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Canadian hotelier exposed for seizing public road for tourist beach resort

 

A businessman from Canada who fenced a strip of land for a luxury tourist resort on the picturesque beachfront of Sri Lanka’s war torn Mullaitivu district was found to have falsely claimed ownership.

Local authorities have strictly told a Canada-based hotelier in Sri Lanka, that he doesn’t have the right to block the access way to the sea and dismissed his claim of ownership over the approach road to the coast.

Earlier, angry fishers joined by residents dismantled the fortified barbed wire fences blocking the access to the sea shore and staged a protest, prompting intervention by local government officials.

Replying to the petition by 8 civil society organizations, the secretary of the Maritimepattu Pradeshiya Sabha in Mullaitivu district Rasayogini Jayakumar has made it clear, that the said approach road in Deo Nagar from the coast numbered NMUME283 belongs to the Pradeshya Sabha and they will take action for any obstruction.

“Action has been taken by the Maritimepattu Pradeshya Sabha concerning the road being blocked with a fence and a continued vigilance will be maintained regarding it”.

Emphasizing further Rasayogini Jayakumar has informed the petitioners that if any such activities happen in the future they have to inform the Pradeshya Sabha and not take action by themselves.

She has also said the concerned person has been informed of their decision through a letter.

Canada-based hotelier Charlesjanthan Antony and CEO of Canbe Foods Inc, Ontario has purchased a stretch of land along the war-torn Mullaitivu coast under the name of ‘Avalon Resort and Spa’.

The said land was purchased from the Jaffna Bishops’ house in 2017 or 2018. Ever since around 175 fishermen families who have lived there for over five decades have been facing immense hardship using the approach road to the coast which is in the middle of the land-to sea.

The businessman blocked the approach road used by the fishermen on the 26th of May this year by erecting a fence across the road and gravel piled up alongside, claiming it belonged to him and was part of his private land.

The Maritimepattu local authorities confirmed in writing on the 29th May the road is indeed Deo Nagar public road “and not private” as claimed by the owner of Avalon Resort and Spa.

Local journalists say the approach road was used by the local fishermen to transport their catch from the sea to the coastal road for over half a century.

Affected fishermen alleged a nexus exists between the landlord and the Sri Lankan military and he threatened them with their tacit support. The Canadian was emphasizing his right to the approach road to the coast.

Photographs published online and on social media earlier showed Antony and his local agents with the military to brass in Mullaitivu-which is Sri Lanka’s most militarized district.

The Deo Nagar fishermen village under the jurisdiction of the the Maritimepattu Pradeshya Sabha was established due to the intervention of the former Archbishop of Jaffna Late Jacob Bastiyampillai Deogupillai in 1973. Since then fishermen have been using the 200-meter coastal route to the sea which belonged to the Bishop’s house.

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