Mobile Service Conducted by EPC at Batticaloa

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A mobile service was conducted under the guidance and chairmanship of Hon. Chief Minister Z.A. Nazeer Ahamed with the collaboration of Provincial Ministries and Departments, District Secretariat and other Central Government Agencies on 14.05.2015 at Municipal Council Hall, Batticaloa.

The objective of this mobile service is to seek solutions to the public problems faced in various sectors like agriculture, fisheries, industries, lands and irrigation, housing, local government services and other essential service sectors administered by the central government agencies.

Around 1091 complaints were received during this mobile service. Instant solutions were sought to 672 complaints, remaining complaints were treated for further action within a scheduled period. Provincial Ministries, Departments, Statutory bodies and Central Government Agencies took part in this service.

http://www.ep.gov.lk/DetailsEventnew.asp?lan=0&eid=314

Opening of New Central Bus Stand at Nelliyady

17341883283_3b30afba0eThe newly constructed Central Bus Stand in the Nelliyady Town was ceremonially declared open  by the Chief Minister Justice C.V.Wigneswaran on 21 May 2015.

In the presence of Provincial Minister of Fisheries & Transport B.Deniswaran, on the invitation by the Vadamaradchchi South West Pradeshiya Sabah Chairman P. Viyakesu .This Bus stand was constructed by Vadamaradchchi South West Pradeshiya Sabah with the Provincial council funds.

Provincial Council members, Secretary to the Chief Minister R.Varatheeswaran, Secretary – Provincial Minister of Fisheries & Transport S. Sathiyaseelan, officials and general public were present at this event.

http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3353:opening-of-new-central-bus-stand-at-nelliyady-22-may-2015&catid=9&Itemid=116

World Environment Day celebrated in Mullaitivu

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The World Environment day was celebrated under the concept of “Seven Billion Dreams… One Planet… Consume with care” by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Services, Animal Husbandry, Irrigation, Environment, Water supply, Food supply and distributions and Co-operative Development, NP with the coordination of Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs, Sports and Youth Affairs NP at Katpurapulveli, Mullaitivu on 05th June 2015. Minister of Education T.Gurukularajah and Minister of Agriculture P.Ayngaranesan and Provincial Councilors T.Raviharan, S.Sivamoha and K.Sivanesan also participated.

In the end of the event, seedlings and school kits were issued to the students by the guests.

http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3372:world-environment-day-celebrated-in-mullaitivu&catid=14&Itemid=120

Mobile service conducted at Pandiyankulam, Mullaithivu – 18 June 2015

18950598595_0f0345a801A Mobile Service was organized by the Northern Provincial Council in collaboration with District Secretariat, Mullaitivu on 18 June 2015 at Palinagar Mahavidyalayam in Pandiyankulam seek solution to the public’s problem.

It was organized under the guidance and chairmanship of Chief Minister Justice C.V.Wigneswaran. On the same day newly constructed two storied science & Technology Laboratory declared opened by the Chief Minister and handed over to the Students.

The Mobile service was ceremonially inaugurated by the Chief Minister and Peoples’ problems were listened and solutions were given. During this mobile service, 100 landless families received land deeds from the Chief Minister. At this mobile service Wanni district Parliamentarians, Provincial Ministers, Mullaitivu district Provincial Council Members, Addl. Govt. Agent, Mullaitivu, Provincial Council Secretaries, Heads of Departments and Divisional Secretaries from Thunukkai and Pandiyankulam were also participated.

Around the 2900 complaint were received during the mobile service, instant solutions were sought around 2300 complaints, remaining complaints were treated for further action.

http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3376:mobile-service&catid=9&Itemid=116

Opening Ceremony of Central Ayurvedic Dispensary- Paragahakela

E1M3-17-06-2015Central Ayurvedic Dispensary Paragahakela, Ampara was ceremonially opened by Hon.M.I.M.Monsoor , Minister of health and indigenous medicine of EPC on 11/6/2015.

