News in Brief:
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 12 October 1999, 14:17 GMT]
Sinhalese encroaching on Tamil paddy fields, Flight to Colombo may cost rations, Regular trips from Vavuniya to Vanni.
Sinhalese encroaching on Tamil paddy fields
Sinhalese peasants have encroached the paddy lands belonging to the Tamil farmers in the boarder areas of the Ampara district, complained the Member of Parliament of the Batticaloa District Mr. P. Selvarajah.
Mr. Selvarajah has informed the Minister of Lands and Agriculture, Mr. D. M. Jayaretne that due to the encroachment by the majority community, 329 Tamil farmers have been affected.
The full extent of the paddy fields encroached by the Sinhalese is 851 acres.
Mr. Selvarajah has pointed out to the Minister concerned that the security forces have not permitted the Tamil farmers for the last nine years to cultivate 951 acres of lands at Pukumunmaricholai,, Kalvettai and Kalavarvettai in the 25th, 35 and 37th settlements in the area.
Mr.Selvarajah wanted the Minister to take steps to provide relief and compensation to these farmers.
Flight to Colombo may cost rations
The government has ordered that no free dry rations should be provided to those who travel by air and not by sea to Colombo from the Jaffna peninsula.
Accordingly, the Jaffna District Secretariat has instructed all Divisional Secretaries to provide free dry rations to people who travel by ship to Colombo.
In future, those who travel by air to Colombo from Jaffna will lose their free dry rations.
An officer of the Office of the Poverty Alleviation said that majority of those who fly to Colombo from Jaffna are getting free dry rations. They pay Rs. 5000 for air passage. Only financially sound could spend such large sums for their travelling. Hence the decision to stop the supply of free dry rations has been taken, he said.
This decision has affected large number of people in the peninsula, sources said. Poor people also travel by air to Colombo to attend urgent matters. They raise money needed for the air passage by mortgaging their properties or by borrowing money paying heavy interest, sources said.
Regular trips from Vavuniya to Vanni
Arrangements for regular weekly travel for civilians from the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) held Vavuniya areas to the Vanni region held by the Liberation Tigers, are underway, said government officials in Vavuniya.
The ICRC officials have agreed to provide escort for these civilians on every Thursday, they added.
However, there are no fixed arrangements for the civilians in the Vanni to travel to Vavuniya, said sources.
Meanwhile, S. Ragunathapillai, the Additional Government Agent in Vavuniya, said that 302 passengers are scheduled to travel to the Vanni areas held by the LTTE on Thursday, October 14, with the escort of the ICRC.