SLA ban affects cultivation in LTTE held Batticaloa villages
[TamilNet, Thursday, 31 August 2006, 23:55 GMT]
Cultivation of paddy in about fifty thousand acres and cash crop in around forty thousand acres in the LTTE controlled areas in Batticaloa district has been completely affected as the farmers are not allowed to enter the government controlled area to buy agro-chemicals, fertilizer for their crops and to purchase petroleum products for the use of tractors via SLA checkpoints located in Vavunativu, Chenkalady and Kiran Bridges and Vaharai road, pointed out Mr. P.Ariyanethran and Miss K.Thangeswary, Batticaloa district Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians at a conference held Thursday morning in the Batticaloa District Secretariat Auditorium.
Furthermore these farmers are unable to buy agro-chemicals and fertilizer for their crops and also to sell their produce at a competitive price in the open market in government held territory.
The conference was summoned to look into the problems faced by the farmers in Batticaloa District following the closure of gateways to the LTTE controlled area by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) with the participation of security and civil officials and parliamentarians. Representatives of farmers' organizations also attended the discussion and aired their grievances. Mr.K.Mahesan, the Additional Government Agent of Batticaloa, presided.
Parliamentarians and farmers' representatives requested that the gateways to LTTE controlled villages in the district should be re-opened immediately and the cultivators should be allowed without restriction from the government controlled territory urgently needed agro-chemicals, fertilizers and petroleum products for their agricultural activities through the SLA entry points.
Parliamentarians brought to the notice of the authorities that they took up the grievances of farmers located in LTTE held areas with the Deputy Defence Minister on many occasions but assurances given by the authorities were not still implemented.
Major Bertie Perera, Civil Coordinator of the 23.3rd Brigade in Batticaloa, in reply said the that the Army is not restricting nor preventing the farmers taking agro-chemicals and other related materials for farming through its checkpoints located at Vavunativu, Chenkalady and Kiran Bridges and Vaharai road. He also advised the parliamentarians to contact SSP Ranjith Perera, the Commanding Officer of the Special Task Force (STF), about the reopening of Ampilanthurai and Manmunai ferry services which come under the STF purview.
MPs later held discussion with Colonel Subasinghe, Brigade Commander of the 23.3rd Brigade.