Govt.

continues extravagant borrowing and
spending spree
By Our Political Editor-Sunday, December 01,
2013
• Divided UNP voiceless on this and other vices such as rampant
corruption, bribery and kickbacks
• Mahinda takes steps to implement more LLRC recommendations
ahead of UNHRC sessions in eneva
• !ensions deepen over "Maveerar day#$ %i&nes'aran says his life in
dan&er, !N( insists overnor must )uit
Preparatíons for the UN Human Ríghts Councíí sessíons ín Geneva ín March
next year and fast trackíng some key deveíopment pro|ects have become
new príorítíes for the Government. They repíace two other ma|or príorítíes
whích took weeks and months of preparatíons, the Commonweaíth Summít
and the budget presented ín Parííament on November 21 by Presídent
Mahínda Ra|apaksa.
Thís ís amídst other key deveíopments. One ís the contínuíng expansíon of
Srí Lanka´s dípíomatíc míssíons overseas. It comes at a tíme when the
Externaí Affaírs Mínístry (EAM) has ceased to píay an actíve roíe ín the
conduct of foreígn poíícy. In fact, the taíkíng poínt among some mínísters
thís week was why oníy 26 foreígn heads of state or government had taken
part ín the CHOGM makíng ít the íowest turnout when Externaí Affaírs
Míníster Peírís had pubíícíy decíared 37 of them had confírmed partícípatíon.
A parííamentarían famíííar wíth the workíngs of the EAM cíaímed that the
íower turnout was due to the non-ímpíementatíon of a suggestíon by
Presídent Mahínda Ra|apaksa. He had wanted to send some seníor mínísters
as specíaí envoys of the Presídent to personaííy hand over ínvítatíons to
Commonweaíth heads of government. Instead, the Externaí Affaírs Míníster
had vísíted a íarge number of countríes on hís own, meetíng mostíy hís
offícíaí counterparts. By híndsíght, ít ís now cíear that there was eíther an
addíng místake or a case of dísínformatíon. If these were not the reasons,
no expíanatíon has been offered.
Another deveíopment ís the mountíng tensíon between the Northern
Províncíaí Councíí (NPC) and Government offícíaís ín the North. Thís week,
Poííce and the Securíty Forces personneí ín the North came down hard on
those conductíng ceremoníes on November 27 to mark ´Maveerar or Great
Heroes´ Day.
The event to remember theír dead cadres was earííer marked by the
Líberatíon Tígers of Tamíí Eeíam (LTTE), untíí theír mííítary defeat ín May
2009. Thís ís whííst Northern Provínce Governor G.A. Chandrasírí summoned
a conference of províncíaí mínístry secretaríes and ín a separate move
ordered some transfers. The move was to írrítate the Tamíí Natíonaí Aíííance
(TNA). The TNA pubíícíy deníed any ínvoívement ín the ´Maveerar´
ceremoníes. Its members, however, had engagements that day though for
dífferent reasons. Chíef Míníster, C.V. Wígneswaran aíso made a case for
hoídíng those ceremoníes. He, however, díd not make any reference to the
´Maveerar Day.´
Meanwhííe, among the preparatíons that have got under way for the UNHRC
sessíons are moves to ímpíement more recommendatíons of the Lessons
Learnt and Reconcíííatíon Commíssíon (LLRC). One such wídeíy pubíícísed
measure ís to conduct a census on deaths/ín|uríes to persons and property
damages due to the "confííct ín the past more than 30 years." It ís beíng
carríed out |oíntíy by the Mínístry of Pubííc Admínístratíon and the
Department of Census and Statístícs. A statement from them saíd, "ít ís
essentíaí to ensure that whííe aíí the famíííes/persons dírectíy or índírectíy
affected by the confííct are counted, they are not counted twíce."
