Trincomalee farmers demand drought relief

[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 March 2004, 00:37 GMT]
More than one hundred and fifty farmers from Sambaltivu, Varothia Nagar, Sarathapuram, Kanniya, Aandankulam and Kappalthurai in the Trincomalee district Wednesday picketed in front of the office of the Trincomalee town and gravets Divisional Secretariat demanding that they should be paid drought relief similar to those given to farmers in the districts of Anuradhapura, Amparai, and Polonaruwa, civil society sources in Trincomalee said.

"We farmers in villages in the Trincomalee town and gravets area have been suffering due to current severe drought and our crops have been destroyed. Hence we need drought relief for our existence. But the Sri Lanka government authorities have not taken steps to provide such assistance," said the farmers in a memorandum submitted to the Trincomalee Divisional Secretary.

A better marketing network should be established enabling the farmers to market their produce at a good price. Currently farmers are forced to sell their produce for lower prices in comparison to other areas in the country, the memorandum further stated.

Farmers requested the government authorities to take immediate steps to stop wayward elephants from damaging their food crops. Within the last few months elephants have destroyed more than thousand coconut trees. "We need compensation for this loss," said the memorandum.

Trincomalee Divisional Secretary Mr.S.Arumainayakam held discussions with the picketing farmers and assured them that he would convey their complaints and demands to the Government Agent of Trincomalee district and would take appropriate steps to provide relief.

The picketers later dispersed on the assurance of the Trincomalee Divisional Secretary.

The organizers of the picketing said that they will organize a mass agitation covering the entire district in Trincomalee in the near future if their demands are not met within a reasonable time, sources said.


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