Forgotten families of Kalpitiya have nowhere to go

By Padma K Kankanamge

About 150 families living in Anamagala and Kurukkanpitiya in Kalpitiya in the Puttalam district face severe hardships because the areas where they are resident are under water during most months of the year.

The lands that are close to the Puttalam lagoon get inundated even for the slightest downpour, villagers complain. In addition to this problem they do not have electricity and access to clean drinking water.
Many children are deprived of education because of their inability to attend school regularly when the area gets submrged.

Fifty eight year old Mary Jacintha said about 20 years ago there were only about three families in this area but now there are about 80 families. Most of them have no legal ownership of the land.
Initially the area did not get flooded but after the saltern came up even a minor shower was enough to inundate the land she said.

A father of five lamented that many of them had no option but to live in their little dwellings filled with water as they had nowhere else to go.

He said the land started flooding because of unchecked sand mining of the lagoon. He said no state official visited the area to give ear to their woes and help them. Most of the villagers are fishermen.

Meanwhile the Pradeshiya Sabah chairman when asked to comment on the plight of these villagers said they were illegally occupying state land. He acknowledged there was a huge flooding problem but said there were no plans to relocate these families.

He said these families mainly from the north and the north east regions had been relocated in this area in the 1990s. He said although there were government housing schemes for such people these families had yet not been relocated.

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