Saturday, June 23, 2012

Don’t pass the buck this time round – “Drought”

In a crass and inhuman way the Government appears to be making plans NOT to take responsibility for the crisis resulting from the Drought. It was very apparent by 1st of May 2012 that we will be in for a dry period till the October rains. No amount of poojas for rains was going to bring the rains. The long term weather forecasts were (pardon the pun) as clear as daylight.

Firstly they must look at the international weather forecasts rather than the local ones, as they are more accurate. They are prepared from highly technical programs on Computers using satellite and other imagery to make a fairly accurate indication of what is in ‘store’ for us.

The local forecasters merely said, the monsoon will be late. When it comes be prepared for severe landslides in certain regions, assuming there would be deluges, none of which was forthcoming. Why may you ask is the Government responsible for this? After all the weather has nothing to do with the Govt. Well I say, the Govt. MUST know who they are to believe, local or international forecasts? It is obvious who one MUST choose; namely the most reliable ones over a short term period of say 10 to 15 years, Our forecasters have been proved wrong when compared with the international even Indian ones.

Despite our irrigation tanks being full on that date due to prior rains at harvesting time of the Maha crop, if the Hydro Reservoirs were relatively low there is NO water available to send through the canals to the Rice Bowl of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts. The tanks DO NOT hold sufficient water for even one season unless replenished, due to the severe siltage over centuries that this Govt. has had NO plan to clear. The reason dredging involves less corruption and so no one wants to get involved in something they cannot earn money from.

As a result of the mess above, the farmers were NOT advised to stop cultivation this time or at least only up to 50% as a MAXIMUM. One possible reason is that the big Paddy to Rice Millers, wanted to buy the good harvest at rock bottom prices and clean the farmers out. If the impending drought was a topic at the time of harvest in April or earlier, then the price of rice WOULD DEFINETELY have been much higher and the farmers would have earned more money and the millers less.
Now what will happen? Millers bought the paddy, along with the Govt. which bought a little over 100,000 tons. If the crop fails which 100% sure it will, the paddy price is going to at least double. The Millers are going to make billions of profits. The farmers are going to STARVE, firstly having already sold their produce at a loss to the Millers, and now having spent all their money in planting. They therefore will not be able to reap even a bushel, as their paddy is DYING.

They will not be able to demonstrate as they will have no energy and be starving before very long. They have no money left. No one will lend any money to them as they have no way of paying with a dead crop. This double whammy knock will kill many farmers by them taking their own lives. The lives this Government must take responsibility for.

It is the height of cheek when in AC rooms the bureaucrats gather today, to work out the plan to mitigate the mess they have created. They are trying to work out the disaster relief measures. They are discussing the how much emergency rations to give. (all this as I write this blog entry)

This tragedy as I stated earlier COULD HAVE BEEN AVERTED. It should have been averted but for the politicians not wanting to lose votes, by telling farmers they should only plant 50% as a max, and for even that we may not be able to guarantee water. Instead the Govt. henchayas decide how to carve up their areas for their crops, like tobacco which require less water, and let the farmers get so poor, the local politicos can swoop in and even acquire the land of the poor farmers left to starve!!!

I AM NOT A SCARE MONGER. Go to the areas in question and see for yourself. You will be astonished that there are no media personnel fishing out for a good story to inform their readers, and why is that. The Govt. has nobbled the free press. They are no longer free. They dare not report the truth, lest they will make the powers angry. The people of Sri Lanka have NO ONE to talk to, no one to bring out their stories to the public’s attention. It is the duty of every reader of this blog entry to do their utmost to convince someone they know to publicize the problem and begin to plan a short term solution for the affected people before their problem gets worse.

Please take heed, act, inform, publicize, help or all of the above so that the poorest of the poor in Sri Lanka, namely the working farmer does not die.

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