Chairman of Eastern Provincial Council Hon. A.P.Galappathige Chadradasa, members of local Predeshiya Sabha, Provincial commissioner of indigenous medicine Dr.(Mrs) R Srithar, staff from RDHS Office Amapara and Ayurvedic Department also participated at this event. This Central Ayurvedic Dispensary was newly constructed under the Dayata Kirula project funds of Hon. Sarath Weerasekara.

http://www.ep.gov.lk/DetailsEventnew.asp?lan=0&eid=317

Housing assistance to the war affected people in the Northern Province – 17 June 2015

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Under the guidance of Chief Minister of Northern Province, Justice C.V.Wigneswaran, Chief Minister’s Ministry provided the financial assistance to the war affected people who are below poverty line in Northern Province for construction of permanent houses under PSDG fund.

Chief Minister has given the first payment to the beneficiaries at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on 17 June 2015. 09 beneficiaries received the first payment under this scheme.

Secretary to the Chief Minister R. Varatheeswaran chaired the event. Ministry’s Chief Accountant P. Jeyarajah was present also in this event.

Chief Minister laid down the foundation stone for a house at Navatkuli also.

http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3374:ghgjghjh&catid=9:min-cm&Itemid=116

Colombo & Jaffna Media Educated on Release of Land to Civilians

2015_06_10_6A team of media personnel representing 44 electronic and print media based in Colombo and Jaffna visited lands newly released from the Palaly Military Cantonment in order to get firsthand experience on the process on June 10, 2015. They were initially educated on release of lands in different stages since the end of the Humanitarian Operation in 2009 during briefing conducted at Headquarters Security Force – Jaffna (SF-J), Palaly.

Responding to questions raised by journalists during briefing, Commander SF-J Major General Nandana Udawatta revealed that 99.44% of contaminated areas have been cleared of mines and humanitarian demining is being continued by the Army Engineers and foreign demining agencies in the remaining area.

He further added that Jaffna is safe in the aspect of security and no terrorist activity has disturbed the Jaffna life after the war ended. Journalists from both government and private media firms joined the visit organized by the Media Centre, Ministry of Defence.

The delegation was headed by Military Spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera. Senior officers of the SF – J were also present on the media briefing.

http://www.cimicjaffna.lk/Cimicnews_2015_06_10.php

Education essential for reconciliation

Rajiva Wijesinha interviewed by Rathindra Kuruwita

Many think of truth commissions, new laws and restitution when they think of reconciliation. But in a country like Sri Lanka where there is deep rooted prejudices and mistrust among ethnicities, education can play a key role in achieving true reconciliation. Ceylon Today speaks to former State Minister of Education and former Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) Rajiva Wijesinha to speak further on using Education as a tool, in reconciliation and ethnic harmony.

 Q:  How can we use education to achieve reconciliation?

A: As we noted in the draft National Reconciliation Policy, which the last government ignored, and which this one does not seem interested in either, ‘The perception of discrimination and unequal treatment within the Tamil population arose from a series of administrative changes, such as discrimination against the use of the Tamil language in a context where education was segregated by language. This contributed to deprivation in terms of jobs, which was exacerbated by the State being the predominant employer in the context of statist economic policies’.

Reversing this would be easy if we ensured bilingualism, which is a standard requirement for higher education, in all countries at our level of development or higher. I would advocate making two of the three languages used in this country compulsory at Ordinary Level. This would open up more opportunities for employment for citizens from the North too, while it would ensure that any citizen could communicate with any other citizen.

I should note that by education I also mean technical and vocational training, which is a mess at present. In the last few years, I have spent much of my decentralized budget in the North for Vocational Training Centres, because very little was happening there. The Ministry in Colombo did not develop active training centres, but constructed buildings and set up institutions, which provide jobs for favourites. The present government also seems concerned more with making political appointments to these positions rather than the professional development that is needed. I had plans, when Kabir Hashim first told me he wanted me to look after Technical Education too, to develop a modular system so that we would produce not only technicians but also potential managers and entrepreneurs. We could have got private sector support for this, given the crying need for skilled workers. But I was told that the Prime Minister wanted to hang on to that sector – and since then I have seen no evidence of thinking on the subject.

At another level, we should also have systematized the twinning of schools and universities. I had suggested for instance that Moratuwa University work together with the Eastern University, and Jaffna with Ruhuna. Earlier, I had wanted a major Colombo school to work with a big school in a Northern District capital to do projects for rural areas. Unfortunately the then Secretary at the Ministry of Education got suspicious and did not encourage this.