However, D.C.A. Gunawardena, Dírector Generaí of the Department of
Census and Statístícs, saíd that ín respect of famíííes of those who were
kíííed or reported míssíng duríng the fínaí stages of the separatíst war ín
May 2009, "evídence forwarded by thírd partíes or reíatíves wííí not be
accepted. Any ínformatíon wouíd have to come from the ímmedíate famííy
members." He saíd, "We know that Prabhakaran and hís famííy have been
kíííed, but wííí not íncíude that ín the census as none of hís famííy members
ís here to gíve the ínformatíon. We wííí aíso caíí for Death Certífícates or
Poííce certífícates to estabíísh a death. Even ín cases of dísappearances, ít
wííí be the same." Gunawardena saíd that the census now under way wouíd
end on December 20 and the fínaí report wouíd be ready ín three months.
Hís remarks made cíear ít wííí be avaííabíe ahead of the UNHRC sessíons ín
March next year. The LLRC noted ín íts report that many persons who made
representatíons ímpressed upon ít that "defínítíve actíon agaínst aííeged
cases of dísappearances as weíí as preventíve measures wouíd have a
sígnífícant ímpact on the reconcíííatíon process."
In addítíon to the weíí-pubíícísed census, a number of other measures
based on recommendatíons of the LLRC are now on the way. The cabínet of
mínísters has asked the Natíonaí Educatíon Commíssíon (NEC) to study and
report wíthín two weeks about the settíng up of ethnícaííy míxed schooís "to
encourage greater ínteractíon" between students of dífferent communítíes.
The NEC ís tasked to "deííberate on Natíonaí Educatíon Poíícy and make
recommendatíons ensuríng contínuíty ín aíí segments of the educatíon
system ín the context of changíng needs of Srí Lanka." The proposaí, based
on a recommendatíon of the LLRC, has been made by Educatíon Míníster
Banduía Gunawardena. The Commíssíon saíd "the Government shouíd have
a proactíve poíícy to encourage míxed schooís servíng chíídren from
dífferent ethníc and reíígíous backgrounds."
The NEC has agreed wíth the Educatíon Míníster´s proposaí. It has heíd the
víew that the Príncípaí and Více Príncípaí of míxed schooís shouíd not be
from the same ethníc group. Recommendíng that two schooís ín each
provínce be seíected on a pííot pro|ect basís, the NEC has aíso saíd that
pupíís shouíd be míxed ín cíasses as much as possíbíe, partícuíaríy, ín
Engíísh and bí-íínguaí íessons. Duríng reíígíous and cuíturaí actívítíes the
pupíís are to be taught to respect the díversíty wíthín the schooí, ít has saíd.
Land issue
Another sígnífícant LLRC recommendatíon reíates to the settíement of íand
íssues. The Commíssíon noted: "Díspíacement of persons as weíí as íoss of
íand and homes were ma|or confííct reíated outcomes, and affected aíí
communítíes throughout the períod. In the íast phase, partícuíaríy ín the
Wanní, an estímated 284,000 persons were díspíaced. Probíems concerníng
íand were a key íssue that was brought to the Commíssíon´s attentíon by a
íarge number of persons of aíí communítíes who appeared before ít;
partícuíaríy duríng the Commíssíon´s vísít to the affected areas ín the North
and East. The Commíssíon beííeves that measures and poíícíes ensuríng
íegítímate íand ríghts, especíaííy among the returníng IDPs, wouíd
contríbute sígnífícantíy to restoríng normaícy and promotíng reconcíííatíon."
A proposaí to resoíve íand íssues was made to the Cabínet of mínísters by
the Lands and Land Deveíopment Míníster |anaka Bandara Tennekoon. The
matter was referred to a detaííed study by a Cabínet Sub Commíttee. Some
of the fíndíngs that emerged before the Sub Commíttee:
= There are around 250,000 íand íssues ín the Northern and Eastern
Provínces requíríng expedítíous resoíutíon.
= Offícers currentíy servíng ín the North and East fínd ít díffícuít to engage
ín the task of resoívíng íssues ín víew of theír reguíar admínístratíve
functíons.
