A gang of extortionists with political support has become a serious threat to farmers in Siyambalanduwa and Kandeketiya, according to Uva Community Radio.
In a programme broadcast to mark May Day, it highlighted the issues of families living in these two most difficult areas of Moneragala district.
Farmers as well as sellers have become helpless due to threats by the extortionists who are having the support of the Pradeshiya Sabha hierarchy.
The gang demands up to Rs. 5,000 per lorry transporting agricultural produce across the town.
They are reportedly the persons who have obtained a tender to charge lease rents at fairs, who now have a reduced income due to farmers selling their produce directly to the sellers.
They are armed with PS-approved permission to charge lease rents for agricultural produce sold anywhere in the PS area.
A PS official confirmed it, saying the decision has been taken due to a reduction in income, with farmers selling the produce at their farmlands.
When contacted, the province’s local government commissioner Hemantha Dissanayake promised to look into the matter.