May 16, 2018

Farmers angered by Thewarapperuma releasing buffalos

 A group of farmers from Ambewela had staged a protest opposite the Ambewela Railway Station against Deputy Wildlife Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma who had released a herd of buffalos that were damaging their crops.

The Deputy Minister during a tour of the Horton Plains had seen a herd of seven buffalos tied along the road and had released the buffalos into the forest reserve and later summoned the Nuwara Eliya district secretary and officers of the Agriculture Research centre and reprimanded them.

The protesting farmers said that these were buffalos that were used for farming that were released into the wild several years ago. These animals had reproduced in the wild and now form large herds and enter the village and destroy the farmer crops and sometimes also attack people on the streets.

Accordingly, based on a recommendations of the Nuwara Eliya Agriculture Committee these buffalos that enter the village are captured and sent to a farm in Ambalangoda  to be domesticated and used in farming activities. However, the minister had arrived and created a huge media performance and released the buffalos that were to be used for farming, the protestors charged.

The protestors demanded that the buffalos be captured again and released in a different area sparing their cultivations.

 The Ambewela farmers stated that the statements made before the media by the deputy minister are baseless and the Pattipola Police had not arrested anyone who had come there legitimately to take the buffalos to a farm.