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TNPF leader denounces Chinese encroachment in North-East

Speaking to the media, leader of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, denounced the encroachment of Chinese businesses engaged in sea cucumber farming in Jaffna and Kilinochchi.

Whilst delivering aid in Puthukkudiyiruppu to those worst affected by the pandemic, he told the media.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic situation of Tamils has been greatly affected. At this point, there has been a lot of opposition amongst them against the creation of establishments by Chinese people in Jaffna and Kilinochchi in the name of producing sea cucumbers,” Ponnambalam said.

“For a people who suffered war for 32 years, the pandemic has added to their burden. They’re still in a state of searching for whatever opportunities they could find in their area.”

“It is at this stage when people have no income or work, they have asked the TNPF to expose the truth about the business taking place in their sea resources which ends up depriving them of income.”  

Ponnambalam was referring to the sea cucumber production activity conducted by the Chinese in the Tamil coastal areas.

“Yesterday morning, when I visited the Ariyalai coastal area, a Chinese organisation had set up a production house for sea cucumbers, where only Chinese workers were seen to be employed.”

“The manager of that firm is an EPDP representative in the Jaffna Municipal Council, Mr. Ganesh,” Ponnambalam pointed out. 

The TNPF MP further said that his party would not oppose the Chinese business if there was no “geopolitical angle” to it. “However,” he continued, “if it is just a veneer, and has ulterior geopolitical motives behind it, we will definitely oppose the move.”

Ponnambalam then criticised the Sri Lankan government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. “The government said that it had expended a huge sum of money towards the prevention of the pandemic. They would not have spent even 5% of what they said.”

“There has been a great delay in vaccination in the North and East. We doubt whether the government is pushing the people who suffered a great deal of loss due to the war towards another phase of suffering during the pandemic,” he said.

He also appealed to international donors of Sri Lanka to ensure that the aid they grant reaches the non-Sinhalese parts of the island. 

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