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bay of bengalReports from the Tamil Homeland, the North and East of Lanka, and the Island of Lanka as a whole, are very much disturbing. 

Case 1:

The Northern fishing communities are up in arms against a Chinese joint venture company because it has taken over acres of sea-land to harvest sea cucumber, severely limiting the space for local fishermen to engage in the same business.

As part of an extension to its sea cucumber hatchery, the Chinese joint venture has set up a baby sea cucumber nursery in Kowtharimunai, a northern coastal village in the Poonagari Divisional Secretariat

According to Pasaiyoor Fishermen Federation Chief P. Mathan, the new nursery would pose a livelihood threat to local businesses which ran their sea cucumber farms with limited facilities and capital.

"Compared to the Chinese joint venture, our investments are nothing. The company uses sophisticated nets and methods while we struggle to stay afloat in the business."

Meanwhile, the fencing off of acres of sea lands for sea cucumber harvesting is shutting out the traditional fishermen, particularly prawn harvesting, from pursuing a livelihood.

According to the Company Registrar, the Chinese joint venture company, Gui Lan (Pvt) Ltd, has been registered as a private limited liability company with a registered address in Negombo with two Chinese and a Sri Lankan being named as directors in April 2016.

Case 2:

Lankan environmentalists have welcomed Archaeology Director General Senior Professor AnuraManatunga's intervention to halt the removal of soil and mud from the Tissawewa at Tissamaharama, by a Chinese company

Social Scientist and environmentalist Dr Ravindra Kariyawasam told The Island that be it an American or Chinese company, they were here for a reason and they were least concerned about local ecosystems or archaeological sites.

Dr.Kariyawsam, who is also the Convener of the Centre of Environment and Nature Studies, stressed that Sri Lanka's tank system was internationally known.

"The Chinese don't know about our ecosystems. Otherwise, they would not have built the Port City here. Tissawewa is about 1,000 years old has a unique ecosystem, which will be destroyed by haphazard dredging.

Kariyawasam said that in 2010, the World Food Programme and World Health Organisation ranked Sri Lanka as the fourth country with the highest rate of deforestation, a position that it still holds today,."

"Decisions like this can set a bad precedent for future threats to our forests and nature," he asserted.

Senior Professor of Archeology Raj Somadeva said he believed that the ancient city of Magama had been located near this reservoir, and many artefacts may have got washed into the reservoir.

He said that thousands of Gaja Lakshmi coins had been found during previous excavations and that the removal of mud from the Wewa must be done after investigations by the Archaeological Department.

In March, the government initiated a programme to clean 103 rivers and strengthen the banks of tanks in the country.,

The Chinese joint venture to renovate irrigation tanks here was launched on Monday (21), and the opening stage will see the renovation of the Tissawewa.

"The water released from the Uma-Oya project will reach the Anuradhapura District soon. Therefore, it is our responsibility to ensure that we store this water in our irrigation system, without allowing it to reach the sea," Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said during the launch of the project.

According to the Minister, the government of Sri Lanka is not incurring any cost for the installation of the machine.

"We are not paying to install this machine. They have to remove silt from the tank and pay us as well for it. They can take the sand and clay removed from the tank and sell it," the Irrigation Minister said.

The Tissawewa is believed to have been constructed by King Yatala-Tissa, who established the Ruhunu Kingdom or his uncle, King Devanampiyatissa, who ruled the Anuradhapura Kingdom during the 03rd century BC.

The furore caused by the Ministers comments resulted in a press statement issued via the Department of Government Information, in which the Ministry of Irrigation affirmed the government will act responsibly towards addressing the drinking water crisis as well as protecting rainforests which are home to national water resources.

Environmentalists yesterday welcomed Archaeology Director General Senior Professor AnuraManatunga's intervention to halt the removal of soil and mud from the Tissawewa at Tissamaharama, by a Chinese company.

It was bad enough when hundreds upon hundreds of Chinese began dredging the sea to build the new port over which they have now a 99-year lease.

But now, from being all at sea, they had come on to the land and were reported to be digging around in the wewa that could damage our ancient irrigation and ecosystems, especially if it was the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) with men and machinery that were at work, as some people feared.

As news of supposed Chinese military boots on the ground spread, environmentalists and archaeologists raised a hoo-and-cry while there was not even a hoo from some of the zealous patriotic (Sinhala) nationalists who seemed quite oblivious to what was going on and that without even the relevant clearance from the proper authority

With China having a hold on the Hambantota Port and a good part of the Colombo Port City, both on 99-year leases, one would be foolhardy to imagine that they would pack their bags and quit saying Fḕichángxièxiè (thank you very much). Certainly not, if there are still more than 95 years or more of the lease remaining.

These are just two cases in point which go to show how the Sinhala supremacist regime is out to destroy the environment of the Tamil nation and, in the process committing self-destruction of its own environment as part of its sell-out to its Chinese protectors.

The Tamil Homeland has to be alert in time to stand up and say no to this blatant encroachment of its nature, and the island cannot be far behind.

- Thiagu

(This article was published in Fortnightly Magazine 'Abel', July 24, 2021)

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