Military cuts down teak plantations grown by LTTE in the north

The lush teak plantations started by the LTTE three decades ago are now being cut down by the military stationed in the north and the east. Reports reaching us say they are getting the people of the areas to support the cutting down of the trees.

Especially, half of the hundreds of acres of teak cultivated at Therundikulam in the 1990s by the LTTE has been cleared now. The same fate is befalling the teak plantations on Mankulam-Oddusudan road and at Keppappulaw. A more than 100-acre teak plantation exists on the other side of Nandikadal lagoon, where Prabhakaran’s dead body was found. All these areas have now been militarized and many military camps are located.
The LTTE planted cashew and mango too. One example is the rich, 15 year old cashew plantation spanning many an acre found when travelling on A-32 road. The LTTE’s forest resources unit planted the teak. At that time, the south’s food supply to the north was almost at a standstill, and it wanted to make the area self-sufficient. Another intention was to supply fruits to its cadre in the battlefront.
The LTTE had banned cutting down the trees and a 24-hour forest range service operated. If found to have cut down trees, villagers were punished. Especially, if teak was cut down, they were told to collect dry tree leaves in the jungle from the morning until evening and gather them to be used as fertilizer.
Last year, it was reported that a politician was cutting down a big teak cultivation in Mullaitivu and selling the timber. According to the latest, the military in the north and the east has turned it into a private income method. We observed how the military was using its heavy vehicles to load the timber. While speaking to Jaffna villagers, they said, “The LTTE grew jungles, while the Sinhala government and the military cut down the jungles.” President Sirisena, who claims to be a villager and a lover of environment, seems unaware of this?
A special correspondent in Jaffna

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