COLOMBO: The Chief Minister of the Tamil-majority Northern Province of Sri Lanka, C.V.Wigneswaran, has told provincial officials not to hand over land and houses to the Lankan military without considering the people’s interest.
Speaking to officials of the local government department in Vavuniya on Thursday, the Chief Minister said that provincial officials have got used to handing over lands and buildings to the armed forces if the latter ask for them and some officials have even benefitted from such acts. But officials should be aware that times have changed and that the provincial government is the government of the people. The peoples’ interests must, therefore, be taken into account. The “people” includes the families and relations of the officials, he pointed out.
The days of playing second fiddle to the Central government or its selfish ministers pretending to be good to the Tamils, have gone, the Chief Minister said. Even the Governor is going to be brought under the control of the Provincial Council. Officials will have to be aware of these changes and act accordingly, he said.
The Chief Minister pointed out that there is a massive deployment of the Lankan military in the Northern Province and that the troops are occupying vast tracts of the people’s lands, cultivating crops and doing businesses. The safety of women is in question, he alleged.
Reacting to the army spokesman Brig.Jayanath Jayaweera’s contention that if the army is withdrawn law and order will be in jeopardy, the Chief Minister said that law and order in the North will be best served if the armed forces are completely withdrawn and replaced by the police.
Appealing to the provincial officials to work with diligence, Wigneswaran said that the elected provincial administration has two more years to show what it can do for the betterment of the province. His administration will therefore be working at great speed, he said.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA)-dominated Northern Provincial Council (NPC) was elected in 2013.