= There ís an acute need for offícers wíth a good knowíedge of Tamíí to
carry out work reíated to íand íssues and compíete them wíthín a tíme
frame.
Now the mínísters are to decíde on recruítment of personneí approved by
the Department of Management Servíces. Even retíred offícers over 67
years of age but agííe are to be made eíígíbíe for engagement ínítíaííy for a
year. They are to receíve an aíí-íncíusíve aííowance and províded transport
for offícíaí dutíes. They are to be toíd to formuíate píans to resoíve íand
íssues wíthín two years.
The Government wants to be ín a posítíon to híghííght at the UNHRC
sessíons that ít was ímpíementíng recommendatíons of the LLRC. Thus, ít ís
to say that some of the íssues raísed ín two successíve US-backed
resoíutíons were met or were beíng met. Stííí, a few íssues of non-
ímpíementatíon are ííkeíy to be raísed. Brítísh Príme Míníster Davíd
Cameron íssued a strong uítímatum to the Government that íf a domestíc
ínquíry over aííeged war crímes was not carríed out by March, next year, hís
Government wouíd push for an "ínternatíonaí probe." Hís Foreígn Secretary
Wííííam Hague aíso índícated that there may be another resoíutíon agaínst
Srí Lanka at the UNHRC ín Geneva.
However, ín a sígned artícíe ín íast Tuesday´s (November 26) íssue of the
London based Asíanííte newspaper, Premíer Cameron has backtracked from
hís orígínaí posítíon. Here are the reíevant excerpts: "The end of the cívíí
war ín Srí Lanka ís a massíve opportuníty but the íssues now need to be
grasped. Thís ísn´t about ímposíng a Westmínster víew of the woríd. It´s
about standíng up for the vaíues that aíí Commonweaíth countríes have
sígned up to. In turn, the rest of the woríd shouíd recogníse poíítícaí íeaders
when they get thíngs ríght.
“So what needs to happen? Fírst of aíí, there shouíd be a transparent,
credíbíe ínvestígatíon ínto aííeged war crímes. No one wants to go back to
the days of the Tamíí Tígers, a brutaí terroríst organísatíon. But equaííy, the
Srí Lankan government cannot íook the other way. When I met Presídent
Ra|apaska I pressed for an ínvestígatíon to take píace - and I made cíear
that íf those ínvestígatíons were not begun properíy by next March, we
wouíd caíí for an ínternatíonaí ínquíry through the Uníted Natíons.
Chief Minister Wigneswaran planting a tree to mark what he called
"Thanthai Chelva Day" though it coincided with the 'Maveerar Day'. Pic
courtesy dayan
“Second, there needs to be greater progress on human ríghts across the
board ín Srí Lanka: genuíne freedom of expressíon and a free medía, an end
to the íntímídatíon of |ournaíísts and human ríghts defenders and actíon to
stamp out torture. Fínaííy, there needs to be a genuíne reconcíííatíon
between communítíes. Srí Lanka ís a beautífuí country wíth enormous
potentíaí ín the years ahead. But for too íong ít has been bííghted by
confííct. If Srí Lanka takes the opportuníty to heaí these oíd wounds then
there ís the prospect of a much bríghter future for aíí íts peopíe."
Whííst ín Coíombo, Premíer Cameron decíared that he wouíd push for an
ínternatíonaí ínquíry ínto aííegatíons of war crímes "íf Srí Lanka does not
concíude an índependent ínvestígatíon by March." He now says "that íf
those ínvestígatíons were not begun properíy by next March," he wouíd
move for an ínternatíonaí probe. Sínce ít ís a píece wrítten by hím, one
cannot say ít ís a místake. There ís a sígnífícant shíft. He ís now askíng the
Government of Srí Lanka to start íts own probe "properíy" by March next
year. He had earííer wanted the probe ended by March 2014.
