Over 150,000 A’pura farmer families in need of drought relief | Daily News

Over 150,000 A’pura farmer families in need of drought relief

The drought, despite a few showers experienced during the late monsoon rains, is continuing in the Anuradhapura district.

Anuradhapura Government Agent R. M. Wanninayake told the Daily News that water levels of 13 major tanks in the district, which slightly increased due to rains, are now dropping again. No tank had reached the spill level except for around 25 to 30 minor irrigation tanks.

Over 150,000 farmer families are still in need of drought relief for sustenance in the Anuradhapura district. It was envisaged to cultivate paddy in 130,204 hectares under major irrigation schemes, minor irrigation small tanks, medium scale tanks which covers 27,440 hectares and 16,302 hectares in the Mahaweli H area and rain-fed areas.

Only 70,000 hectares have been cultivated during this 2017/2018 Maha season. It has been estimated that only 55 percent of the targeted landscape is under paddy cultivation.

Referring to the 2017/18 Maha seasonal additional crops cultivation in 55,000 hectares, mainly maize, chili, undhu and kurakkan, Anuradhapura Government Agent Wanninayake said farmers have succeeded only in growing additional crops in 16,000 hectares which is around 29 percent of the target. He said in consideration of the water levels of tanks, a maximum of three water turns could be released from major tanks, after maintaining a water level sufficient for drinking purposes.

“There are no signs of rain. The farmers are facing many challenges in managing their livelihood. Under the circumstances, we will extend the distribution of free dry food rations to 150,000 farmer families.

I have instructed divisional secretaries to be on vigilance about families eligible for dry food rations but being deprived of the facility due to oversight or as a result of prolongation of the drought for extending the livelihood support to them,” he said.

“Also, Grama Niladharis have been instructed to look into the scarcity of drinking water in their divisions to start the distribution of drinking water from bowsers again. Two months ago, 35,000 families in 18 DS divisions were provided drinking water using a fleet of bowsers,” he added.

Wanninayaka said for the distribution of free dry food rations bags, around Rs. 720 million is required per round.


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