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Saturday, 22 September 2018
Saturday, 22 September 2018 | Sri Lanka Watch
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Agony of Wilpattu- the betrayal of a Nature Heaven PDF Print E-mail

Openings of ‘Highways’ and sheer humane infidelity to an unpardonable massacre of lush green wilderness, a continual assault on a splendid Biological brainwave of Mother Nature, torment of Wilpattu National Park has been unendurable at the least and outrageous at the most. It is with profound distress that we are forced to report this tragedy that was revealed with contrary to the promised succession of a new era with the end of war. Promised or not, Sri Lanka or rather the Sri Lankan authorities seemed to have completely forgotten or more accurately chosen to ignore the many attempts, pleas and even mass conferences held by the rest of the world in feverish haste over the deteriorating greenery throughout the planet.

Many might already know that Sri Lanka, rich in it’s natural wonderments and its ancient and up to recently preserved portions of the ecological dynasty thanks in great measures to (I must remind soberly) thirty years of war is now in the run to the oblivion. Yet this is far from the natural Darwinian evolvement process that one of the most reverend and certainly the largest Natural heaven in Sri Lanka is disappearing under the very eyes of helpless protesting appalled environmentalists and snidely unconcerned patronizing politicians.

It is recently implied that a monstrous destruction is been implemented out in the isolated territories of Wilpattu National Park which was until recently under the governance of Sri Lanka Navy at the same time being closed for any wild life expedition or sightseeing due to the traumatizing agitations inflicted by the humane tiger carders. Although the Department for Wildlife Conservation is the rightful guardian of the National park, the ever increased terrorism practiced within the boundaries of the dark greenery lead the park to Navy’s position.

Sri Lanka Navy has every right to guard the coastal lines efficiently and vigilantly although that does not imply it is right to sacrifice an ecological masterpiece of the Nature to oblivion. No longer under the scrutiny of the Wildlife Conservation authority, a 35 km road has been cleared through the lush greenery of the park mainly although might not solely be for the purpose of the war.

Let me remind you that this road has been excavated without second thoughts to the residing villu ecosystem unique to the Wilpattu National park, the majestic resistance for rain perfunctory sturdiness of the dry zone trees and the harmless flocks of wildlife roaming among the marshy grasslands of the villus. Thus this road has cleared hundreds maybe thousands of trees of wilderness and has left injured maybe permanently the world renowned villu ecosystem with its unique community of water scavengers and docile diversifications to its own traits and differences of the climate and surrounding and so on which has endured and evolved into its very own unique features that would be impossible to create or be found any where else on planet earth.

The said road has been filled with the soil dug from this very national park imparting unimaginable damage to its wild community. Huge trap holes where soil has been lavishly dug out leaving massive craters which had remained permanently so, with terrible perils for the roaming elephants and the unprecedented density of the leopard population and other roaming creatures to be fallen into the depths of these. Stacks of discarded soil mounds with the danger of erosion and further effects of harming the natural equilibrium in Wilpattu has sprouted with alarming affinity.

The recent jubilation of a certain A32 highway from Puttalam to Mannar being thrown open to public has been nothing short of calamity and deception. This is yet another road that has been already given access for transportation inside Wilpattu national park. An old cart track or rather a dirt road which had been built in the old colonial Dutch days and still exists as only dotted lines in Sri Lanka maps could be hardly entitled as high ways.

This newly opened route runs throughout the National park, linking Puttalam and Mannar; a convenient short cut in between the two destinations although certainly not convenient for the wilderness and definitely not legitimate to be so because of the scandalizing and unheard prospects of public transportation being committed from inside a world renowned state declared National Park.

This road was once known as the old Mannar Road( not the delusional A32, as it exists elsewhere in marked form as a precise route from Mannar to the Jaffna regions of Navatkuli) with a shorter way access from Puttalam to Mannar. Recently, it was opened with a celebratory procession of nearly 150 busses amidst the approval of a Puttalam District based Minister Rishrd Badeudeen. Ever since the route is being fully entitled for public transport worth of high scores of traffic which is daily attributed inside Wilpattu national park.

How or in what context an old cart track trailing to early 1700s miraculously transformed into a highway is your guess and its as good as mine. Whatsoever, the argument is not sufficient enough to save time, conserve fuel and develop the tourism industry in the expense of an overwhelmingly rare ecosystem and the rare multiplicities of wildlife in Wilpattu.  

Although it is perfectly legal of security forces to construct a route for essential security measures as long as it inflicts minimum damage and ambush to the wilderness. Yet it is not legitimate to promote a cart track as a highway inside Wilpattu national Park to the public, for the purpose of transportation when other roads from Puttalam to Mannar exist with far lesser demolishes of Nature.

As the environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardana explains, Wilpattu has been declared under Fauna & Flora Protection Ordinance as a National park and therefore the provision for section 3,5 and 6 apply which profuse that Wilpattu is solely for study and observation of wildlife and any activity beyond this interpretation is clearly violating the decree. In this instance the use of any road inside Wilpattu for public transportation is a clear violation of section 5 and 6. Although Fauna & Flora Protection Ordinance could be overridden by the National Security act, the security forces has all within their powers to use transportation inside Wipattu for security acts but this does not allow the law to be infringed to the degree of allowing civilian transport inside the national park.

Another building project this time in the coastal region of the Wilpattu national Park is also been subjugated for construction and is at the brink of it’s final touches. This road was also built by the Navy in an almost formidably secretive manner for the surveillance of the Coast and for assistance in transporting war equipment and maneuvering of ammunition necessities. It is reported that an LTTE naval centre on this coastal lines from Wellikulam to Kudiramali was situated during the conflict days.

The road which rummages through the coastal lines of the Wilpattu National Park has seen an equal measure in demolishment of trees and wilderness. Apart from the geological superiorities allocated beside the coastal lines such as the sand dunes provides as an excellent windbreaker which had been mercilessly burrowed way for this road , the obvious thriving of marine biological elements have also been found near the coastal region of Wilpattu.

Setting aside the wildlife roaming and the superior geological aspects of the coastlines, this portion of coast is invaluable for archeological reasons where the age old tales of origins of our civilization is etched in these sands. Prince Vijaya, from the North of India is said to have embarked upon the country for the first time when he was greeted by the mystic Kuweni of Lankapura.  The yet unexplored archeological site of an ancient harbor town with evidence of a conch shell bangle manufactory is also rumored to have existed along the coastal lines during the days of the past.

It is also reported that during the excavation for road construction, portions of the prehistoric cemetery in Pomparippuwa had also been unearthed and most probably been ruined by the sever construction duplicities that were carried out without the scrutiny of neither the Wildlife Conservation department nor the Archeological Department. It is also reported that the coastal road had been strategize for the tourism boost of the island in the post war scenario of Wilpattu.

Tourism to highway plantations to equally appalling torturing on spectacular diversities of the Wilpattu national Park, the human interventions have proven to be crippling for the age old laws of Nature. What leaves behind is a question of the mission to rescue the remaining splendor of the National Park and to plug in the scalping of Wilpattu, an inevitable hearkening of advancement occurring as I pen this. The lacing of the wilderness in the sanity of the charm of Wilpattu will be left for the history to ponder if the park is to be converted conventionally to a public domain. It is up to the necessary authorities to step in and counter mend the healing process of Wilpattu. This is a pleading of Nature, a pleading for the sake of Humanity.

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