Opening Ceremony of Poonakary Market Complex and Bus stand held – 27 August 2014

15057306731_8b7296c6dbMinister Basil requests the stake holders of the province, not to disturb the on going development activities .

Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa was the chief guest of opening ceremony of Market Complex and Bus Stand constructed in Poonakary of Kilinochchi district on 27th August 2014.

Minister Basil Rohana Rajapaksa in his address requested the Tamil National Alliance to help the Central Government in rebuilding the Northern Province. He also stated that not to disturb the on going development activities. People of the Northern Province have started to enjoy the benefits of the mega development activities of the Government.

Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda, Governor of the Northern Province GA Chandrasiri, Parliamentarian M.Chandrakumar and Provincial Minister of Health P.Sathiyalingam participated as special guests.

These buildings were the long term need of the people. Large number of area people participated at this ceremony.

Under the Vadakkin Vasantham Programme Economic Development Ministry spent 20 million rupees for the construction of the Modern Market Complex and 5 million for Poonakary Bus Stand.

Northern Provincial Council Member V.Thavananthan, Govt. Agent of Kilinochchi Roobavathy Ketheeswaran, Chairman of Poonakary Pradeshiya Sabha Sriskantharajah and several officials also took part at this event.

http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3074:opening-ceremony-of-poonakary-divisional-hospital-market-complex-and-bus-stand-held-27-august-2014&catid=8:min-gs&Itemid=114

Opening Ceremony of Entertainment Park In Kinniya

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Under the Puraneguma Development Project of Mahinda Chinthana and with the initiative of Chairman of Urban Council Kinniya Mr. Hilmy Mahroof, Newly Constructed Entertainment Park along the Kattaiyaru Lagoon was declared open by Hon. Governor, Eastern Province Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama on 09th August 2014.

Hon Rizad Badurdeen, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Chairman and Members of Urban Council, Kinniya, Provincial Secretaries, Government Officials and large gathering of people were also present at this occasion.During the speech of Hon. Governor reminded the situation that prevailed and the number of development programme carried out to the people in Kinniya by the Government, Provincial Council and the Local Government Institutions. He stressed that it is important for the people to ensure that the stability and peace is maintained as had been during the last few years to ensure smooth transformation of the people and infrastructure as found in other developed areas in Sri Lanka especially, after the absence of development for almost 30 years.

http://www.ep.gov.lk/DetailsEventnew.asp?lan=0&eid=237

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison makes secret visit to Sri Lanka’s war-torn Jaffna region

Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has reportedly made a secret visit to the war-torn Sri Lankan region of Jaffna during his whirlwind stop in the South Asian nation.

The ABC understands Mr Morrison arrived in Jaffna by helicopter yesterday afternoon after attending the inauguration of two customs boats donated by Canberra to Colombo.

Mr Morrison was accompanied by the Australian High Commissioner and other Australian officials.

Jaffna was the scene of some of the worst fighting during the civil war and some Tamils there say they still face persecution.

The major Tamil political party in Jaffna says Mr Morrison met only with the governor of Northern Province in Jaffna, GA Chandrasiri, who is a presidential appointee, and not with any Tamil politicians or civil society groups.

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Diaspora Lanka Report : 28 September to 31 December 2013 – Part 6

3.5 Vision Mannar

Vision Mannar is a district-wide business initiative that aims to develop boutique businesses based on Mannar’s famous products for tourist and export markets: mainly rice, dry fish, salt and palmyrah. Although Mannar was once famous for such products, the district did not benefit from this because of a lack of product development; branding and packaging; a reluctance to embrace new technology; and low standards in all stages of manufacturing and production. This project has many objectives – to value add to existing Mannar products, develop and promote high quality items for external markets, build the capacity of small and medium enterprises to produce export quality goods and to reduce regional poverty and high levels of unemployment (particularly for vulnerable groups). External funding of this project is essential.