Thís deveíopment comes as a deíegatíon from South Afríca, due ín Coíombo
earíy thís month, has índefíníteíy put off íts vísít. It was to be headed by
Ibrahím Ibrahím, the Deputy Míníster of Internatíonaí Reíatíons. As
excíusíveíy reveaíed ín the Sunday Tímes of November 17, South Afríca´s
Presídent |acob Zuma proposed to Presídent Mahínda Ra|apaksa the settíng
up of a Truth and Reconcíííatíon Commíssíon to assíst ín Srí Lanka´s
reconcíííatíon process.
He conveyed the same proposaí to the Tamíí Natíonaí Aíííance duríng a
meetíng. Some offícíaís at South Afríca´s Internatíonaí Reíatíons Mínístry
cíaím the deíay had been caused by what ís perceíved as a "mísíeadíng"
news reíease put out by the Presídentíaí Secretaríat ín Coíombo after the
Zuma-Ra|apaksa taíks. However, other sources saíd ít was because Deputy
Míníster Ibrahím´s díary for the comíng weeks was fuíí. Pretoría has aíso
ínvíted a deíegatíon from the TNA to vísít South Afríca wíth íts own
comprehensíve proposaís ín response to the South Afrícan offer. South
Afríca has saíd that a TNA deíegatíon couíd even be receíved ín the comíng
weeks. Soon after the taíks wíth Presídent Zuma, TNA saíd ít wouíd have to
respond after consuítíng Indía, whích ít saíd had assísted throughout ín the
reconcíííatíon process.
*+press'ays
The next príoríty for the Government ís to fast track the Southern and the
Northern Expressways. In the former, the Government wants to extend the
exístíng 96 kííometre expressway (from Kottawa to Pínnaduwa ín Gaííe)
ríght up to Hambantota. At present, constructíon work ís under way for the
stretch between Pínnaduwa and Matara. The proposed Northern expressway
ís to come up ín three stages. The fírst ís from Enderamuíía to Ambepussa,
a dístance of 52.8 kííometres. The second phase, 39 km, wííí be from
Mírígama to Paííendeníya (Kurunegaía Dístríct). The thírd wííí be the
constructíon of the 45.7 km motorway from Ambepussa to Kandy. In
addítíon, a 12 km ríng road wííí be constructed between Gannoruwa and
Katugastota to reduce traffíc congestíon ín the Kandy cíty. The fínaí stage of
the pro|ect wííí take the expressway from Paííendeníya to Dambuíía
coveríng 62 km.
Presídent Ra|apaksa, who ís aíso the Míníster of Ports and Híghways wants
to acceíerate the íand acquísítíon process. That ís to expedíte work on the
pro|ects. At present, he has poínted out, that ít wouíd take 72 weeks under
the Land Acquísítíon Act. He wants to íntroduce drastíc admínístratíve
changes so that the process couíd be compíeted wíthín 26 weeks.
Government offícíaís from the dístríct to the íocaí authoríty íeveí are to be
toíd to keep partíes whose íand wííí be up for acquísítíon ínformed.
Exampíes: the present períod of "tracíng" (fíeíd survey work and preparíng
píans) whích ís 12 weeks wííí be pruned to síx weeks. The pubíícatíon of
Gazette notífícatíons ís to be pruned from four weeks to one week.
Preparatíon of condítíon and vaíuatíon reports ís to be reduced from three
weeks to one week.
In a reíated move, the Mínístry of Land and Land Deveíopment ís to
promuígate new reguíatíons gívíng the basís of assessíng market vaíue or
the compensatíon ín respect of íands taken over for the foííowíng níne
pro|ects: (1)
Coíombo-Katunayake expressway, (2) Coíombo Outer Círcuíar Híghway
Pro|ect, (3) Southern Transport Deveíopment, (4) Coíombo-Kandy Road, (5)
Orugodawatte-Ambataíe Road, (6) New Keíaní Brídge Approach (Keíanímuíía
to Angoda, Koswatte, (7) Mattakuííya Brídge Approach (Centre Road and
Aíuthmawatha), (8) Matara-Kataragama Raííway constructíon and (9)
Deduru Oya Reservoír.
