SLA cuts down villager's livelihood

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 May 1999, 18:32 GMT]
Residents of Maamunai on the south-eastern coast of Jaffna complained today that Sri Lankan Army personnel stationed at their village are cutting down a large number of palmyrah and coconut palms from their private properties.

The SLA has cut down over a hundred palms from their small holdings since yesterday, the villagers said.

Villagers who try to object are being threatend and chased away, they said.

Nallaiah Thaya, a Maamunai resident, said that she saw soldiers cutting down trees in her property this morning and had tried to stop them.

Thaya said that the soldiers had chased her away.

She said that the trees on her property were her main source of income.

Sources in Maamunai said that many residents here depend on the small holdings for their livelihood. They said that some of the owners had just begun to get returns on the investment they had made on the coconut palms.

There are about fifty small plantations in Maamunai.

The SLA says that the palms are cut down to build bunkers. However, environmentalists in the Northeast have slammed the army for supplying a lucrative trade in palmyrah and coconut timber, valued in Sri Lanka for making rafters.

Large coconut plantations on the eastern coast of Jaffna have been completely destroyed by the SLA for coconut timber.

Residents and environmentalists there allege that the coconut timber was sold in Sinhala areas for huge profits by Police and SLA officers.


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