SLA accelerates colonization in Vaaka'rai

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 May 2008, 13:31 GMT]
Sinhalese fishermen from Puththa'lam, Chilaapam, and other areas of the island are being brought in increasing numbers into Vaaka'rai area in Koa’ra’laippattu North, Batticaloa district by the civilian coordinator of Sri Lanka Army (SLA), residents in the area said.

In Oooriyan, Vaaka'rai there are plans to construct new government buildings such as District Secretariat, Training and Seminars centre and a cooperative society building in a 60 acre land belonging to the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL).

However, the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has begun steps to colonize the area with Sinhalese fishermen from areas such as Puththa'lam and Chilaapam who come to Kalkudaa and Vaaka'rai to catch exotic fish and sea slugs, sources said.

Meanwhile, Koa’ra’laippattu North District secretariat has already issued a ban on fishing in the seas between Kathirave'li and Puchchaankea'ni which has huge number of exotic fish and sea slugs. With the connivance of SLA troopers sinhalese fishermen are involved in unlawful catching of exotic fish and harvesting conch shells using dynamite.

Numerous complaints have been made to Batticaloa Fisheries department but no action has been taken to curb these activities, the affected residents in the area said

In addition, nets have been set up unlawfully and drag netting method of coastal fishing has been going on for more than three months in the vicinity of the Christian church in Vaaka'rai and no attempts have been made to remove them.

Under existing rules, one has to obtain permission from the District Secretariat before commencing drag netting, and once the permission is granted an area of 350 metres will be allocated to the applicant.

However, the newly brought in Sinhalese Fishermen, without approvals, have already begun fishing activities in the area of their choice with the assistance of SLA troops. In addition, military officials provide required facilities to these fishermen, overriding the administrative activities of the district secretariat, local civilians said.


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