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Another massacre in Kokkilai - Observer


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Author Topic: Another massacre in Kokkilai - Observer  (Read 545 times)
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« on: June 03, 2010, 10:11:16 am »

Many would think about Kokkilai or Kokilai as a place of torment and horror. As with the Kokilai massacre which happened on December 1, 1984 where the LTTE cadres massacred 11 Sinhalese civilians, it was the beginning of another destruction and particularly, Mother Nature. The village of Kokilai is located in the Mullaitivu District located about 40 km south-east of the District capital Mullaitivu. It is a coastal town, located next to Kokkilai lagoon, it is also close to Trincomalee District border.

Today, a different massacre takes place right under the moses of the authorities with the booming tourism taking place around the area, opening up after peace.
The Kokilai Bird Sanctuary near the Kokilai Lagoon has now gone under the steel axe, being cleared for supposed agricultural purposes which are threatening the habitats of many animals in turn threatening the very existence of our wildlife.

Under the National Environmental Act (NEA) if any development projects were to take place within 100m within the periphery of a sanctuary, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) should be conducted prior to obtaining permission from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. The NEA prohibits the clearing of an area of forest of over one hectare in the island without an EIA. Regardless of these legal restrictions, there have been several individuals in a Muslim community in Pulmude who have been ruthlessly hacking the Kokilai Sanctuary to death.

The sanctuary, declared a protected site in 1952 has a land extent of 1995 hectares and accounts for about 40 elephants and about 200 bird species which is fast diminishing. The cleared land is in Kuchchaweli under the purview of the Thenamaranwadiya Divisional Secretariat in the Trincomalee district. Black-necked stork birds, which are included in IUCN 2007 data book as critically endangered bird species, are also found in this sanctuary.

It has also been reported that over 1000 acres of land has been cleared over a span of just a month.

While the blame has been passed from the residents to the environmental authorities, tourists and domestic travellers alike are pouring there in throngs to disrupting the calmness of the the peaceful solitude birds have basked in and many locals are indeed thinking of monetary terms without the thought that ‘Extinction means forever.’

In the true words of a nature lover and Wildlife Nature Protection Society member, “Why can’t our armed forces, who have so gallantly fought the war and brought peace to our nation, protect our nation’s only treasures - our wildlife sanctuaries and national parks?”
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