Over 5,000 farmers in the Thambalagamuwa Divisional Secretariat area have been left in quandary due to the shortage of diesel to operate the machinery needed to ready their paddy fields this season.
Thambalagamuwa Divisional Secretary Gauri Sripathi noted that due to the frequent complaints received from farmers, she had informed all responsible parties in writing about the fuel scarcity.
The main reason for this is because there is only one diesel shed in the Thambalagamuwa area, where farming is the main source of income, she explained.
Thambalagamuwa Mollipathana Farmers’ Association Chairman Jaufar commented on the injustice, saying, “Our sole source of income is farming. Without fertiliser, we lost everything last season. This Yala season, there is no diesel. My backyard contains 600 acres of paddy fields. Only 15 acres have been cleared up to today. The other paddy fields, as well as Gemunupura, Shiraj Nagar, and Potkeni, have not been cleared due to the non-availability of diesel. The scenario is identical at other paddy fields,” he said.
“I have 677 acres in my yard, of which only 50 acres have been cleared so far,” said Mollipathana Chairman Subair. “They must re-weed as well because it is too late to weed. The Mollipathana 96 region has only one shed. The fuel tanker recently got 6,660 litres of fuel on 3 March. It came to an end on 4 May.”
Speaking further he also said that the administration claims that diesel is only given for vital purposes. “So, isn’t it necessary that we eat rice? These are just jokes. We ask the government to provide at least two bowsers of diesel as soon as possible,” he said.
BY W. M. Wickremesinghe – Kantale