SLA bans Colombo bound heavy vehicles from east

[TamilNet, Monday, 21 August 2006, 19:40 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has imposed a total ban on heavy vehicles transporting cargo such as fish, and other perishable goods from the districts of Amparai and Batticaloa to Colombo. These vehicles are stopped at Welikanda and Ottamavadi and sent back to Batticaloa and Amparai. The ban has come into effect since Saturday, civil sources said.

Usually Muslim and Tamil traders of Ottamavadi, Valaichchenai, Chenkalady, Eravur, Kattankudy, Kaluwanchchikudy in Batticaloa district and Maruthamunai, Kalmunai, Sainthamaruthu, Sammanthurai, Ninthavur and Akkaraipattu in Amparai district transporting fish and other produce from Batticaloa and Amparai to Colombo on their return trip bring rice, potatoes, vegetables and coconuts for sale in home areas.

SLA sources said only vehicles carrying passengers are allowed to Colombo from outstations. However outstation traders are allowed to bring their produce from other districts to Batticaloa and Amparai for sale. This has deprived the facility enjoyed by local traders by transporting essential food stuff from Colombo on their return trip after disposing the produce from the east.

SLA said the ban would be in force till the conclusion of the South Asian Games now being held in Colombo, Matale and Galle in the south. The South Asian Games will conclude on August 28.

Large number of heavy vehicles transporting fish and other perishable articles for sale in Colombo from the east were not allowed Monday by SLA soldiers to proceed beyond Welikanda and Ottamavadi.

Mr.C.Punnyamoorthy, Batticaloa Government Agent said the ban has come into effect for security reason and cargo brought by heavy vehicles from Colombo would be unloaded at Manampity check point in Pollonaruwa and transferred to another vehicle to be delivered in Batticaloa. In two to three days the new arrangement will be implemented and heavy vehicles taking cargo from Batticaloa and Amparai would be allowed to go up to Manampity SLA checkpoint in Pollonaruwa district and from there goods could be transferred to another vehicle to Colombo.

Mr.Punnyamoorthy further said he has received official intimation from the SLA authorities in Minneriya regarding the new procedure.

Batticaloa district parliamentarian Mr.P.Ariyanethran said even during the war no such ban was imposed on transporting cargo from east to Colombo. But during the no-war, no -peace situation such ban has been introduced. This indicates the repressive measures the government is imposing on Tamil speaking people.

He added that because of the transport ban the prices of essential food and other goods have increased several fold in the Batticaloa district and traders of Muslim and Tamil communities have been badly affected.

Mr.Ariyanethran said the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) would take up this matter when the Sri Lankan Parliament meets Tuesday.


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