Colombo deprives renovation of four key jetties in Mannaar district

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 16 August 2017, 18:19 GMT]
Eight fisheries jetties used by Tamil-speaking fishermen in Mannaar district were selected to be renovated with the assistance of Asian Development Bank. But, occupying Colombo has declined to allow for the renovation of four of these jetties as SL wildlife department has silently seized large tracts of coastal lands through Gazette notifications issued in March 2016, Justin Soyza, the chairman of Mannaar District Fishermen Federation told TamilNet on Wednesday. The disclosure by the SL authorities about the seizure of jetty lands and the subsequent refusal to renovate the jetties have caused anger among the Tamil and Muslim fishermen in Mannaar. Tamil-speaking fishermen are planning to protest against the land grab and deprivation of fishing jetties, Mr Soyza said.

Under the pretext of expanding bird sanctuaries, lengthy stretches have been seized along the two coasts of Vanni mainland after the genocidal onslaught on Vanni in 2009.

SL Forest Department is also involved in seizing the lands almost competing with the Wildlife Department.

The jetties have not been renovated for more than 30 years due to the war and the renovation would bring much improvement to the fishing industry of the native fishermen, the fishermen representatives say.

Mr Soyza said they would make another attempt to present their case to SL Wild Life Department through TNA Parilamentarian Selvam Adaikkalanathan. If that attempt too fails, there would be no other means than launching a massive protest. “Our federation would not hesitate to launch a protest,” he said adding that the fisheries society organisations from the four places were also present in a previous meeting with the SL Wildlife Conservation Department and that they had requested to present their case in writing, which has been completed.

Pa'l'li-munai, Periyakadai, Paappaa-moaddai, Kattaa'lam-piddi, Vidaththal-theevu, Theavan-piddi, Moon'raam-piddi and Peasaalai were the 8 jetties selected for renovation 3 years ago.

Four of these jetties, Periyakadai and Pa'l'li-munai in Mannaar and Paappaa-moaddai and Kattaa'lam-piddi in Maanthai West, will not be renovated as expected.

More than 2,000 Tamil-speaking fishermen from Periyakadai, Pa'nagkadduk-koddu East, Pa'nagkadduk-koddu West, Emil Nakar, Ezhuththoor, Uppuk-ku'lam South and South Bar GS areas use Periayakadai jetty on a daily basis. 600 fishermen use Pa'l'li-munai, more than 200 fishermen use Paappaa-moaddai jetty and 100 fishermen are dependent on Kattaa'lam-piddi jetty. These jetties have been used by fishermen for more than 150 years.

In the meantime, occupying SL Navy is running resorts and tourism facilities for Sinhala visitors in Mu’l’lik-ku’lam in Vadamaraadchi East in Jaffna and along the coastal stretch from Maruthangkea’ni to Chaalai along the eastern coast of Vanni.

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