Activities summary from the last visit to Sri Lanka
• Reviewed the extensive “Vision Mannar” proposal and budget completed by Diarne Kreltszheim, Diaspora Lanka volunteer, and Chamber staff in June last year. Also developed a modified and less funds-heavy version.
• Held several meetings with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to seek funds for the “Vision Mannar” proposal.
• Worked closely with Chamber staff to develop new projects and find funding.

Next steps
• Wait for UNDP feedback. The Government and UNDP are currently in negotiations about project and funding guidelines so until the outcomes are known, local resourcing decisions cannot be made.

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The need for a national campaign to reduce the size of the Cabinet

Perhaps the most exciting positive political development in the last few months was the Constitutional Amendment proposed by the Hon Vasantha Senanayake MP, to limit the Cabinet to 30 members. This was an important part of the suggestions he made to the Parliamentary Select Committee, after discussion with a group of young people. Given that it is not likely the PSC will come to anything positive soon, he thought he needed to act to promote at least one of the reforms this country so sorely needs.

It is to be hoped that all political interests in the country will rally round this initiative. In the past the minority parties have tended to stick to what they see as their own concerns only. But this neglect of measures that will affect the nation as a whole is counter-productive. In the first place it allows the extremists who will not recognize existing minority concerns to claim that the minorities are not interested in the country as a whole, which means they are still obsessed with the idea of a separate state. This of course is an absurd idea, given how many members of minority groups live in the rest of the country. But sometimes the behavior of in particular the TNA creates the impression that they are simply not interested in reforms that will benefit the country as a whole.

In the case of the Senanayake initiative, they should also realize that a much smaller cabinet would immensely benefit minorities too. As it is, the thinking elements in the Cabinet are dwarfed by those with majoritarian instincts who can shout louder than the rest. But in a Cabinet of at most 30, minorities would constitute at least 20% of the whole. They would also have as colleagues a number of efficient and capable individuals, whereas now Cabinet decisions are made by a massive host, which obviously cannot go into details in discussion.

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Limit the Cabinet to 30 Ministers: A Private Member Bill from a Young Member of Parliament, Vasantha Senanayake

By  Dhanushka Jayakody

There is a new phenomenon of Private Member Bills and Motions in Parliament recently which have highlighted the need for constitutional and structural reforms. The least controversial initiative was by the Liberal Party which had a motion to amend Standing Orders. This was placed on the Order Paper, but has then been swallowed up in the usual Parliamentary lethargy, because, in violation of the existing Standing Orders, it has not been brought before the House.

More controversial was the JHU’s Private Member Bill calling for amendment of the 13th amendment to the Constitution. Following debate in Cabinet however, which revealed the strong negative feelings about the Billl, it too was not brought before the House.

Now a much younger member, the Hon Vasantha Senanayake, who has recently led groups of young parliamentarians on international visits, has brought forward a potentially more popular Bill. Being a member of the main government party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and elected from the Gampaha District where he organizes Mirigama, he recently handed over a private member bill to the Secretary General of Parliament proposing another amendment to the Constitution.

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Diaspora Lanka Report : 28 September to 31 December 2013 – Part 3

2. Community advocacy

Diaspora Lanka is frequently asked to advocate on behalf of individuals, groups and organisations on a range of issues. We meet with the hierarchy, officers and staff of government, military, community and religious agencies and commissions to represent or support those who have a concern or grievance. Diaspora Lanka’s “there are no enemies” approach sees all parties as part of the solution.
3. Business development

lentil

Shanaka, Lentil as Anything, prepares for videoing

rice mill

Foundations of the rice mill being constructed

3.1 Rice to Riches: daily income for vulnerable women

This is a livelihood program through micro business development in Manthai West Division in Mannar District. It targets vulnerable women – both war widows and returned internally displaced persons (IDPs) – across three villages where relations between Catholics, Muslims and Hindus are strained. A milling operation (rice, rice flour, curry, chilli powders) will provide a daily income for women, helping them back on their feet.

