UNP MP says Government cashes in on victims' misery

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 12 January 2005, 20:18 GMT]
"Sri Lankan Government is trying to implement its own plan under the guise of tsunami victims relief," said Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, a senior parliamentarian of the United National Party (UNP). "Government has lost its credibility in the eyes of the world. UN decision to directly audit foreign aid to Sri Lanka shows that it has no confidence in the financial management of the government," he said speaking at a press conference held in the office of the opposition leader in Colombo on Wednesday.

"Government's plan submitted to the donor community was drawn by a circle of people close to the President. Rather than rebuilding the living environment of the affected people, the government is trying to implement its own agenda with this plan," he said.

"The plan has allocated Rs. 18 billion (USD 180 million) for the reconstruction of houses, but more than two hundred thousand houses have been destroyed. How can a house be built with the mere sum of Rs. 90,000?" Mr. Rajitha Seneratne asked.

In total, only Rs. 26 billion (USD 260 million) has been requested for the people. Rs. 124 billion (USD 1240 million) has been requested for more general purpose plans, which were worked out before the tsunami disaster. There is no provision in the plan to compensate the affected people. If government doesn't concentrate on reconstructing the affected areas on a humanitarian basis, it will have to face the consequences."

"The plan allocates Rs. 15 billion for the reconstruction of roads, Rs 15 billion for the reconstruction of rail tracks, Rs 3 billion for the reconstruction telecommunication infrastructure, Rs 5 billion for the reconstruction of port and Rs 40 billion for urban development - the report goes on. This clearly shows that government is trying to cash in on the misery of the victims," he added.

 

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