Professor A.S.Soosai (Department of Geography, University of Jaffna)
Following the agreements in 1974 and 1976 Katchatheevu Island became the property of Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu government for several years that, the as per a deceitful agreement of the Central Government that, the Kachathveevu Island became the property of Sri Lanka and that, it actually belongs to the Tamil Nadu.
For several years Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka were debating that this island belongs to them. But in the land maps, it had been shown administratively under Delft Divisional Secretariat and all the islands in the North come under the purview of the Northern Provincial Council, this Island belongs to the NPC.
We wish to insist that this island belongs to the Northern Provincial Council and that the Indian Government will review the attempts to capture this island. This un-inhibited island lies at a strategically important location between Tamil Nadu of India and the Island sector of Jaffna.
After this island became the property of Sri Lanka, The Catholic Administration is celebrating the feast of St. Antony’s festival annually, on this island. The Pilgrims of Tamil Nadu are allowed to attend this festival. People are prohibited to visit the island except during this annual festival. The Sri Lankan Government is monitoring this island on the pretext of National Security.
Five years had passed from the end of the war. The Military side is putting forward a captious argument of National Security for not getting out of several areas. This will suit to Katchatheevu also. The Military side in indulging in a disrespectful act of installing Viharas and Stupas wherever they are, and as soon as possible. Katchatheevu also may befall this destiny. Three kilometre long and of a small area, Katchatheevu,is a beautiful island having Cellular rocks and flourishing marine plants around it. The Marine resources around it are very rich in nature. The pink gold variety of Prawns which earns much foreign exchange, Lobsters, beach – de- mers, conch shells, Cuttle Fish, crabs and small varieties of fishes are found in abundance around this island. This area has been turned into the hunting ground Tamil Nadu fishermen.AS our Chief Minister said, it is important to stop the Indian Fishermen devastating the marine resources here using banned types of nets.
If the Tamil Nadu Government and their Central Government wishes to do some good to the distressed Eelam Tamils, then, they must stop the transgressing Indian fishermen and cooperate with the NPC to utilize fully, Katchatheevu and its surroundings. This may form the basis for bringing the issue between Indian – Sri Lankan fishermen to a finish.
A Marine Park around Katchatheevu
The NPC should declare this island and its surrounding as a Marine Park. In fact there are no other Marine Park for the purpose of preserving Marine Resources.
Hence it is necessary that, this island and its surroundings must be declared a Marine Park and preserve this island and the Marine resources around this island.
While undertaking marine researches around this island, This Island may be utilized as a tourist spot and foreign Exchange could be earned. This will benefit not only the Northern region but the whole country. We wish that the Sri Lankan Government will take action to utilize fully the Katchatheevu area.
Thus the Northern Provincial Council, Fisheries and Environmental Ministries, the University of Jaffna and the Northern region Fisheries Department should get together and think about the future of this island. The Delft Divisional Secretariat should be highly vigilant about this island.
If the NPC does not utilize the island, it will easily become a national island of Sri Lanka, a Navy base and through that a Buddhist soil.
Note: English translation of the article written in Valampuri Newspaper.