Panchenai is a border village located in the Manmunai West Divisional Secretariat of Batticaloa District. Residents consisting of about 200 families live on high ground (meddu nilam) surrounded by extended length of paddy fields and forests. The groundwater in the village is far deep. As a result, getting drinking water from deep traditional and tube wells has been a challenge, especially during summer months. Access roads to this village from Batticaloa town or other towns have never been built properly.
It is believed that, in the past, Podiyars “the landlords” owned the paddy fields and the villagers worked in the paddy fields and cattle farms. Tanks were built to irrigate the paddy fields. The villagers didn’t own any land with irrigation facility. These village workers were settled on high grounds where the water is not accessible for irrigation since the tanks are located at relatively lower elevations compared to the settlement area. Unfortunately, the tradition still continues. The landlords and their descendants live in other towns and still own the paddy fields. The villagers and their generation still work in their paddy fields while living in the village located in highlands.
During the Civil War, no government support was able to reach these people because these areas were out of government control. After the war, although the government is supporting many development activities, getting help for these people is not easy as the village is located remotely and the access roads are still in very poor condition.
Anpuneri did a study about this village and the people. Struggle for drinking water, very limited education and medical facilities, very high unemployment rates are major challenges faced by people of this village. Anpuneri with the support of its donor base strongly believes that a change in these people’s lives is possible in the coming years.