“Stop land grabbing and we need not this development, We want our Land Back” The people who gathered at Colombo yesterday very strongly demanded from the government that they want a development which protect their life and livelihoods and not displace them.
Praja Abhilasha Network and Land Forum of Sri Lanka organized a seminar followed by a street protest to register the people’s anger and protest on their land grabbing.
Most of people are isolated and no body is ready to take the lead. As Praja abilasha, we are trying to unite all these people and bring to a common struggle. Present development model is not meant for the development of the people. We are bringing people from all over the country and we will continue this struggle, says Geetha Lakmini in her speech at the objective setting.
“We expect development which protects us, our life and our livelihoods. We are farmers and fisher folk, living in peace and harmony with the nature. We want to sustain our lives without destroying our environment.”
The chief incumbent of Uva Wellassa two divisions, Panama Chandrarathana thero narrated at the National seminar organized on land issues. Hundreds of people representing various parts of the country attended the seminar and almost all are victims of the post war development program of GOSL.
People from Kalpitiya islands, Negombo, Rathgama, Vakarei, Arugambe, Pothuwil, Akkaraipattu, affected who are living in the coastal areas attended the seminar and the protest. All of them voice out not to displace them in the name of development. GOSL has planned to 99 year lease out of lands for hotel constructions, develop tourism resorts, Golf courts, sea plane, air taxi services for tourism development.
Dinesh Suranjan of All Ceylon Fisher Folk Trade Union said, “We have been living in the islands for generations. No body consider us as citizens and it proved with there was no consultation at all for capture the land for Kalpitiya tourism promotion zone development. What we want is to live in harmony with our livelihoods. We do not want to be the victims of this type of development at all. We demand to stop this land grabbing and all the disturbances on us in the name of development.”
Joseph Francis, an IDP from Mullikulam, Mannar stressed that “There were 450 families lived in Mullikulam and they need to go back to their own village. Agriculture, Fishing are the main occupation there and we want to revive them again. Why we do not get the benefit of the so called freedom while others are enjoying them? When do the authorities allow us to go back to our homes?” Rathgama lagon is one of the most important eco systems in the country with cultural background.
The Buddhists monks who used to these islands for meditation purposes which seems to disturb today with the new hotels come up. Dulip Rangajeewa said, “people around Rathgama lagoon will not allow hoteliers to build up hotels and will destroy them unless stop”.
In the same way, Anthony Thamel, a fisherman from Parakrama Samudra Polonnaruwa said, “We do not want Sea Plane to Parakrama Samudra. This is our life. Our livelihoods as fishermen will totally disturbed when Sea Planes are landed in our reservoir. No body discuss this and we do not know what is going to happen to us. What ever it is, we do not consider these as development for us.”
It was highlighted and highly discussed about the present development plan is as a process starting from 1984 tourism master plan and regaining Sri Lanka program which introduced 2002. These were badly defeated by the people and elected new regime which proposed Mahinda Chinthana development program for build Sri Lankan economy. However, it was clearly expressed almost all of the speakers, including Fr.Marimuthtu Sathivel, Fr,Sarath Iddamalgoda and Sr. Sharmindinie Fernando at the seminar. We want to strengthen all these isolated groups and bind them together for a common struggle. We will not end up this till we win. Said, Sandun Thudugala, one of a conveners of Land Forum.
The seminar was followed by a protest which was attracted by many media and security personals.
|< Prev||Next >|