Feature Article

Moragoda’s “think tank” justifies Sinhala apprehension to MCC, proposes renegotiations

[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 March 2020, 23:47 GMT]
The so-called Colombo-Trincomalee Economic Corridor (CTEC) was only a new name given to decades-old agenda of demographic genocide wedging territorial contiguity of the Tamil homeland. Previous Rajapaksa government named it “North Central Metro Region (NCMR)” as envisaged by its “National Physical Planning Department” in April 2010. The selection of districts for the implementation of one of the proposed Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) project on land administration has “ironically led to the perception that MCC was to build an economic corridor between Colombo and Trincomalee and facilitate a land grab by foreigners,” claims a recent writeup originating from Milinda Moragoda’s Pathfinder Foundation. The outfit claims its reading of the MCC proposal justified some of the public concerns [of the Sinhalese].

Colombo Trincomalee Economic Corridor [CTEC]
The Sinhala establishment has been long planning to link its Colombo and Gampha regions with Trincomalee through an Economic Corridor linking Kurunegala, Matale, Anuradhapura, Dambulla, and Harbarana. A blue-print to this effect was ‘developed’ by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2017 and the project was named ‘Colombo Trincomalee Economic Corridor’ - CTEC. The UNP regime has also added Mannaar as a component following India's intervention. As a result, the unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka is extending its Sinhalicisation agenda also to Mannaar. [Image Courtesy: Presentation by ADB's Director General for South Asia Region Hun Kim in 2017]
“[T]here must be certain changes to ensure that the country’s sovereignty is not undermined and its national interests are not compromised,” writes Luxman Siriwardena, the executive director of the Pathfinder Foundation. He has published a submission made by the outfit to the ‘Review Committee’ appointed by the Rajapaksa cabinet to review the draft MCC agreement.

“We suggest that current Government, based on its priorities if necessary, select new districts that will have the highest impact to create economic growth and development,” the submission said.

As far as the Eezham Tamils are concerned, the CTEC plan of Wickramasinghe-Ranawaka design and the NCMR plan of the previous Rajapaksa regime were equally destructive for their existence as a nation with territorial contiguity in the North-East of the island, commented Tamil activists in Jaffna.

“Rail and road development, power generation, proposed international airport, export processing industries, Trincomalee port development,” were part of the NCMR plan, which was linking Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Dambulla with Trincomalee.

The NCMR, which was including Trincomalee, was proposed as a broader metro region than Colombo’s Western Metro Region when Mahinda Rajapaksa was SL President.

Apart from linking Trincomalee with the Sinhala districts of South, the 2010 blueprint of the Rajapaksa regime was aiming to connect Trincomalee with Mannaar proposing to upgrade the connectivity.

Later, during the Wickramasinghe-Sirisena regime, Surbana Jurong, a Singaporean company, developed the Ranawaka-Sirisena plan for CTEC according to the wishes of the extreme Sinhala Buddhist JHU Minister “Patali” Champika Ranawaka.

Champika Ranawaka's East-West Development Corridor
SL National Physical Plan 2050, prepared by Patali Champika Ranawaka's ministry of the previous regime in June 2019 states that “a reasonably higher share of the future population (approximately 35-40%) of Sri Lanka shall be settled in lands that fall within the proposed East-West Development Corridor.”


New Delhi, realising the missing link of Mannaar, intervened to remind the Mannaar connection and Wickmrasinghe incorporated it into the plan.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) was promoting the case for the CTEC.

TNA’s Sampanthan was deceived into accepting the corridor project from the seat of Opposition Leader in the SL Parliament 2018.

CTEC master plan
[L-R] ‘Patali’ Champika Ranawaka, Ranil Wickramasinghe, R. Sampanthan and Rohita Bogollagama, July 2018


However, Sinhala opposition was mounting against the MCC, which seems to have been conceived to fit the CTEC.

The Sinhala groups in the South have become increasingly sensitive to the proposed MCC as well as the military-to-military agreements with the US under the previous government, especially after the Easter Attack in 2019.

The proposed MCC has two components to it, a US$ 350 million transport project and a US$ 67 million land administration project.

SL NPPD plan for Asia connectivity as envisaged in 2010
A proposal for connections to Asian Highway and Railway in the “National Physical Planning Policy and Plan Sri Lanka 2010-2030” published during the Rajapaka regime by the SL National Physical Planning Department in April 2010
The so-called Sinhala leftists and nationalists who are aligned with the Rajapaksa regime, oppose the land component, arguing that it paves the way for allocating lands to foreign companies along the proposed CTEC.

In the meantime, the Sinhala nationalist JVP, which also opposes the MCC, maintains that Gotabaya Rajapaksa would deceive the critics of the MCC after the elections.

The Sinhala nationalist JVP and the JHU were both opposed to PTOMS, the post-tsunami joint mechanism, which was negotiated between the LTTE and the Colombo government during Norway facilitated peace process in 2005. The JVP went to the SL Supreme Court, which suspended the PTOMS.

Later the JHU was brought closure to the US Establishment by the sophisticated Sinhala nationalist Champika Ranawaka.

It seems like Milinda Moragoda’s think-tank is now working hard to fill the “vacuum” created by the defeat of Mangala Samaraweera and Champika Ranawaka.

In the meantime, the political parties, alliances and those claim or aspire to be the leaders of Eezham Tamils are succumbing to the rat race of occupying Colombo’s electoral politics.

Instead, they should learn to critically respond to the genocidal implications of the ‘development’ and ‘military-to-military’ outlook of the external powers, commented Tamil political observers in Jaffna.

Genocide, Development and Geopolitics
Geopolitics, so-called development as well as Sinhala ‘heritage’ occupation projects and genocide against Eezham Tamils are interconnected. The various regimes of the SL state are continuously engaged in the balancing act of geopolitics with the global and regional powers to sustain the structural genocide that has accelerated post 2009 [Illustration by TamilNet based on the interpretations of various proposals by the SL NPPD in 2010 and 2019]






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External Links:
MCC: Sri Lanka Compact
Daily FT: Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant dilemma: The Pathfinder compromise
Daily FT: Third Intl. airport for SL in Trinco Master Plan
Daily FT: Champika refutes MCC allegations
MyNewsDesk: Surbana Jurong signs MOU with Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment to set up a technical consultancy services company
The Island: Korea Eximbank , ADB to draw blueprint for Colombo-Trinco economic corridor
Ada Derana: SL’s third International Airport, Trinco Metro Plan to be completed by 32 years
Surbana Jurong: Trincomalee District Master Plan


Chronology:

 

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