SLA bans Jaffna paddy cultivation
[TamilNet, Monday, 27 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The SLA has banned paddy cultivation in the Palai administrative division of the Jaffna peninsula.
A large number of poor farmers who had prepared their field in time for the rains which arrived after a long delay this year have been severely affected by this ban.
More than seven hundred acres will have to lie fallow as a consequence.
The army has said that attack groups of the Liberation Tigers will be able to hide in the paddy once it grows more than knee high in the large paddy fields of the Palai division.
But farmers who have invested their meagre savings, or who have borrowed capital at high interest rates, to prepare their fields in time for the monsoon sowing say that the army should have thought about this earlier rather than waiting until the eleventh hour and virtually hitting them below the belt at this juncture.
They are planning to send an appeal to the concerned authorities.
The ban on cultivation in areas suspected of high LTTE activity was common in the eastern province between 1990 and 1995.
More than hundred thousand acres of fertile paddy fields had to be abandoned by Tamil farmers as the army and the Special Task Force imposed and maintained a strict ban on all cultivation in most of the large agricultural areas of the hinterlands of the east.
Thousands of families which depended on paddy and small crops became destitute almost overnight as a result of such bans.