Colombo rushes ahead with exploitative expansion of salterns in North

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 17 September 2019, 23:50 GMT]
The occupying Colombo’s unitary state mechanism is alienating large tracts of lands, both officially and unofficially, for commercial actors from the South of the island. Tamil agents, including one paramilitary organiser of Karuna Group, are being used as the proxies to showcase that the SL State is ‘ethnically impartial’ in the allocations, informed Tamil servants at the Ki'linochchi District Secretariat said. They suspect the involvement of SL military corporatism in the schemes. In the meantime, Chairman of Karaichchi Divisional Council (PS), A. Velamalikithan, when contacted by TamilNet, described the extent of illegal construction work that has already commenced without securing the required permissions from the elected Council and the Divisional Secretariats concerned.

Karaichchi Divisional Council and the relevant Divisional Secretariats have received the applications for four saltern plants in two different locations between Poonakari and the A9 Road.

One of the plants is being hurriedly constructed with a 13 km gravel road infrastructure near Kugnchup-paranthan at the extent of 600 to 700 acres to the North of Paranthan - Poonakari Road. The road consists of seven bridges.

The official application requested 100 acres of land. The SL Forest Department in Colombo informed the Land Use Committee that it was allocating 10 acres in the first phase. However, the work has been carried out in hundreds of acres of lands. The project was still in the consideration stage at the District Secretariat.

The plant is constructed along the coast facing Chudda-theevu near the interior village of Cherukkan in Uruththirapuram North GS area.

One hundred thousand cubes of gravel have been used to put up the road.

Almost ten thousand tractor loads of sand have been exhumed from the coast without securing permission from the local authorities. The sand is used for pan construction.

At least 16 pans, each at the extent of two acres, have been constructed.

Seven JBC machines are working for the past 20 days, Mr Velamalikithan said.

The chairman of the Rural Development Society (RDS) of Cherukkan village with 22 families has been deceived into collaborating with the project. The families believe they would be allocated jobs with a pension scheme for at least two persons per family. The local authorities are not convinced of the procedures. Their wages are not up to the standards, the chairman of the Karaichchi Divisional Council said. The families have been deceived into believing the baseless promises.

The other three salterns are going to be put up in Umaiyaa'l-puram along the A9 road within Ka'ndaava'lai DS division amidst strong objections from the people of the area fearing salinisation of their soil and the adverse effects on potable water.

One of the plants seems to interrupt the proposed water transportation scheme known as Arumugam Plan, he said.

The SL military is still occupying a large section of Paranthan Chemicals and retains the government farm of Vaddak-kachchi as well as the saltern at the Elephant Pass.

Under the current militarisation, Colombo-based unitary state system is transferring the crown lands to shady operators circumventing the local authorities.

The SL Governor to North, Suren Raghavan, is also using his office to suppress the local authorities from opposing the schemes. Mr Raghavan was arguing that the procedures were blocking the investors from ‘developing’ the North.

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05.09.03   Elephant Pass: From battlefield to salt capital
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