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
"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
"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.
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.
Mr.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
"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.