COLOMBO: The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, C V Wigneswaran, said in Jaffna on Monday, that there are “almost a lakh war widows” in his province.
He was addressing a meeting of the Special Coordinating Committee for the Northern Province, which was presided over by the Central Public Administration and Good Governance Minister, Karu Jayasuriya.
Delineating the problems confronting his war-devastated province, Wigneswaran said that there are 20,000 “immobile patients” whose vertebral columns were injured during the war. Besides that, the Northern Province has a number of children orphaned during the war. Many are suffering from psychosomatic disorders. These need to be given psychiatric help, the Chief Minister said.
He charged that during the regime of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, there was “bad governance, closed administration and corruption at all levels,” in the Northern Province.
The then military Governor (Maj Gen G A Chandrasiri), was running his own administration. Some ministers of the Central government were also running parallel administrations. The elected people’s representatives of the province had no control over their own officers. Lack of supervision by the people’s representatives resulted in corruption going unchecked. With so many competing power centres in operation, officers of the provincial administration were in a quandary because they had often to choose between “the devil and deep sea”.
Given this background, Wigneswaran appealed to Jayasuriya to hand over power and authority to the provincial administration as per the 13th Amendment of the constitution.
He also stressed the need to fill vacant posts in the various administrative cadres so that the provincial administration will have the necessary trained manpower to implement its plans. The provincial council has to make several statutes, but it does not have trained officers to draft the statutes, he pointed out.
However, Wigneswaran thanked President Maithripala Sirisena for appointing a civilian to the post of Governor and praised the present Governor, HMGS Palihakkara, for changing the nature of the post.