Devananda threatens Kudaththanai villagers to call off protests against sand excavation
[TamilNet, Monday, 20 December 2010, 18:08 GMT]
EPDP leader Douglas Devananda, a minister in Rajapaksa's cabinet, along with Sri Lankan military and Police officers in Jaffna, on Sunday threatened the villagers of Koddoadai in Vadamaraadchi East with drastic action if they continued to protest against illegal sand excavation undertaken by Maheswary Foundation, a business outfit run by his paramilitary group. Civil organizations in Kudaththanai, fearing erosion by sea water of their coastal areas have been protesting against the excavation of sand from their areas.
The civilians also complain that their traditional cemetery located in the area was facing danger of erosion. The excessive traffic of heavy vehicles involved in the transport of sand cause noise throughout the day and night polluting their village.
A similar protest in the nearby Ma'natkaadu village earlier ended up with court order against the excavation. But, the Maheswary Foundation supported by the occupying forces has shifted its exploitation to Koddoadai, located 2 km away from Ma'natkaadu.
Sand for the entire building operations in the peninsula are supplied by ‘Maheswari Foundation’, and are being sold in black market at thrice the normal price.
Earlier, residents of the peninsula had permission to acquire sand for their construction purposes at a rate of 3,500 rupees from the region through local authorities. But, the EPDP has stripped the powers of the local bodies, giving monopoly to the Maheswary Foundation, which engages in ‘illegal’ business selling sand at a rate of 9,500 rupees per tractor load. A lorry load consists of 4 tractor-loads. The outfit has deployed around 200 lorries in the multi-million business.
Amidst protests, the excavation is continuing unabated with SL police and military abetting the black market business with an economic share from the EPDP, which is a coalition partner of Colombo government.
Even private lands have not been spared, the civilians complain.
For Minister Devananda, sand excavation in Vadamaraadchi East has become a multi-million rupee business at the expense of environment of Tamil homeland.
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