500,000 palmyra trees said destroyed

[TamilNet, Sunday, 09 June 2002, 02:19 GMT]
Around half a million palmyra trees have been destroyed by the Sri Lanka armed forces and the practice continues even after the ceasefire agreement came into effect, press reports quoted Mr Sivapatham, Head of Palmyra Development board as telling BBC radio. The local populace seems to be losing faith due to the armed forces continuing to build new bunkers during the peace process, he added.

Mr Sivapatham said that Palmyra trees are being destroyed, just as in the pre-planned destruction of other natural resources in the Tamil areas, the Virasekari newspaper said.

There are around forty thousand Tamil families depending on palmyra plantations while another twenty five thousand families’ livelihood depends on toddy production, handy crafts as well other products from the trees, the paper said.

The armed forces are still destroying the palmyra trees even though it has been declared that the destruction of Palmyra is illegal since 1973 by a government order.

Recently, 50,000 trees were being destroyed on the route joining Thalaimannar to Mannar, and around 150 feet on both sides of the road were cleared this way, Mr Sivapatham said. This destruction was stopped due to complaints delivered to the Prime Minister through Mr Maheswaren, Minister for Hindu Affairs.

Local populace are also complaining that palmyra trees are cut down and taken by tractors. “We have decided to take legal action against these [illegal loggers] and have requested the public to inform us of such incidents,” said Mr Sivapatham.


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