SLA bars Halo Trust from de-mining HSZ paddy fields
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 16 September 2003, 15:35 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army said Tuesday that it would not allow demining groups to de-mine the released paddy fields for cultivation in the high security zones in Thenmaradchi south division in Jaffna district, and instead would use its own soldiers for the de-mining, security sources said.
The SLA earlier released about one fifth of the 5000 acres of paddy fields that come under the high security zones in Thenmaradchi south division for paddy cultivation by the internally displaced persons.
It was also decided at a conference the SLA held earlier with civil authorities to allow the Halo Trust demining group to demine the released paddy fields, sources said.
Hence the Government Agent of Jaffna district sought the permission from the SLA northern commander to deploy the HALO TRUST group to demine the paddy fields enabling the farmers to sow in time.
However, the SLA has now disallowed the request and has now deployed its soldiers to do the de-mining, district secretariat sources said.
Meanwhile, agricultural organizations in the area have complained to the civil authorities that SLA officials located in Thenmaradchi division are not allowing farmers to enter the paddy fields that have been released for cultivation, thus causing delay in sowing their paddy fields with the coming of northeast monsoon which is expected at any time, sources said.
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