Mullaitivu: Agriculture takes pride of place
Mullaitivu is now a bustling city with no more traces of a
battle.Pudukuduyirippu, Puthumathalan, Mullivaikkal are a hive of
activity with normalcy being restored in the area. Five years after the
end of the three-decade battle against terrorism, the Mullaitivu
district is full of activities with business thriving.
Jagath Dias takes part in religious rites
clearing lands for cultivation
field for ploughing
causeway to drain rain water
Being isolated from the main stream development which the rest of the
country was privileged to enjoy, the Mullaitivu district needed more
attention. Today one could see the results of development in the area.
Under LTTE terrorism, the district remained a mine-infested region, not
accessible to the Government's development programs. People had to flee
their homes often.
New roads with carpeted tarmac, fine drainage and sewerage systems
with street lights and sign boards to byroads was a promising sight to
realise that proper infrastructure is being provided to these areas
after a long period..
Especially the lagoon based areas like Vadduvakal and
Vellamullivaikkal where thousands of civilians broke loose the terrorist
boundaries and started swimming towards the cleared areas as well as
Puthumathalan and Pudukuduyirippu areas are now peaceful villages with
facilities to live a peaceful life.
Though not much known, Mullaitivu had been flourishing in agriculture
during the good old days. The dairy and agriculture farmers did not have
the opportunity to engage in economic development activities due to lack
More than 70 percent of the people in the district are engaged in
agriculture, said the District Secretary N. Vedanayagam. According to
him almost all in the agriculture sector are now fully engaged in their
cultivation businesses. Nearly 20,000 families are engaged in farming,
according to the District Secretary.
Though fully resettled farmers still find it difficult to find labour
and resources for cultivation. Paddy fields that gave a rich harvest in
the past are abandoned for a long time. People had no means to resume
Being equally important as an agriculture area, many parts of the
district depend on rain water for cultivation. Irrigation schemes are
there, but some need further improvement to provide water for more paddy
fields. The main irrigation tanks are in Muthiyankattu, Vavunikulam,
Thannimurippu and Vishvamadu.
In addition there are minor tanks in the area. The initial
resettlement in the Mullaitivu district was commenced in the two AGA
Divisions in October 2009 with the gradual de-mining and presently there
are no internally displaced camps in the district with the closure of
the Menik Farm in September 2012, according to the District Secretariat
The Mullaitivu town has been transformed into a bustling town similar
to a developed town in the south. The rural villages needed similar
development. Houses, schools and better healthcare facilities with
fully-fledged hospitals and medical centres brought back life to these
once devastated lands. Well established government offices such as the
district secretariat and the police station gives not only the
impression that the regular state service is running as normal as in the
South but the confidence of the newly resettled civilians being looked
after in a promising manner.
The support rendered to the agriculture sector is similar. Yet
finding the labour force has been a major problem for the farmers as all
of them are at the reviving state of their livelihood.
Despite many problems the Mullaitivu distri recorded a paddy
production of 17,769 metric tons last year while other food crops
harvest 7692 metric tons, vegetables 2123 metric tons and fruits 565
In this situation the Sri Lanka Army extended their help on the
request of the Divisional Secretariat office. Troops deployed under the
Security Forces Headquarters were given the responsibility of developing
these abandoned lands to arable lands.
"People want peace, good education for their kith and kin and
development," said Major General Jagath Dias, Security Forces
Commander of Mullaitivu.
He said his task is to ensure a peaceful environment in the area.
The established system is that the District Secretary of Mullaitivu
coordinates development work in the district. However, when he request
help the military extends its fullest support. The military always play
a supportive role . The military has a good coordination with the
Mullaitivu has the potential to become an agriculture- based economic
centre, said Major General Dias .
During an interview with the Sunday Observer, Maj. Gen. Dias said it
is high time the country started using this resourceful land for the
betterment of the country and its people.
The Army have cleared land for griculture. Recently 93 acres in
Vaveddikulam area belonging to 24 farmers and 79 plots of paddy land of
36 farmers were cleared and handed over to the owners. Around 210 acres
of paddy land in Pirammadu area were handed over to 70 farmer families.
Currently more arable lands are being cleared with the help of the y
soldiers. Paddy fields in Otiyamali area extending to 40 acres have been
prepared for cultivation with the help of the Army.
" The Army will assist the people who were rescued by our own Forces.
As soldiers, we know we are working with sensitive issues, yet we
will continue to be engaged in nation building as our priority is to
help our people. It is our bounden duty", Maj. Gen Dias said. "When
something happens, people expect the Army to get involved as they have a
good understanding and trust with the soldiers. They feel safe when the
Army is around. They know that at any emergency, officers and soldiers
are there to help them," he said.
A significant contribution by the Army is seen in the present
projects of the Mullaitivu district, especially on instances where
the Government Administration seeks their help.
Their efforts are not only to assist the Government national
development plan, but also to work on their personal level to meet the
targets of the national development program and upgrade the lives of