During the colonial period the village headman had wide-ranging powers: his tasks included investigating crimes, coordinating agricultural activities, collecting taxes, and issuing permits for access to land. The post was replaced in the 1960s by the government-appointed Grama Niladhari (previously Grama Sevaka).
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- Patrick Peebles (22 October 2015). Historical Dictionary of Sri Lanka. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-4422-5585-2.
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