- Published on Monday, 25 June 2012 14:18
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The Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene informed that there is a danger of about 150,000 acres of cultivation lands getting destroyed due to the draught situation prevailing in certain parts of the country. He said that the drought has severely affected the areas nurtured by the Kothmale and Polgolla reservoirs. The Minister said that the government will provide maximum assistance to the farming community affected by the drought.
He also said that many of the small tanks in the North, North Central and some other provinces have become dry, and the cultivations have got destroyed making the formers in these areas destitute. He said that due to non receipt of north – east monsoon rains many areas that are cultivated with irrigation water have become abandoned.
The Minister said that the government grasping this situation well in time has requested the farmers to cultivate additional crops. However, some farmers ignored this request and cultivated paddy and these paddy lands are getting destroyed.
Officials of the Irrigation Department said that in the Elahera project of polonnaruwa, 7,500 acres were abandoned without any cultivation. In the Girithale project the last issue of water has also been carried out. They said that the draught has also severely affected the Mahaweli ‘H’ zone as well, and in this area 15,000 hectares of paddy and about 50,000 hectares of additional crops are threatened with destruction. They said that water levels of reservoirs and tanks in the area are receding rapidly.
The Agricultural Minister pointed out that however, the farmers in the Eastern Province have become successful in carrying out their cultivation activities due to proper water management. He added that 75 percent of the cultivation lands have been cultivated with paddy in the Yala season, and in the balance 25 percent additional crops have been cultivated.
The Irrigation Network of the Eastern Province which was destroyed in the last year due to floods was renovated expeditiously. The farmers commended the expeditious steps taken by the government and said that this measure helped them to become successful in their cultivation activities. About 60 irrigation projects in the Ampara district were destroyed by floods last year. The government spent more than Rs. 170 million for renovation of these irrigation works, with farmers contributing for the labour work.
The Irrigation Department informed that although the severe draught has affected the Ampara district as well, the water requirement of the district can be supplied. In the Yala season about 67,000 hectares have been cultivated with paddy in the district. The officials of the Department said that the people showed special interest in cultivating several thousand acres of land which were abandoned due to terrorirst activities all these years. (niz)