Co-operative societies write to president on teh food crisis in Vanni

Place: Vanni | Courtesy: News from Tamil Eelam
| Date: 19980625

In an urgent letter addressed to the Sri Lankan president, the Kilinochchi confederation of co-operative societies have accused the pro-government Tamil groups - PLOTE, TELO and EPRLF - of playing a major part in creating food crises in Vanni where hundreds of thousands of Tamil people are starving. However the primary cause of the crisis is due to the government imposing an economic blockade on the Tamil region, the letter added.

It said that 'shortage of food and rise in prices' have reached a peak in Vanni. People are suffering from malnutrition and are falling prey to chronic illness. The three pro-government Tamil groups working hand in glove with the Sri Lankan armed forces in Vavuniya are extorting large sums of money from co-operative society lorry drivers who carry food to Tamils in Vanni, the letter stated. D. Sidtharthan MP the head of PLOTE, is the leader of the pack. PLOTE lays the law regarding extortion money and the rest of the group fall in line. He stands exposed as one living on the blood of the suffering Tamil people. For the last few years the going rate fixed by PLOTE was as follows: Each Multipurpose co-operative society (MPCS) lorry leaving Vavuniya with food and essential goods to Vanni, should pay Rs. 5,000 to PLOTE, Rs. 5,000 to TELO and Rs. 1,000 to EPRLF. Recently, the PLOTE has raised the stakes. The extortion rate per food lorry is now between Rs 30,000 to Rs. 50,000. The groups are not prepared to negotiate. The MPCS cannot afford to pay the large sums of money and if it did, the cost food would be too high. The Tamil people would starve unable to purchase food at exorbitant prices the letter said. The Sri Lankan president, Chandrika Kumarathunga, is expected to ignore the letter and turn a blind eye to the crime committed by Tamil groups which have developed a good understanding with the president.