Sand mining, backed by Colombo's authority and monk, destroys ecology of verukal river

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 June 2018, 22:32 GMT]
A Sinhala trader from Kantha'laay in Trincomalee district, Ms Ramani Herath, is operating a sand mining business exploiting Verukal river basin at Aaladi in Koa'ra'laip-pattu North (Vaakarai) division, north of Batticaloa. The sand extraction is going on disregarding the concerns of the native people of erosion and other mining-induced consequences disrupting the channel and the habitat. At least 24 truckloads of sands are being transported to Colombo on a daily basis, deploying the vehicles of a Tamil businessman from Chengkaladi, local government sources in Vaakarai told TamilNet. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were protecting Vaakarai from structural genocide and exploitation during the times of peace and war until 2007 when the entire area faced an all-out genocidal war by the SL State.

Informed administrative sector Tamil officials said that the Sinhala trader from Kantha'laay is operating with the backing of a Buddhist monk in Seruvila.

The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau coming under the unitary State system has also utilised Ms Ramani Herath with documents to continue the mining without going through the due process at the local government level, they said.

The SL Police, which also comes under the unitary system, also avoids action against the illegal operation, they said.

The previous licence provided to the trader by the local authorities expired on 19th June. However, the exploitation is still going on with the backing of the Geological Survey authorities, the administrative sector sources said.

The local civic body, Divisional Council, is expected to challenge the exploitation at the SL Courts. However, divisional councillors were reluctant to publicly cite their names saying they were risking harassments from powerful sections behind the exploitation.

Verukal river is a branch of the island's longest river Mahaweli. Vaakarai region encompasses a vast expanse of land north of Navaladi junction extending 50 km to the Verukal river. Several small villages, Kaayaang-kea'ni, Maang-kea'ni, Panichchang-kea'ni, Vaakarai, Ka'ndal-adi, Paal-cheanai and Kathiraveli, which lie along A-15, from south to north, dot the hinterlands of Vaakarai region.


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