SLAF occupation adds to Muthalikulam farmers' woes

[TamilNet, Sunday, 08 December 2002, 16:43 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) occupies twelve buildings of the Irrigation Department located at Pankulam and Muthalikulam, 24 km west of Trincomalee town blocking the Engineers from providing water to resettled farmers engaged in paddy cultivation causing severe hardship, rehabilitation agency sources said.

These government buildings were used as the central location for organizing maintenance works of the Muthalikulam (Morawewa) and Pankulam tanks till 1990.

Muthalikulam sluice
"We now come all the way from Trincomalee town to Muthalikulam and Pankulam to attend to the urgent irrigation works and other related needs of resettled farmers. It consumes more time and causes delay in assisting farmers in their cultivation," a high level irrigation official told Tamilnet.

"The resettled farmers have brought about two thousands acres under paddy cultivation during 2002 Maha season since the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the government and the LTTE," said the irrigation official.

The Muthalikulam irrigation scheme serves about 4041 acres of paddy fields which have not been uncultivated for the last twelve years. Following the outbreak of violence in 1990 with the withdrawal of Indian Peace Keeping Force, entire Tamil colonies were driven out of Muthalikulam and Pankulam by the State armed forces and Sinhala thugs, returnees said. Some Sinhala colonists remained in the area along the main road with the protection of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the Police, sources added.

Muthalikulam is a traditional Tamil village. However the government has named it as Morawewa when it launched a colonization scheme under the said tank in 1961. The tank was restored in 1961 with a capacity of 31,000 acre-feet of water, residents said. The length of the tank bund is 1550 feet.

Trincomalee district Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Mr.R.Sampanthan accompanied by TNA national list parliamentarian Mr.K.Thurairatnasingham and LTTE Kumburupiddy area political head Mr. Sivakumar Saturday visited Muthalikulam and Pankulam villages on the Trincomalee Anuradhapura road to find out the hardships of the resettled farmers now engaged in paddy cultivation after twelve years.

Pillaiyar Temple


The team led by Mr.Sampanthan first went to the Pankulam Pilliayar Temple which was during the 1990 violence and remains in dilapidated condition. The team then visited Muthalikulam tank (Morawewa). The bund almost 30 feet high is almost full and about to overflow through its spill gate.

KalikuttyMr.V.Kalikutty, 70, a veteran farmer of Muthalikulam now lives in a cadjan-thatched room, and busy preparing his fields for sowing by the end of this month showed the visiting team his destroyed house.

"Roads should be repaired; schools, post office and hospital should be re-opened. Then only heads of displaced would bring their wives and children to the village. The success of complete resettlement depends on providing all infrastructure facilities in the village as early as possible," Kalikutty told the team.

TNA parliamentarian Mr.Sampanthan told a group of resettled farmers that with the dawn of New Year positive steps will be taken to provide all infrastructure facilities to the villages.

"We need these facilities with the first harvest of paddy after almost a decade,"s aid displaced farmers who are now busy in sowing their paddy fields.

 

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