NPC Minister demands de-militarisation of Chu'ndiku'lam Bird Sanctuary

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 12 May 2015, 22:08 GMT]
The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) Minister, responsible for the environmental affairs Ponnuthurai Ayngaranesan has stated that the NPC was demanding the occupying Sri Lanka Navy to hand over the environmental tourism related establishments it has established in the bird sanctuary of Chu'ndik-ku'lam. Like the forest department of the Tamil Nadu government and the local people have been protecting the Veadanthaangkal Bird Sanctuary, which is situated in Chengkalpaddu District of Tamil Nadu, the people in Vadamaraadchi East and the ministry at the NPC with the responsibility of protecting the environment want to take over the affairs of their environment from the military, he said. The people-environment relationship in the North-East would be best taken care of by the people in their traditional homeland than a [occupying] military, he said.

The Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) was blocking the native people from their environment and was converting the sanctuary into an exclusivist corporate zone, targeting tourism from South with military-run liquor stores and resorts, the NPC minister said.

Mr Ayngaranesan was addressing a prize giving ceremony, which was held at the Public Library of Jaffna last Sunday to encourage the students who excelled in environment related field studies and for their participation in the awareness activities on the occasion of the World Migratory Bird Day.

The occupying SL military in Jaffna advanced into Chu地dikku値am during the last phase of the Vanni war in 2009.

Despite the end of war, the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) has continued constructing military bases in the area.

After seizing the area, the SLN has imposed a complete ban on Eezham Tamil fishermen accessing their coastal strip. But, Sinhala fishermen were brought from South with the backing of SLN deploy illegal methods of fishing, causing an environmental disaster to the seabed. Colombo was also planning to construct 1,000 houses to create a Sinhala colony in the area.

The SL ministry for wildlife resources conservation has schemed the expansion of the area into a Natural Park, using the funding from UNDP and UNEP in the name of developing 11,149 hectares of the bird sanctuary.

Through various programs and by deploying SL military at the region, the SL State has been aiming to permanently choke Jaffna by turning the narrow strip of Chu地dikku値am sandbar, which links the peninsula with Vanni mainland, into a Sinhala colony with tourist resorts, liquor shops, prawn farming industry and by encouraging southern fishermen to seize the fishing beds.

Colombo's blueprint for expansion of Chu'ndikku'lam Sanctuary
Colombo's blueprint for expansion of Chu'ndikku'lam Sanctuary into Natual Park [Map courtesy: Integrated Strategic Environmental Assessments (ISEA) - North]


The Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) has already seized the public buildings, including the post office building at Chu地dik-ku値am.

Having access to a major seabed along the narrow coast, Chu地dikku値am stood for the major portion of fish supply to Vanni and Jaffna.

Before the occupation by the SL military, hundreds of Tamil fishermen from nearby villages, Uduth-thu池ai, Thaazhaiyadi and Maruthangkea地i in Vadmaraadchi East and Vadamaraadchi, used to camp at Chun壇ikku値am on a permanent basis from March to October every year for seasonal fishing.

Chundikkulam Nature Park [Photo Courtesy: Snappikz Media, Dehiwala]
Chundikkulam Nature Park [Photo Courtesy: Snappikz Media, Dehiwala]


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