More than 1,000 Eezahm Tamil families are affected as their rice fields are not receiving irrigation water supply in Vellaa-ve'li, located 24 km southeast of Batticaloa city. The SL authorities in predominantly Sinhala Inginiyagala irrigation scheme in the nearby Ampaa'rai district are refusing to channel water to the smaller reservoirs in Vellaa-ve'li. It has been the practice in the past, especially when the local reservoirs go empty for irrigation water during the dry season, to channel water from the largest Inginiyagala reservoir to the smaller reservoirs in Vellaa-ve'li.
Tamil farmers engaged in rice cultivation in 3,500 acres of paddy fields in the dry season (Chi'ru-poakam/ Yala) complained about the discrimination in irrigation to their Agrarian Department office last week.
The Tamil farmers also blamed the politicians for failing to voice for their rights.
Vellaa-ve'li is situated in Poaratheevup-pattu division of Batticaloa district.
Inginiyagala irrigation scheme is part of the Gal Oya settlement, which was launched by the Sinhala leaders, working closely with the British, in the 1940s with the aim of Sinhalicising the Eastern Province.
More than 50% of settlers under the Gal Oya scheme were Sinhalese brought from South.
Now, Tamils are also denied irrigation waters, the farmers complained.