SLA fails to release Thenmaradchchi fields for cultivation

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 23 September 2003, 11:32 GMT]
Displaced farmers of Thenmaradchchi division in Jaffna district complained Tuesday that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has not released paddy fields yet as promised although the farmers have made necessary arrangements to plough and sow their fields, civil group sources said.

Of the five thousand acres of paddy fields located in the high security zones in Thenmaradchchi Division the SLA agreed at a conference held recently to release about one thousand acres for paddy cultivation by the internally displaced farmers now living elsewhere doing odd jobs to run their day-to-day life, sources said.

The said five thousand acres of paddy fields are located in Maravanpulo, Thanankilappu and Kaithady-Navatkuli. SLA had promised to release about one thousand acres from this extent bounded by west along Chavakachcheri Thanankilappu road, west by Thanankilappu-Maravanpulo road and south by Chavakachcheri-Navatkuli along railway line, sources said.

Since then displaced farmers have been waiting for the SLA officials located in the area to announce the guidelines for them to enter the released paddy fields and to commence their agricultural work such as clearing, ploughing and sowing in time before the northeast monsoon sets in, sources said.

Upto now the SLA has not allowed Halo demining group to demine the said released paddy fields, divisional sources said.

The delay in announcing the guidelines to do the cultivation and the refusal to de-mining the paddy fields by the SLA has caused deep concern to displaced farmers whether the SLA is trying to back out on its promise to release the paddy fields for cultivation, civil groups said

The outcome of the conference held in Colombo last week at the defense ministry on the question of HSZ in Jaffna district is also likely to have an negative impact, civil group sources said.

Defense Minister Mr.Tilak Marapone had said at the conference that HSZ in Jaffna district would remain until a permanent solution is found to the conflict, sources reminded


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