SLA restrictions affect cattle owners, farmers in Batticaloa district

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 26 August 2008, 09:56 GMT]
Cattle owners and farmers in Koara'laipattu South, Ea'raavoorpattu and Chengkaladi divisions of Batticaloa district have appealed to their respective Divisional Secretaries and Batticaloa Government Agent to help lift Sri Lanka Army (SLA) imposed restrictions in engaging in their livelihoods of dairy farming and agriculture. A threatening situation prevails in the remote villages of Batticaloa, especially against the cattle ownrs, as SLA soldiers manning the posts in Paduvaankarai region have stepped up deployment along jungle tracks and cattle posts used by cattle herders.

The SLA soldiers, instead of operating from their camps in areas brought under SLA control in Paduvaankarai area, have started to use cattle posts during nights and in the early hours.

There have been several incidents of harassment by the soldiers, who were on the look out for Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerrilla units in the jungle areas.

The cattle owners have complained that they were being instructed by the Sri Lankan soldiers to relocate their dairy centres to villages from cattle posts in the pastures along the jungle tracks.

The cattle owners have been forced to shift 200 to 300 dairy centres in the the region to their villages and the cattle are affected for want of sufficient pastures and drinking water.

Meanwhile, hundreds of acres of paddy fields in reaping stage in agricultural lands adjoining the villages, face the risk of being devoured by the cattle moved to places next to the paddy fields.

Problems and confrontations between farmers and dairy men have increased and the affected parties have appealed to the relevant authorities to intervene and solve their problems amicably in consultation with the SLA hierarchy in the region.


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