More farmers demand solution to human-elephant conflict

More farmers demand solution to human-elephant conflict

More farmers demand solution to human-elephant conflict

Written by Zulfick Farzan

18 Mar, 2021 | 5:59 pm

Colombo (News 1st); Another group of farmers, this time from Uhana in the Eastern Province took to the streets on Thursday (18) demanding a solution for the human-elephant conflict experienced daily.

These farmers decided to obstruct the Ampara – Uhana Road from the Uhana Town forcing traffic to come to a complete standstill for over an hour.

Multiple agrarian unions joined hands with these farmers in their call for a solution to the growing human-elephant conflict in the east.

“My brother was mauled to death by a wild elephant a month ago and one elephant walked across my garden last night,” said one farmer highlighting the fear among many farmers living in Uhana.

Several other farmers also voiced their issues adding it is now impossible to even visit a neighbor for assistance due to the threat of wild elephants.

Wasantha Piyatissa, a leader of an agrarian movement said according to wildlife officers, the entire Ampara District has only 07 vehicles, while one minister enjoys a fleet of almost 10 vehicles.

At the same time, farmers in Mahiyanganaya are engaged in a satyagraha campaign for the second consecutive day demanding a solution for the human-elephant conflict.

The All Ceylon Agrarian Confederation and the Mahiyanganaya Farmers Collective are engaged in this satyagraha campaign at the Mahiyanganaya town in support of the farmers from Walsapugala.

For the 61st consecutive day, farmers in Walsapugala are engaged in a Satyagraha campaign demanding the Proposed Wild Elephant Management Reserve in Hambantota be included in the government gazette.

86 agrarian organizations are supporting the satyagraha campaign which was launched on the 18th of January 2021.

Earlier, the leader of the movement commenced a fast unto death campaign and it was called off after Minister Chamal Rajapaksa promised to meet their demand on the 23rd of January and to solve their issue within a month.

The satyagraha campaign continued as the issue remained unsolved, forcing three Walsapugala farmers to re-commence their fast unto death campaign on the 07th of March, which was later called off.

In late February, the Cabinet of Ministers granted their consent for the combined resolution to publish the government gazette for the proposed Wild Elephant Management Reserve in Hambantota.

However, the farmers continue to be engaged in the Satyagraha Campaign until the gazette is published by the government printer.

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