Colombo falls short on shipment of essentials- GA

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 November 2006, 15:01 GMT]
The Government Agent of Jaffna, K. Ganesh, in a media report sent to local papers, said that nearly 25% shortfall in amount of required food and essential items sent by Colombo to Jaffna district was the main cause for the high prices and the difficulties residents are facing, having to stand in long lines to procure provisions, civil society sources in Jaffna said.

Jaffna Secretariat requested a total of 25,104 metric tons of essentials as the basic requirement for the period from end of August to October. Colombo shipped only 19,358 metric tons, 5747 metric tons short of the very basic requirement, the GA said. These figures only apply to essential food items. Many other essential commodities were supplemented from existing stock made available by private traders.

A box of matches, which is usually sold for Rs. 2.50, is in some areas being sold for Rs.400, a Vadamaradchy resident told TamilNet.

If Colombo has given high priority to shipping the needed items, the unnecessary hardships in paying high prices and difficulty in getting the essential goods could have been avoided, the GA said.

With stocks of food and other items nearly empty in private businesses, Mr Ganesh said that for the month of November, his Secretariat has requested a total of 24,481 metric tons of basic food and other essential supplies broken down as follows:
Required November Supplies for Jaffna District

Item

Metric Tons

Essential Food items

12,000

Other Food Items

8,336

Non-food perishables

738

Medical supplies

150

Agriculture supplies and Fertilizer

1,872

Cattle Feed

1,300

Agricultural Chemicals

10

Student school supplies

100

Office supplies

50

Miscellaneous

25

TOTAL

24,481 mt



Mr Ganesh also told the media that talks are in progress related to the shortage of fuel in Jaffna.

Meanwhile, Agricultural officials in Jaffna said that although two months have passed since the beginning of sowing season, shortage of fertilzer and chemical spray are hampering agriculture in Jaffna. Farmers are working with the existing stock saved from previous seasons, officials said.

Out of the 9000 hectares of arable land only 6000 hectares are being used for crop cultivation, according to

Jaffna farmers point out that Mahinda Chintanaya is benefitting southern farmers who can buy fertizers at a controlled price of Rs.350.


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