Finally, we should develop a programme to get educational support from the Diaspora. As you know, this element in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations has been neglected. Soon after, I took office I wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about this, but heard nothing. Recently, International Alert had a meeting with youngsters from the Diaspora who wanted to volunteer for work here, but it seems those in authority are concerned only about investment. Even students can understand the need for other systems of contact, as when for instance the Rajarata Medical students asked about getting people from abroad to teach them for particular subjects for particular periods. That type of person to person contact would be ideal, for when people work together they appreciate each other more. But I fear there is little concern about either Reconciliation or Education at a time when grabbing power and winning elections (and not in that order) seem the priorities.

Q:  You have said “when the vast majority of jobs in the public sector require a knowledge of Sinhala, and the education system prevents Tamils, and Muslims too, from acquiring Sinhala, of course they will be deprived of jobs.’ What are the main reasons preventing students from the North and East to learn Sinhala? On the other hand don’t students have the right to learn in a language they prefer and is it not the State’s responsibility to ensure that they are also included in the system?

A: The main problem is an acute shortage of teachers. The State has failed to provide English teachers though it has been a compulsory subject for half a century (compulsory in the peculiar Sri Lankan use of the term, since it is not compulsory to pass an exam in English). Now, though Sinhala and Tamil are compulsory as Third Languages, we do not have enough teachers in those subjects either,of course students have a right to pick their medium of instruction, I am talking now of a second language. We have a chicken and egg situation here, in that the State does not want to make a second language compulsory because there are not enough teachers, and because there are not enough teachers, many students cannot learn a second language. And of course it is the rural students who suffer most. Sometimes, seeing the efforts to stop English medium education that both Ranil Wickremesinghe and some officials in the Education Ministry engaged in, when Tara de Mel and I started it 15 years ago, I begin to wonder whether this isn’t a deliberate ploy to stop our bright rural students from being able to compete effectively. Continue reading

North – South students to promote Harmony and Reconciliation

Capture1Hundreds of students traveled from Dickwella to join hands with their counterparts at the Nelliyadi Central College Jaffna to play, sing and enjoy together on 16th May 2015. Their theme was to join hands and build bridges to promote understanding, harmony and brotherhood among the youth in the North and South. They invited the Northern students to visit the South soon.

Governor HMGS Palihakkara participated at this event. He said that he believed that this programme would help to develop brotherhood and reconciliation among the communities in Sri Lanka.

Secretary to the Governor L.Ilaangovan, parents and teachers also participated in this event.

Capture2http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3346:north-south-students-to-promote-harmony-and-reconciliation&catid=8&Itemid=114

 

Sri Lanka: Social Development Through Social Capital And Integration – Analysis

By Shanti Nandana Wijesinghe*

Sri Lanka is recovering from thirty years of traumatic civil war, with her people craving peace and prosperity after prolonged exposure to barbaric and cruel experiences forced on them by terrorism. The government for its part is taking significant measures to undo the destructive effects of war on both material and psychological aspects of life by way of carrying out infrastructure development projects of massive proportions and facilitating harmony through special programs aimed at building peace and reconciliation among different ethnicities.

Naturally, the latter endeavor is more testing since it concerns altering thinking patterns that have for so long been conditioned by fear, mistrust, and general negativity. In order to address the issue, a host of reconciliation initiatives are being taken at the state level that tackle various dimensions of reconciliation including, but not limited to, social integration, ethnic coexistence, mutual trust, religious harmony, citizen empowerment, and grassroots leadership training.

A notable effort in this regard was taken by the Presidential Secretariat during the traditional Hindu Thai Pongul festival in January, 2013 where a select group of former female carders of the LTTE along with a group of university undergraduates engaged in the festivities associated with the event at the Leisure World Water Park. This initiative was mainly taken with the hope that both groups will for the first time be given the opportunity to interact extensively, thereby possibly deconstructing misinformed racial and religious prejudices they may entertain about each other.

The writer has specifically chosen this event due to the extensive implications it has for the social transformation process of post-war Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it suggests possibilities of a very wide scope that make it worthy of deliberation. The following theoretical concepts and definitions will be incorporated into this analysis, and the discussion will develop along lines of social integration and social capital in post-war Sri Lanka.

The article will focus on the following aspects in particular:

  • How the youth of Sri Lanka can be effectively used to generate and sustain social capital in the terms of social development
  • The implications of integrating the university student community with that of former LTTE carders on post-war reconciliation
  • The impact of this effort on the process of social transformation as a whole

Continue reading