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Project committee members survey the progress

roof

Walls and roof completed

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Diaspora Lanka Report : 28 September to 31 December 2013 – Part 1

diaspora 1

In this edition….
…A three-day “lockdown” workshop produces inspired urban design for Mannar’s town plan
…Visible progress made on the women’s rice mill project
…A community tourism strategy gets the attention of the International Financial Corporation
…Successful overseas volunteer programs in 2013 will generate further ones in 2014

 

The past three months in Sri Lanka have been a mixed bag, of frustration and hampered progress on some of our larger projects and encouraging headway on our more community-level ventures. The political backdrop of this trip was vibrant and at times volatile due to the holding of the Northern Provincial Government elections and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM). The Government was also preoccupied with preparations for the forthcoming return to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in March of 2014.

A highlight of this period was having 15 overseas volunteers work alongside local counterparts on a range of projects. Although our town planning initiatives didn’t quite go according to plan, Diaspora Lanka brought out 11 Australian planning professionals who assisted to fast-track the Mannar urban development plan. Two volunteers came from Estonia to work on a community tourism strategy and an English-based activity program, while two further volunteers from Vietnam and Australia focused on establishing an ‘English as a Second Language’ (ESL) program.

Other pleasing developments included the progress made on establishing a rice mill so that women made vulnerable by the war can earn a daily income and the establishment of the Computerizing Mannar Villages initiative for children and youngsters in two more remote areas of Mannar.

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Foundation stones laid down in Atchuveli Industrial Zone – 16 April 2014

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“The project will be implemented under full grant assistance of the Government of India with an estimated outlay of Sri Lankan Rs. 192 million (US$ 1.7 million). The completion of the project is expected to provide a boost to economic activities in the Jaffna Peninsula and generate local employment, both direct and indirect, for about 2,000 people.
It is also expected to lead to flow of significant investments to increase production capacities in the sectors of textiles, plastic and leather products, food processing, agro-based industries, oil and fibre products, etc., thereby resulting in better utilisation of local resources.

The project will be implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development of the Government of Sri Lanka. Necessary technical expertise and project management services will be provided by the United Nations (UNOPS).”

An event to lay foundation stones for three factories in the Atchuveli Industrial Zone was held on 16th April 2014. Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda and Governor of the Northern Province GA Chandrasiri participated as chief guests and laid down the stones. Indian Consul General, Jaffna V.Mahalingam also participated at this event.

A plastic pipe factory, a fishing net factory and a factory of Hemas are to be constructed in the zone. This industrial zone is being established with the 225 million rupees financial support of Indian Government and 50 million rupees financial support of Sri Lankan Government.

This project is expected generate many job opportunities which will benefit the local residents at various categories.

bricks 2

http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2890:foundation-stones-laid-down-in-atchuveli-industrial-zone-16-april-2014&catid=85:min-gs&Itemid=20

Reconciliation and the role of India

Reconciliation and the role of India

Presentation by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, MP

At the Observatory Research Foundation

Delhi, December 13th 2013

I must admit to being deeply worried about the current state of relations between India and Sri Lanka. I contrast this with the excellent situation that obtained in 2009, when India was the chief component of the protective barrier against efforts to stop us eradicating terrorism from our shores. One might have thought that this was a goal the whole world would have supported, but sadly this is not an ideal world and countries will naturally put their own self interest first. Fortunately, not only did India’s interests coincide with our own at that stage, but given the terrible toll terrorism funded by external sources was taking on both our countries, I think it is also true to say that we worked in accordance with the highest moral perspectives.

But the aim we shared then, of eradicating terrorism on our shores, went hand in hand with another commitment, which was the promotion of pluralism in Sri Lanka. This again is a moral goal, but it also has a practical dimension, in that the full incorporation of the Tamil people in the body politic in Sri Lanka would have reduced the potential for future terrorism.

Sadly Sri Lanka has not pursued the Reconciliation process with the commitment it requires. Given its urgency I believe we should try to understand the reasons for this, and try to overcome them. In this process India has a significant role to play.

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