News In Brief
[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The Sri Lankan army leaves its landmines in University grounds. New passports for Jaffna's troublesome citizens while its farmers face a new problem.
SLA landmines litter university grounds
Landmines left behind by the Sri Lankan army in the new grounds of the Jaffna university have become a dangerous menace to life in the area.
Cattle and goats which have strayed onto the grounds get blown up regularly. The University is unable to use the grounds for its sports activities because of these lethal devices.
The Sri Lankan army was camped here until recently.
As the area beyond Potpathy road in Kokkuvil remained without any Sri Lankan army presence until May this year, the SL army detachment on the University grounds had set up a large mine field ahead of its positions.
Officials of the Jaffna university have made many representations about this problem to the Jaffna town Brigadier Mendis but to no avail.
Army abandons Kallundai barricade
The Sri Lankan army removed the barricade at Kallundai on the entrance to the Jaffna town.
People coming into the town from Waligamam west and nearby areas find this road through Kallundai and Navanthurai quite convenient.
However, the Sri Lankan army isn't allowing any vehicles through this route except bicycles and motorcycles.
Jaffna brain drain encouraged
The Jaffna GA has made arrangements for issuing passports to the people of Jaffna next month through a mobile service.
Application forms for passports will be available at the Jaffna Kachcheri from next week said an official.
People in Jaffna have faced tremendous difficulties in the past to obtain passports.
But this official, apparently a cynic added - "This is one service the Tamils in the peninsula have been able to secure from the Sri Lankan government without any difficulty for Colombo knows this is another way to rid the north of a prosperous and politically assertive population."
Farmers hit by drought, fog - and cattle
Rice farmers in Jaffna who have been hit by a severe drought this year are further alarmed that morning fogs have begun to appear in many parts of the peninsula.
The fog normally appears in December. The farmers fear that its arrival in early October is an indication that the monsoons might be delayed this year.
But Rice farmers in Vaddukoddai and Araly who can irrigate their paddy fields are faced with another menace - marauding cattle from Navaly and Anaikkottai.
Cattle owners in these areas are hard pressed because most pastures and sources for fodder here are scorched.
Hence farmers in Araly and Vaddukkoddai have to stand guard in their paddy fields during the day under the burning sun to keep the cattle from ruining the crops.