Ever green trees bound around.
Streams flowing all around,
the paddy in the field nodding up head.
Flowers blooming in the lawn bed.
Seasons keeps on chasing each other.
The sun and moon playing hide and seek together.
Humming birds fly over like silver stream.
While the sun lingering in golden gleam.
In the wonder land dreaming I lie.
Echoes and memories never die.
But my inner heart said;
“In this vast earth you are such a dot
But we can love and think but earth cannot."...
Says a poem in the World Wide Web.
Being the paddy store of Vanni, Kilinochchi is not exceptional for it. There is a saying I heard in a street drama that ‘Kilinochchi will always help its guest or immigrant for a better progress’. Whoever the immigrants are, Kilinochchi provides them with a pleasant livelihood without any discrimination. Even the time has proven the truth of this saying.
Due to unavoidable circumstances, people moved to Kilinochchi from all over Sri Lanka. Many of them didn’t want to go back to their native places. Kilinochchi provided them a peaceful livelihood in harmony with nature.
Kilinochchi is an agricultural area nourished with water resources and fertile soil in nature. Iranaimadu, one of the largest irrigation tanks in Sri Lanka is located in Kilinochchi. Iranaimadu tank and some other major tanks like Akkarayan are responsible for the irrigation of agriculture in Kilinochchi. Though it is in the dry zone you will never feel the effects of drought there.
There were only few people who have been living for generations in Kilinochchi. Many people have settled down there after 1958. The population density of Kilinochchi increased in 1995 and later due to various external factors. The livelihood of people there is agriculture mainly paddy cultivation. Irrigation development plans have utilized the natural resources to their maximum and made a revolution in the agriculture sector of Kilinochchi.The resources and peaceful life that Mother Nature provides didn’t allow the immigrants to leave Kilinochchi and go back to their native places. As said in the poem, who could leave the green paddy fields, irrigation channels, small and large scale irrigation tanks, a lush land with trees that provide shade.
A bitter war that lasted for three decades has come to an end today. The re-settlement activities in Kilinochchi district are almost at the final stage now. People came up from a vast destruction is starting a new life now. The lands were waiting for their owners to be cultivated. Now the first harvest is taken and the fields are ready for the sowing of maha season too.
During harvesting season, the scenic view of yellowish paddy fields and the busy farmers reminded phoenix the mythological bird. It has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg rises, reborn anew to live again.
Mr.Mohanabavan, The director-planning of Kilinochchi shared some details of paddy cultivation in Kilinochchi. For the last season, paddy was cultivated in about 6000 acres of land in Kilinochchi district. Due to various reasons, only few areas were chosen. And therefore each resettled farmer family is provided with 2 acres of paddy field. Iranaimadu tank itself irrigated about 4000 acres of land. Remaining parts were irrigated by Akkarayan tank and Kariyaalai-Naagapaduvaan tank.
The farmers have lost all their assets except the hope towards better future. Department of agrarian services Kilinochchi helped the farmers to plough the 2 acres of land given with the help of departmental tractors. Due to lack of tractors available, farmers were allowed to hire privately and the cost is paid by the department. That is, the cost of SL Rs2000/= was paid for an acre. In addition seed paddy and fertilizers at concession rate were provided.
Farmers are provided with land masters through the aid from japan and India. Except for a few areas, the first harvest met the expectation.
Farmers have undergone few practical difficulties during the cultivation in the last season. Insufficient human resources were the major difficulty they faced. It was very difficult to find labourers during the harvesting season. But the agro technological advancement has helped them to manage the problem. Machine attached to a heavy vehicle was widely used for harvesting. It was hired privately and the hire was cheaper than hiring labour for the same amount of work. The machine was very effective and efficient too. One fourth of the acre is harvested within 10-15 minutes. But when the moisture content of the land rises above certain level, the tires of most machines get buried in the mud. In those instances, human labour is used at any cost.
The average hire of the machine for an acre is about SL Rs. 5000/=. But, if department of agrarian services is provided with few such machines, then farmers could hire them at a lower rate.
The harvested paddy is purchased by ‘Vadakkin Vasantham (Uthuru Vasanthaya)’ project and MPCS Kilinochchi. Even the MPCS is finding difficult to store the purchased paddy. Their stores and mills were damaged during the war. Private houses and buildings are rented to store purchased paddy. Therefore MPCS don’t have the capacity to purchase the entire paddy that was harvested. But for the benefit of farmers, and to retain the government allocations they try their maximum to purchase the harvested paddy.
For this maha season, 40,000 acres of paddy field is expected to be cultivated. Like last season, farmers are expected to receive incentives too. We hope that those incentives will help the farmers to save some money after harvesting. That will be their investment for the betterment of the new life they have started already.
Without considering the town with busy A9, there is an unknown silence observed in Kilinochchi. Mind will automatically be surrendered to Mother Nature when the mild breeze travelling through the land of green is felt with that unknown silence. That is the everlasting beauty of Kilinochchi. This feeling has given a new dimension to Kilinochchi.
When it comes to sustainable development, Kilinochchi has a long way to travel. But when the development plans are implemented in a proper manner, the beauty of Kilinochchi will further increase. There is no doubt that Kilinochchi will be nourished more by Mother Nature.