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Sunday, 12 February 2012

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CSD in agricultural resurgence



Maize harvest and cultivation in the background

Director General Rear Admiral Ananda
Peiris plucking maize

Maize processing machine

CSD personnel bring sacks full of maize

CSD personnel peel maize making it ready for sale

It was during the war against terrorism that the people who were peasants were called upon to protect the motherland. They belonged to the Civil Security Department (CSD). They are now contributing their share to develop the country. They are toiling hard to cultivate thousands of acres of land in Anuradhapura, Ampara and Batticaloa districts. Most of them were farmers before they joined the CSD.

Today they are a happy lot because they have returned to their former livelihoods.

During a recently conducted tour to these areas, journalists saw the heroic personnel of the CSD actively contributing to the agricultural resurgence. Their involvement has led to social and agricultural revival in these areas.

Around 2,354 CSD personnel attached to the Maha-Oya Force Headquarters, in Ampara are engaged in various cultivations such as maize, paddy, millet, green gram, kurakkan and undu, vegetables and fruits.

Nearly 1,000 acres of land which were grabbed by force by the LTTE mainly in Ampara, Mahaoya, Bogamuyaya, Unuwathurabubula and Mangalagama areas had successfully been cultivated by CSD personnel under the instructions and close supervision of Commanding Officer, Maha Oya Force Headquarters in Ampara, Major Kamal Jayaweera.The CSD personnel reaped the maize harvest in Bogamuyaya where nearly 800 acres and 240 acres were cultivated for the Maha season. It is expected that a bumper maize harvest amounting to 1,038,700 kilos of maize and 400,000 kilos of paddy will be obtained for the Yala season.

Most of the places were border villages during the conflict and have now been converted to fertile farm lands with the CSD initiative of cultivating abandoned lands.

Those who had firearms in their hands with the view of protecting their villages those days are now seen with mammoties and machetes toiling to cultivate lands. They are working hard in unity to get their objectives without wasting a single minute.

At the beginning they had faced many difficultites to commence cultivation and spent their own wealth to buy tractors, fertiliser and seed.

Now, they have three tractors after reaping a bumper harvest of maize and paddy. They receive best prices for their harvest from byers who reach the site once the harvest is reaped.

CSD Director General Rear Admiral Ananda Peiris participating in the reaping of the maize harvest recently in Bogamuyaya area, said that CSD members are successfully engaged in reviving once abandoned lands in Ampara district.

"The CSD is transforming itself as a battalion shouldering the task of developing Sri Lanka and cultivation ventures in the country," he said.

"Earlier CSD personnel made maximum contribution to eliminate terrorism and now they are engaged in winning the development war", he said. This would be a good example for Sri Lankans who want to rebuild the nation." he said.

Paying tribute to CSD personnel, President Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged a pension for members of the Civil Security Force who contributed to the humanitarian operation that liberated the country from terrorism.

The CSD was first known as the Home Guard Service providing security to villages, A.W. Karunaratne, who joined the CSD in 1986 said.

"We were also deployed in town and cities to assist the police to maintain law and order, rendered yeoman service to liberate the country from terrorism, we even did not have our necessities when we fought with terrorists during the war.

Only after re-structuring we as the Department under the purview of the Defence Ministry, have been provided all facilities. Not only uniforms, boots, but also due social recognition has been granted after the CSD was established.

A.P. Jayaweera joined the CSD in 1994 with the view to protecting his village from terrorists. He said he is happy today that he has returned to his former livelihood of farming.

The Bogamuyaya village was attacked by LTTE terrorists thrice and hacked and shot to death 53 innocent villagers. After that Authorities realised the importance of formulating special unit to protect border villages from terrorists. That is why the government took measures to set up Home Guard Service. Many volunteers deployed in their home towns and villages, to protect the civilian population from attacks by the LTTE. It was later re-designated to the Department of Civil Security and came under the purview of the Ministry of Defence.

Sophisticated arms and training were given to them instead of shot guns that they had been familiar with. Cadre strength had been increased to 41,500 and Army trained them properly.

Maha-Oya Force Headquarters Commanding Officer, Major Kamal Jayaweera said that all CSD members have been granted with one acre of abandoned land to cultivate crops they like. Basically, they earn around Rs.45,000 from one acre of maize.

"Today they are living standards have gone up. They are engaged in cultivation very happily," he said.

The CSD men engaged in reviving the abandoned 120 acre Mangalagama farm in the Batticaloa district. Subsidiary food crops and vegetable varieties are cultivated. Around 900 CSD personnel are engaged in cultivating paddy, maize, vegetables and fruits in the farm.

The conflict is over, and these people who were the real heroes who saved the country along with other security forces personnel now happy and contended because their sacrifices have served their aims.

The peasant soldiers have now found a meaningful means to return to their former lands. Those who once toiled and shed their sweat to fight valiantly now engage in a similar task. This time their war is against poverty, the weapons are the mammoty and not the machete, the enemy is the earth and the target is a bountiful harvest!

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