Large scale land appropriation is very common in Sri Lanka. Land grabbing activities are carried on by local and international investors for different purposes (intensive monoculture, mines, tourist infrastructures).
In Badulla district in Uva province, 628 acres of land have been grabbed from the Soragune forest in order to build a 36 hole Golf Course and a 1500 room hotel. The area was in the custody of the Soragune Shrine (“Kuda Katharagama Devala”).
The site is a main catchment area of the Weli Oya Irrigation Scheme and is an important dwelling place of the elephants of the Udawalawa National Park.
The downstream area is agricultural and more than 90% of the population is directly or indirectly linked with agriculture. Among the farmers 82% are cultivating paddy and they are highly dependent on the irrigated water of Weli Oya. The villagers living in the area are strongly linked with the forest resources as well. Non-timber forest products are used without harming the biodiversity of the forest and most of the uses concern harvesting of medicines, mushrooms, bee honey and firewood.  According to the Golf course developer the major objective of the project is to attract more tourists for the country and to increase the income of the tourism sector. The project also aims to improve infrastructure facilities including road and communication networks for easy access by tourists . On the other hand several Environmental Justice Organisations and the local communities complain that the implementation of the project will bring environmental, economic, social and cultural destructions, which are closely linked with each other. The hotel and golf course are to be built in a 628-acre extent of land located in the Weli Oya water catchment and if completed would have adverse impacts on farmers in the Moneragala Districts dependent from that water stream for irrigation and therefore for their livelihood.
The area is also rich in biodiversity and that an endemic plant, Uva Mandora, is found in the area.
The land marked for the hotel project is also said to block the elephant corridor between the Uda Walawa National Park and proposed Bogahapattiya sanctuary. The corridor closure forces the elephants to pass through the nearby villages, creating a conflict between the elephants and the local communities.
Objections have been raised by environmentalists and authorities, including the Irrigation Department and the CEA, against the proposed hotel and golf course project.
Environmental justice organisations and local actors claim lack of transparency in the clearance of the land. According to Gazette Notification bearing No.772/22 published under the provisions of the National Environmental Act No. 47 of 1980 and its amendments, for any non-forest use developmental project carried out within an area of more than one hectare, prior written environmental recommendation should be obtained subject to the environment impact assessment (EIA) process. According to the National Environmental Act the proponent of the project should submit an Initial Environment Examination (IEE) or an EIA report relating the proposed project and to obtain approval for the implementation of the project. After that, newspaper advertisement should be published and must invite public comments. But even without the approval of CEA, trees have been marked for felling and a fence and a street have been constructed.  Local communities of Welioya and Soragune, Centre for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka Environmental Congress, Engaged Buddhist Solidarity for Nature have launched a Dharma Yathra started at Vihara Maha Devi park in Colombo on the 27th February 2014 which reached the Forest on the 1st March 2014. Over 60 buddhist monks and more than 4000 people joined the demonstration. The Dharmayathra started and run out ordain trees to stress the need to protect the Soragune forest.
 On 2012 the Center For Environmental Justice made a petition to the court of Appeal. The petition had complained that the Conservator General of Forest and a few other respondents had not properly performed their statutory functions against the clearing of the Soraguna forest area in Uva, to construct a hotel and golf course by a private company.  The construction of the hotel and the golf course is not the only problem faced by the community living in the area of Soraguna forest. Following similar procedures, 3000 acres belongs to Soragune "Kuda Katharagama Devalaya" has been sold to rubber plantations. The two development projects together will exacerbate the socio-economic and environmental impact on the local communities