Chaos follows mobile service

[TamilNet, Friday, 10 September 1999, 16:44 GMT]
The Northeastern Provincial Governor's mobile service in Batticaloa turned into a fiasco before it could start this morning in the eastern town government officials in the eastern town said.

The Governor's mobile service is meant to make directly available to the general public the services of the various departments of the provincial council.

The governor and the heads of the departments of the council meet people during the mobile service and solve their problems generally on the spot or initiate the necessary processes.

Bringing the provincial council directly to the people is the central concept of the mobile service.

However, members of the public and even heads of departments of the northeastern provincial council and the local press were completely barred from entering the general area in which the mobile service was inaugurated this morning at 9 a.m. at St. Ceceilia's Convent, in the Batticaloa town's high security zone.

All the important roads leading to the area were closed by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) from early morning.

Civilians and government officers who came for the Governor's mobile service were allowed to enter this part of the town later in the morning, but the governor, Maj.Gen.(ret)Asoka Jayawawardana, was not allowed to see anyone in his temporary office at Cecelia's Convent.

Meanwhile, around 10.30 a.m. the Sri Lankan Army's military intelligence unit told the governor's security that it had information that a suicide bomber of the Liberation Tigers was suspected to be in the area.

The governor and his entourage hastily abandoned the mobile service upon receipt of this information, said officials.

A senior government official in Batticaloa said that the governor would meet only a few selected representatives of local trade unions tomorrow.

He said seven thousand applications were received by the Governor's mobile service in Batticaloa, though two thousand of these were applications for jobs and were rejected.

Three thousand applications were from people seeking poverty relief, compensation for relatives killed in cross fire and houses destroyed in the island's conflict.

More than ten thousand houses were partially or fully destroyed due to the conflict in the Batticaloa district, according to government officials.

The government does not pay compensation for civilians killed by the Sri Lankan army or the Police or the Special Task Force or any other security arm of the government.

Furthermore, there is suspicion that compensation is being awarded selectively for political reasons.

"Many Tamil people who applied eight years ago are still awaiting a favourable reply from the government whereas members of the Muslim community who applied as recently as March this year have been sent their compensations," a government official said.

 

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