Northern Provincial Council To Boycott Special District Development Meeting In Jaffna

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has accused the government of overlooking the Provincial Council, in response to an invitation to attend a Special District Development meeting to be chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Jaffna on October 13.

Wigneswaran has said the Council would not attend the meeting or any other “politically motivated meeting” in the province when the Tamils were continuing to be marginalized, pointing to an “authoritarian regime foisted on the NPC.”

The President is to hand over land permits to 20,000 people in the Northern Province.

The Chief Minister, a former Supreme Court judge, has questioned the process and the legal basis for the selection of recipients, adding that the move was only to create political capital. “Clearly, the NPC is not viewed as a partner in addressing the concerns of the war-ravaged north,” Mr. Wigneswaran has said.

However, the UPFA, the governing party of Sri Lanka and the opposition party in NPC has maintained that the Northern Province has been most favored among the provinces of Sri Lanka. “As per the National Budget Estimates for 2014, NP got the highest allocation for capital expenditure among the provinces. It also got the highest amount for recurrent expenditure per capita,” Leader of the Opposition in the Provincial Council S. Thavaraja told The New Indian Express a few weeks back.

Meanwhile, the government has accused the Provincial Council of being a cause of slowing down the development work. Speaking on the Northern Provincial Council’s role in development projects in the north, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said in late August that the government’s development work in the north had slowed down because of little cooperation from provincial government, pointing to the delay in completion of the railway line to Jaffna. Attributing it to inadequate action by the NPC — clearing squatters and making certain roads available for the project — Mr. Rajapaksa said “We are willing to work with them if they work with us.”

The Jaffna railway station is scheduled to be opened on October 13 by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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