Villagers petition local government to take action

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Villagers from Naula and Moragolla handed over a petition to the Naula Divisional Secretary, requesting a solution to the long-running human-elephant conflict.

Divisional Secretary of Naula, Chinthaka Ilangasinghe said, that the petition was handed over by the villagers after local was killed by an elephant on 18 May.

Reisdents from many Grama Niladhari Divisions, including Galboda, Mogolla, Welgala, Opalgala, Ambana, Senagama, Moragahamada, Gangimayaya, Kumbiyangaha Ela, Rajawela, Kongahawela, Akkara Panaha, Maragamuwa, Pubibiliya, Helambagahawatta, Bambaragahawatta, and Dambagolla were also present.

The villagers, who claim that two people have been attacked in the area, presented nine proposals to address the wild elephant issue.

The proposals include; driving the wild elephants out of the villages, repairing electric fences, issuing elephant repellent firecrackers to every family within a certain time frame, installing street lights wherever possible and evacuating residents of Galboda and Moragolla villages. The other demands include expediting the drinking water project and providing ammunition without a title deed check, as well as to clearing both sides of the road near the Amban River to Galboda and resettling identified people in the vacant land between the Amban River and Moragolla.

The villagers said, that their demands should be processed within a week and that they are ready to assist if needed. They also warned that if the authorities do not intervene public anger will spill into the streets.

An official accepted the letter on behalf of the Divisional Secretary and said, action will be taken to inform the Divisional Secretary as soon as possible.

Ven. Maraka Dhammaratana Thero of the Moragolla Temple and JVP activist Sunil Shantha, were present with the villagers when the petition was handed over to the Divisional Secretariat. 

When contacted, Ilangasinghe noted that they had already made decisions on the matter focusing primarily on six resolutions. He said that the decisions were made in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Department, Provincial Councils, a Thera affiliated with the village’s temple and villagers, including the deceased’s brother.

By Kanchana Kolagolla