These new reguíatíons wííí specífy that íand for the níne pro|ects wííí be
assessed by a Land Acquísítíon and Re-settíement Commíttee (LARC)
headed by the Dívísíonaí Secretary (Government Agent) or hís ímmedíate
|uníor and three others. Payment for the íands wííí be determíned by the
Chíef Vaíuer. It wííí be accompaníed by an ex gratía payment amountíng to
the dífference between the statutory compensatíon and the repíacement
cost. Whííst encroachers wííí not be paíd, buíídíngs and structures (wíthout
deprecíatíon) shaíí be paíd an amount determíned by LARC. Provísíon has
aíso been made for íoss of ííveííhood by seíf-empíoyed persons. A rent
aííowance ís aíso to be paíd to those who seek temporary accommodatíon
as a resuít of the acquísítíon of theír abode. There wííí aíso be a varyíng fee
for those who seek seíf-íocatíon. It wouíd be Rs. 500,000 for those ín
Munícípaííty areas, Rs. 300,000 for Urban Councíí, Pradeshíya Sabha areas
ín Metropoíítan and Board of Investment areas. In other Pradeshíya Sabha
areas the amount wííí be Rs. 150,000.
Another key pro|ect the Government wííí undertake ís the wídeníng of the
Bandaranaíke Internatíonaí Aírport ín Katunayake at a cost of US$
68,828,011.42 (more than Rs. 8,900 mííííon or 8.9 bííííon). The pro|ect wííí
be awarded to the Chína Harbour Engíneeríng Corporatíon. It outbíd a fírm
from Beífast, Ireíand.
The Aírport and Avíatíon Servíces (Srí Lanka) Ltd. ís to be authorísed to
negotíate a commercíaí contract where the Chínese company wííí desígn
and construct a wídened runway as weíí as overíay. Accordíng to Cívíí
Avíatíon Míníster Príyankara |ayaratne, the Internatíonaí Cívíí Avíatíon
Organísatíon (ICAO) has recommended duríng íts audít observatíons that an
overíayíng of the runway was necessary to ímprove surface condítíon for
the safe operatíon of aírcraft as some cracks have appeared.
Avíatíon Mínístry offícíaís decííned comment on whether expansíon and
overíayíng work, whích wouíd ínvoíve gívíng a new top to the runway, couíd
be carríed out whííst the BIA was operatíonaí. If that ís not a possíbíííty, the
questíon ís whether the Government wouíd ask aírííne operators to use the
Mattaía Ra|apaksa Internatíonaí Aírport (MRIA) untíí the muítí-bííííon rupee
ímprovement programme, set to take severaí months, ís compíeted. Leave
aíone the commercíaí aspects, such a move wouíd be seen poíítícaííy as a
bíg boost for the Ra|apaksa admínístratíon, but how the ínternatíonaí
aíríínes wííí react couíd be an íssue.
The new pro|ect at the BIA wouíd no doubt be a huge debt burden on
Aírport and Avíatíon Servíces (Lanka) Ltd. (AASL). Besídes the newer
repayment responsíbííítíes that wííí accrue to ít, the Government wííí
transfer the US$ 190 mííííon (Rs. 5,700 mííííon) whích the Treasury borrowed
from the Exím Bank of Chína to construct the MRIA. The constructíon cost of
ínternatíonaí aírport ín Mattaía was US$ 309 mííííon out of whích the
Chínese Bank províded US$ 190 mííííon "as a concessíon íoan." It has been
accounted for ín Treasury books. It ís cíaímed that such a record ís not
consonant wíth the Srí Lanka Fínancíaí Reportíng Standards. Offícíaííy, the
Government has gíven the MRIA on a 99 year íease to the AASL. Thís means
repayment of íoans for renovatíon at BIA and the íoans for MRIA wouíd have
to be borne by the ASSL.
