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NPC LG Commissioner appoints two committees

Two committees have been formed on the instructions of the Commissioner of Local Government (LG) of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) to closely monitor and prevent an unlawful tax from allegedly being levied by local wholesale traders to be borne by farmers.

Speaking to The Morning, NPC LG Commissioner Patrick Diranjan said that following a discussion at the Jaffna District Council Committee meeting, it was decided in early March to form two committees which would closely monitor trade at the two main markets in Jaffna in a bid to prevent an illegal tax from allegedly being levied on the farmers.

“Farmers allege that a 10% tax is taken by the wholesale traders at the market. To prevent this, we have decided that these committees can also receive complaints directly from the farmers,” Diranjan further said.

According to Diranjan, the committees are represented by LG body representatives and representatives from the local farmers’ federation.

Meanwhile, the Northern Governor’s office told The Morning that this issue had also been brought up in meetings with a number of ministers, including Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda.

The issue of wholesale traders in local markets in Jaffna demanding a 10th of the crops from farmers has been raised by farmers in the area for many years now. It is alleged that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) also charged a similar tax from farmers during their reign in the town.