Ihala Bisokotuwa Needing Attention
By Eunice Ruth and Sarthchandra Wickramasinghe
Ihala Bisokotuwa is a village located in the Anuradhapura District on the Mora Oya and divides the town of Padaviya from the Padaviya Reservoir. In order to protect Padaviya from LTTE terrorists, Ihala Bisokotuwa was founded, the villagers said.
Twenty five years have lapsed since the village was founded with the number of families having increased. The villagers are now facing a desperate situation and neither the Government nor any other authority has found any solutions to their problems.
During the separatist war the village was given high security and lots of support to protect Padaviya but now no one pays any more attention to them. The Government had allocated 40 perches of land to each villager, but half of that land has now been washed into the Mora Oya.
She said “the village was founded to shield Padaviya from LTTE threats during the separatist war. The houses were built along the banks of the Mora Oya. The people of the village made a great effort in saving the village and Padaviya from the LTTE. During the war the villagers had no food, no sleep and no assurance of their lives.
However, even after the war and everything is back to normal, our situation keeps on getting worse. We built houses on the 40 Perches of land given to us and we’ve built houses along the Banks of Mora Oya. Unfortunately, half of the land got washed away by the Mora Oya. With the walls of the houses being cracked, we are not sure when the houses will collapse and take our lives. We request the relevant authorities to look into this issue and provide us houses elsewhere before it’s too late.”
She said “Initially the terrorists easily entered Padaviya by crossing Mora Oya and then the village with all our houses was built to prevent the LTTE from entering the town. We played a huge role in protecting it.
Along with the 40 perches of land we were also given Rs 95,000 to build our houses, but now half of our land is washed away and we can’t even plant a tree. We now have nowhere to go and even if we do go we are not rich enough to build another house in a new place.
When the sluice gates are opened the villagers get trapped and the students are unable to go to school. Every one suffers during this situation and to overcome and resolve this issue, we request the Government and relevant authorities to build a bridge. Some of the villagers have left the place due to the problems we are experiencing.”
He said “when we started building the villages there were 50 families and now it has expanded to 70. Considering our situation with the exception of one or two, we have no way to lead our lives as we have no way of earning our daily bread. Due to the lack of facilities we are unable to engage in cultivation or any other activities to earn some money.
A Few days ago, a water pump was donated by a politician, but unfortunately, the remaining parts required were not given and its rendered useless. Due to the lack of water, after the rainy season and during the beginning of the dry season, all our crops die.
Another problem which arises is the next generation is unable to move to newer pastures and build their own houses as they have to depend on their parents. If the Government can provide them a little land, it will be very useful for them to start their own life.
It has been 25 years since the establishment of this village, and even with facilities like electricity and water provided, other major facilities have not been provided and not even considered by anyone, he said. A community hall was built by a private organisation in the village. The roads of the village are damaged and in some parts of the village there are no drainage points for rain water to drain out. On rainy days, the entire village looks muddy.
One or two persons from the village work as minor staff in Government offices and the rest live on their daily earnings. Samurdhi funds have not been provided to us.”
He said “The Padaviya Irrigation Office has recently sent letters to us asking us to vacate our houses stating that we are illegally residing on their land. If the people are not willing to vacate their houses, the department will take legal action against them, the letter states. The land was given to us by the Government and even the funds were provided by the Government. Some land owners have legal documents and it is not fair to claim that we are residing illegally here.”