Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SRILANKA: Veddahs oppose road through nature reserve...!!!

Veddahs oppose road through nature reserve

The indigenous community of Sri Lanka known as the Veddahs, are objecting to a highway that is being built through a nature reserve.

Uruvarige Vanniyaleththo, the chief of this indigenous community, told the BBC Sinhala service that forest department officials had prevented Veddahs from entering their late leaders resting place in the ‘Maduru Oya’ National Park.

“These officers did nothing to prevent the building of a road through the nature reserve” he added.

The head of Sri Lanka’s autochthonous inhabitants claimed that road construction work in the reserve would destroy its vegetation.

“It is a threat to birds, animals and our own existence” he said.

According to the head of the Veddahs, the road which connects the Padiyathalawa – Mahiyanganaya road with Kandagammana is going to be 30 feet wide. Two miles of the road will pass through the forest reserve.

“I am not opposed to the development of Sri Lanka, but all indigenous people object to the destruction of our natural reserves in the guise of development,” he said.

Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya, Mr. W. B Ekanayake, the Deputy Minister of Highways said, “Although I am aware of the construction of this road I don’t know who is responsible for it”.

“I will have more details on Monday and I expect to speak to the media on Monday with more details”, He added.

Maduru Oya was declared a nature reserve by the government in 1983.

Situated in the dry zone, about 300 km. from Colombo and spread over 58,849 hectares of land, Maduru Oya is home to several endemic bird species as well as other wild animals.

(BBC Sinhala)

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