856 per acre.
Convener of the Civil society organizations collective Gamini Jayatissa says they informed the SPC and Elkaduwa Plantations that they were prepared to obtain the land at the same lease rate.
Jayatissa says their aim is to prevent harm to the biodiversity in the Knuckles forest reserve and to natural water sources in the western slopes of Matale by an animal farm project planned by businessmen.
The land in question is already getting washed away and any further activity there will cause irreparable damage, he notes.
If they are given the lease, the land will be used, with the support of the area’s people, in such a way that it will cause no harm to the environment, Jayatissa adds.
The people and even the Buddhist monks are already supporting it, with the latter promising to collect money to obtain the land on lease, according to him.