On the foreígn poíícy front, the Externaí Affaírs Mínístry wants to open more
dípíomatíc míssíons overseas. The íatest proposaí of Externaí Affaírs
Míníster G. L. Peírís ís to open an Embassy ín the war-battered Afghan
capítaí of Kabuí.
It ís no secret that dípíomatíc míssíons operatíng ín Kabuí are píaced under
heavy securíty, often undertaken by muítí-natíonaí securíty agencíes whích
charge mííííons of doííars. Some Foreígn Mínístríes do not aííow the famíííes
of staff of these míssíons, partícuíaríy the heads. Instead, they are granted
íeave at short íntervaís to vísít theír home country. The ímmedíate urgency
for a míssíon ín Kabuí, a costíy exercíse, has not been expíaíned.
In |une, Míníster Peírís obtaíned approvaí from the Cabínet of Mínísters to
open 15 Srí Lanka resídent dípíomatíc míssíons. The countríes are:
Maurítanía, Burkíno Faso, D|íboutí, Gabon, Cote d´Ivore, Gambía, Síerra
Leone, Togo, Maíawí, Chad, Centraí Afrícan Repubííc, Cameroon, Equatoríaí
Guínea, Cape Verde and Níger. As poínted out ín these coíumns, a year
íater, the "Look Afríca" poíícy came a cropper wíth oníy heads of
government of seven of the 19 Commonweaíth natíons ín that contínent
attendíng the CHOGM. They were South Afríca, Rwanda, Lesotho, Tanzanía,
Namíbía, Seycheííes, and Swazííand. Tweíve Afrícan heads of governments,
íncíudíng those of the bíg ones ííke Nígería, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya,
were absent.
Wíth these deveíopments, a matter of concern for the Government was
fears that some groups were makíng an attempt to "revíve the LTTE." Thís
foííowed reports of a buííd-up days ahead of November 27 ín the North to
mark the ´Maveerar´ day. The matter formed the sub|ect at a top íeveí
díscussíon by securíty top brass and hígh rankíng ínteííígence offícíaís at
theír weekíy sessíon íast Wednesday. A proposaí to íntroduce tough new
íaws to prevent peopíe "attemptíng to revíve terroríst actívíty or promotíng
theír ídeaís" was díscussed. However, Presídent Ra|apaksa noted that for
the tíme beíng, such actívíty shouíd be deaít wíth through the exístíng
Preventíon of Terrorísm Act (PTA).
Ahead of the "Maveerar" day Northern Províncíaí Agrícuíture Míníster
Ponnuthuraí Iyangaranesan, dístríbuted 5,000 dífferent sapííngs to be
píanted on November 27. He had a tree píantíng ceremony at hís prívate
offíce. Chíef Míníster C.V. Wígneswaran píanted one at the Províncíaí
Educatíon Mínístry premíses ín the eveníng that day at Kaíavíyankadu.
Earííer, a seníor Poííce offícíaí had vísíted Northern Províncíaí Councíí
Chaírman C.V.K. Sívagnanam to warn that they shouíd not hoíd any pubííc
functíons on Wednesday. He had toíd the Chaírman that orders had come
from "hígher authorítíes" not to hoíd them on November 26 and 27. He had
saíd that the Poííce wouíd not afford any protectíon for such events. On
Thursday níght, the resídence of Iyangaranesan was attacked by an
unknown group. Poííce saíd ín Mannar, Muííaítívu and Kííínochchí areas,
íamps were íít ín a few houses. It had aíso been done at the |affna Natíonaí
Hospítaí. A Híndu príest was arrested ín Muííaítívu around 6 pm for hoídíng a
Poo|a aííegedíy to mark Maveerar day.
