70,000 farmers affected in Paduvaankarai
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 20:34 GMT]
Around 17,000 acres of paddy cultivation in Batticaloa district were affected due to the recent military offensive in the district, a report released by the Agrarian Services Department, Batticaloa said. Eleven Agrarian divisions- Kiraan, Vaazhaichcheanai, Ea'raavur, Thaanthaamalai, Vanthaa'rumoolai, Karadiyanaa'ru, Vellaave'li, Kokkaddichchoalai, Pazhukaamam, Aayiththiyamalai and Ma'ndapaththadi- were included in the study, officials said.
63,215 acres of land in Batticaloa district is cultivated during the main season and 31,480 acres for the secondary season. According to the 2006 statistics, 70,000 metric tons of paddy were produced during the main season and around 50,000 metric tons were produced in the secondary season.
Due to the present situation, more than 20,000 farmers were affected directly and around 50,000 agrarian workers who work under this sector lost their income. Besides, small-scale farmers who grow other crops, hunters and fresh water fishermen too were affected and lost their income, the report said.
Moreover, cattle breeders who milk 21,000 liter per day in Paduvaankarai region and sell it to two milk collecting centers situated at Chiththaa'ndi and Kaavaththaimunai, too were affected.
The cattle either died or fled to jungles due to incessant shelling. The remaining cattle, were slaughtered by the Sri Lankan armed forces for meat. Furthermore, the armed forces took away the entire paddy stored by the farmers for future uses including sowing for the next seasons. They took away the big brass pots, pans, and electric fans too for their usage, sources said.
In the Vellaave'li Divisional Secretariat alone, 22 electric fans were removed. Besides, electric and electronic equipments including computers were taken away in the schools too, civil society sources said.