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Vadamaradchi residents ban removal of coastal sand

[TamilNet, Monday, 20 October 2003, 18:54 GMT]
Residents of Kudathanai and Manalkadu areas in the Vadamaradchi east division in Jaffna district Monday imposed a ban on removing coastal sand from the northern coast. Hundreds of vehicles that had gone to these areas to remove sand returned empty due to the ban, sources said.

The residents criticized government officials for giving passes to remove sand from these areas while basic facilities of the people have not been provided. They fear that removing the sand from their villages could cause sea erosion in these areas, sources said.

Residents further said their villages have been neglected in the spheres of health and transport. "Adequate medical facilities have not been provided to Kudathanai and Manalkadu areas. But government officials are very keen on exploiting the natural resources available in these areas," sources quoted residents as saying.

"They are ransacking our environment. The village gets nothing in return. We do not even have electricity. We will be exposed to nature's fury if the dunes are gone," Mr. Alagurasah, a Manalkaadu community leader told TamilNet.

The Sri Lanka Army has banned removing sand from Mankumban, Kachchai and Ariyalai east areas as the SLA has located several camps there, civil sources said.

Meanwhile, the residents rejected an appeal made by the Vadamaradchi east Divisional Secretary Monday to abandon their ban on removing sand from the villages. Villagers said that the dunes on the sandy expanses of the Manalkaadu coast are fast vanishing as a consequence of rampant excavation by traders.

In Tamil Manalkaadu means sandy expanse. The sand here contains the Titanium ores Ilmenite and Rutile, experts say.

During the weekend the Sri Lanka army began building a new camp on land belonging to Mr. Jacob Sinnarasah, a local resident. The military has warned women of the village not to come near the camp area to answer calls of nature to avoid harassment by soldiers.

The village has no basic amenities, including toilets. Residents use the shrub in the environs of the hamlet, where the military is setting up its new camp.

Daily, more than three hundred vehicles remove sand excavated in and around the Manalkaadu village.

"Let them give us electricity first. We are not prepared to believe anyone's promise to provide us basic amenities this time," villagers blocking the vehicles said.

"Let them excavate sand from the army's high security zone in Amban," they said.

Amban is a village immediately northwest of Manalkaadu.

"There will be serious consequences if the army and Police come to aid the sand robbers," civilians blocking the vehicles said Monday.

If the Kudathanai and Manalkadu villagers continued their ban, construction sources fear that it would cause serious negative impact on the construction industry.


Related Articles:
04.09.03   Permits introduced to remove sand in Vadamaradchi
03.09.03   Lorries confiscated for removing sand in Vadamaradchi

 

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