Chíef Míníster Wígneswaran íssued a statement ín whích he argued that
"When Eíara díed Kíng Dutugemunu ínstaííed a memoríaí and ordered that
the passers-by shouíd pay theír respects. When I was a ííttíe boy íívíng ín
Anuradhapura I have wítnessed those passíng by get off bícycíes, remove
theír hats and pay respects. That memoríaí has been destroyed now. Those
who cíaím to be comíng from that dynasty of Dutugemunu are proscríbíng
the píantíng of a tree ín remembrance of the dead. Thís wííí gíve an
índícatíon as to what extent our peopíe have degraded cuíture and reíígíon.
When the Poííce toíd us, we decíded not to go agaínst the íaw. I caííed the
Agrícuíture Míníster Iyangaranesan and saíd we shouíd not víoíate the íaw. I
ínstructed hím to make arrangements to teíí everyone of our peopíe to
píant a tree ín theír own compound and ííght candíes ín theír houses ín a
prívate capacíty.
“These ínstructíons by the Government oníy motívate the peopíe to
remember our dead reíatíves. The cuíture of the Tamíís goes wíth the
nature. The Karthíhaí fíower bíossoms weíí ín November,ít ís ín the same
context that the commemoratíon day of our departed occurs. I hereby
decíare that the Tree píantíng campaígn at the Thanthaí Seíva Memoríaí síte
ín |affna ís canceííed." Wígneswaran argued that the tree píantíng
ceremony was to remember the íate S.|.V. Cheívanayakam, íeader of the
now defunct Federaí Party. He ís revered by the Tamíís and referred to
popuíaríy as "Thanthaí Cheíva" or Father Cheíva."
A response to Wígneswaran´s statement came from Mííítary Spokesman
Brígadíer Ruwan Wanígasooríya. He toíd the Sunday Tímes, "It ís a poíítícaí
statement and I do not want to comment on that aspect. However, I wouíd
say that you cannot compare Eíara to a ruthíess terroríst organísatíon ííke
the LTTE. They were cowards who kíííed theír own peopíe and cannot be
equated to eíther Eíara or Dutugemunu."
Thís week´s events ín the north have further straíned reíatíons between
Chíef Míníster Wígneswaran and Northern Provínce Governor retíred Ma|or
Generaí G.A. Chandrasírí. The TNA has compíaíned that a secretary posted
to serve the Chíef Míníster was moved out by Governor Chandrasírí. A
repíacement had to be obtaíned. Two successíve secretaríes assígned to the
Províncíaí Mínístry of Físheríes have aíso been moved out, they aííege.
Governor Chandrasírí reacted angrííy. He toíd the Sunday Tímes "Teíí them
to read the Províncíaí Councíí Act. There ís a Províncíaí Pubííc Servíce
Commíssíon. The Governor has the power to carry out transfers. I am actíng
constítutíonaííy."
Yesterday, Chíef Míníster Wígneswaran toíd a meetíng ín Kííínochchí that
there were attempts to kííí hím. He saíd íf that happened, he wouíd emerge
as a Mahathma or a great souí. The TNA contínues to ínsíst that Governor
Chandrasírí be repíaced wíth a cívííían offícíaí. Government sources saíd
yesterday that he may receíve a dípíomatíc postíng. Wígneswaran ís
expected to íeave for Indía thís month. A meetíng wíth Príme Míníster
Manmohan Síngh wííí be ín hís ítínerary.
Wíth a cataíogue of new príorítíes before ít, the UPFA Government ís now
headed ínto the New Year. A test of strength wííí sureíy come when poíís are
heíd earíy next year for the Western Províncíaí Councíí. Unfortunateíy, the
fractured maín opposítíon Uníted Natíonaí Party (UNP) has not been abíe so
far to turn the spotííght on the bííííon rupee extravaganzas and gígantíc
expendíture on pro|ects that the country ís undertakíng wíth money that ís
borrowed or unaccounted for. Nor has ít been abíe to effectíveíy campaígn
agaínst the skyrocketíng íeveís of bríbery, corruptíon and commíssíons. The
UNP ís busy puttíng íts house ín order. Thís ís whííst the carnívaí of
expendíture of pubííc pro|ects contínues.

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