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 Post subject: Udatthawa - locked in the past and neglected
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 5:15 am 
Udatthawa - locked in the past and neglected

DM / Saturday, July 02, 2005

Udatthawa Grama Seva officer’s Division comprising a cluster of solitary villages, off Minipe, lags far behind the developing world.

The history of Udatthawa runs as far as the reign of king Agbo who is said to have constructed Udatthawa reservoir and settled the villagers. The village has only 280 families with a thin population of about 1400 who have been left without the minimum facilities.

The villagers are facing severe hardships without an access road to the area. It is with great difficulty that they carry a patient to the nearby Batumulla hospital. The school children attending Udawela Maha Vidyalaya about 5 kilometers away use jungle tracks to reach the main road and proceed by bus to the town. They face the threat of elephants and other wild beasts on their way through the jungle. If they miss the only bus to the town, they are compelled to return home without attending school. A resident of the village, S.M.Gunaratne said this is a severe obstacle to the education of the children who pass year five at the village school.

The villagers constructed small anicuts to collect water from the hills, and turned the area under the ancient reservoir into a smiling paddy field after its bund broke down. But the wild beasts that roam into the village often destroy paddy fields and other crops.

The wild beasts from the thick forests in the Knuckles range are a serious threat to the economy of the village.

A farmer, S.M.Ukkubanda (57) said “Several villagers were killed by wild elephants. The farmers spend many a sleepless night to protect their crops from wild beasts. They are also disappointed without a remunerative market for their produce. “We can make a marginal profit, if we carry our produce to the town but it is not possible due to the poor transport facilities. This has resulted in the monopoly of the middleman” he said.

Grama Seva Officer, S.M.Seneviratne said the living standards of the villagers who are in utter misery could be uplifted if transport facilities to the village are improved.

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