The chief minister of the northern province, C V Wigneswaran told the Sri Lankan president that whilst there was a need for adequate devolution across the island, the problems facing the North-East were different to the rest of the island, and required an urgent needs based assessment.
"It must be remembered that we are different in the North and East. We are a war affected region. Our problems are different, serious and needs adequate handling. I have yesterday impressed upon the Resident Co-ordinator of the UN in the presence of the Under Secretary General Mr Feltman that a needs’ based multi lateral assessment is a crying necessity for us to properly address our special problems," Mr Wigneswaran told the Sri Lankan president, who was chairing a provincial coordinating meeting at the District Secretariat Auditorium in Jaffna on Tuesday.
Urging the new Sri Lankan president to create a state of one country with two nations whose citizens are trilingual in English, Tamil and Sinhala, Mr Wigneswaran detailed the pressing needs of the Tamils in the North-East:
"In the field of Education we have the urgent cases of contract basis teachers, part time teachers and volunteer teachers. There are 177 contract basis teachers and 87 part time teachers who need to be conferred permanency as teachers.
The volunteer teachers 389 in number need to be absorbed into the Sri Lanka Teachers’ Service. Our Education Department has also asked for the filling of vacancies over 100 in number in the SLEAS cadres.
In the Health Sector there are shortages of Consultants in major Hospitals. Only 55 are now serving out of a cadre of 119 in the Northern Province. There is dire need for medical administrators in the Province. There is an urgent need to fill at least 100 vacancies out of 242 existing vacancies among medical officers needed. At least 150 nursing officers are urgently needed. There are many other requirements. As the former Minister of Health you Excellency might have come to know of our predicament earlier itself.
Our Agriculture Minister has many problems of which the pollution caused to the ground water sources in Chunnakam and adjoining areas are causing concern. Our Fishermen’s issues were brought to your notice recently by our Minister of Fisheries.
I am told our Ministers will forward their needs and requirements by writing to your office Sir for your favorable consideration. Our Chief Secretary has already stated his piece. It was my desire to hand over in writing all their needs to you here today but I have not succeeded in getting the relevant documents in As for my Ministry let me set out very briefly our needs and requirements.
An urgent need of the hour in the field of Land Acquisition is to put a stop to the haphazard acquisition by the Military and the Police, of lands belonging to the general public. Lands already acquired without our permission nor consent be handed back to the legitimate owners. In Kokkilai and Manal Aru the local occupants of lands have been forcibly evicted and persons from outside our Province have been allowed to take possession of their lands.
We are also concerned about the so called “disappeareds” and those detainee who for years are in incarceration without any cases being filed against them. Many of the so called “disappeareds” are there in unofficial detention as opposed to those in official detention. It is high time they are identified and an Amnesty be given. [The Buddhist festival of] Wesak comes on the 3rd of May. May I suggest an Amnesty for them on that Holy Day?
A scheme to arrange for the livelihood needs of the dependents of those who are in Prisons and in detention need to be formulated. It is but a humanitarian exercise. Many such unfortunate dependents come in numbers to us asking for relief. We are not financially provided for such exigencies.
There are those affected physically and mentally by the war who need attention.
The surreptitious and illegal removal of sand and stone without consideration for the adverse environmental effect they cause, is a matter that needs immediate attention. Without proper permits nor official papers, with political influence much of our resources are being removed. There seems to be connivance and concurrence on the part of various official power bases.
Farms and houses, estates and lands taken over by the Armed Forces and others need to be immediately released to their legitimate owners. For example the Vavuniya Co-operative Training Institute needs to be released to the Northern Provincial Council by the Central Government.
The Boat to Delft called Vadatharakai has been take over by the Navy and not released. They must take steps to give it back to the People.
There are a number of temples, houses and public places which had been destroyed during the war. A system of paying compensation to the affected people needs to be formulated.
Many cases of corruption in official quarters remain unaddressed. They include recruitment of persons to employment outside due process.
The setting up of the CM’s account was unjustly scuttled by the previous Governor. It is high time the CM’s official account is allowed to function. Such an account will no doubt come under the purview of the Auditor General.
There are many other matters. Let me conclude stating that your visit to the North it is hoped will usher in a new chapter in our History."