Call for NORAD projects in all Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 02 February 1999, 23:48 GMT]
The Batticaloa District Coordinating Committee (DCC), which comprises all the top government officials, including the Government Agent (GA) who functions as its secretary, and members of Parliament of this eastern region unanimously passed a resolution today that the Norwegian government aid program for development and rehabilitation should be implemented without discrimination in all parts of Batticaloa.

The resolution asserted that areas of the district should not be classified as those controlled by the army and those that are not.

More than a hundred government and public enterprise officials, including the district's 12 Divisional Secretaries and Divisional directors of planning, heads of all government departments, corporations and boards, zonal directors of education etc., and the chairmen of Pradheshiya Sabhas (local government bodies)took part in the meeting.

A representative of the Sri Lankan Army (SLA), Col.K.Gunasekera and the TULF MPs for Batticaloa, P.Selvarajah and K.Thurairajasingham, were also present.

The meeting was chaired by TULF MP for Batticaloa Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham.

The DCC's co-chairman, Deputy minister for Telecommunications and Media, Mr.M.L.A.M Hisbullah did not attend.

He told journalists earlier that he will not take part in the DCC meetings as long as the Norwegian aid program is not implemented in the "uncleared areas" (those parts of the district controlled by the Tigers) of the Batticaloa district.

It was also decided at the meeting today that no one should stop the implementation of the NORAD's DERBA (Development and Rehabilitation of Batticaloa) program in the 'uncleared' parts of the district as it had been unanimously adopted by the DCC when it met last month.

This refers to the decision by the Sri Lankan government last month, on the advice of the SLA brass, to cancel the DERBA program in those parts of the Batticaloa ditrict which are not under the control of the army.

It was also stated in the resolution that those parts of the district most affected by the war cannot be developed because of the discrimination between 'cleared' and 'uncleared' areas.

Mr.P. Selvarajah suggested that the proposals relating to the DERBA program should be put to vote if any one hand any objections.

The suggestion, according to TULF sources in Batticaloa, was made on the assumption that the SLA representative Col.K. Gunasekara might object to the proposal that the Norwegian program should be implemented in those areas of the district which are not under the control of the army.

He, however, raised no objection; the resolution was therefore passed unanimously.

TULF sources said that the SLA deliberately desists from sending an officer who can take decisions on the spot to the DCC to avoid making any commitments on sensitive issues such as canceling the ban on implementing the DERBA in 'uncleared' areas, in difference to, and compliance with, the undivided wish and considered opinion of local officials and politicians.

Col.K.Gunasekara, according to them, would invariably tell the DCC that he would convey matters to his superiors and get back to them.

"This is unacceptable and preposterous. It makes a mockery of the whole DCC idea" an apparently irritated senior official at Batticaloa Kachcheri told TamilNet.

The co-chairman of the Batticaloa DCC Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham told Col. Gunasekara that students, farmers, government officials, traders and others are facing many problems because the SLA opens the entry point at the Black Bridge near the Chenkalady junction, 18 kilometers north of Batticaloa, at 8 a.m.

The MP asked the SLA representative to the DCC to take appropriate action to redress this problem - pupils getting late to school, officials missing the bus to town etc.,

The SLA officer said that he would speak to his superiors about the matter and inform the DCC.

The general chagrin and anger witnessed at the DCC meeting today was due to the high expectations among local politicians and government officials in Batticaloa that the Norwegian aid would at least help this war ravaged and neglected district to limp back on its feet.


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