The Sunday Leader

‘Let Us Solve Our Problems On Our Own’

Economic Development Minister
Basil Rajapaksa calls
upon Tamils

The Following article is based on the speech Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa madelast Friday(29) winding up the budget debate.

Democracy is not only elections. We wanted rebuild pubic organisations and restore stability. We held the Eastern Provincial Council elections in 2011. We know that the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) won many seats in that election. After liberating the country in 2009 we held two local government elections. We won those elections. If we held the Northern Provincial Council election at the same time we could have won it. We were able to hold elections on March 17 and July 23, 2011. The efforts taken to give people of the North not only development but also peace and democracy should be appreciated.

It is only we who can solve the ethnic issue. This is our country’s problem. It is a national problem. Foreigners have no feelings for us. I know that if they wanted they could have intervened in our crisis. But they had no interest to do so. Some countries wanted us to kill Prabhakaran for their own purposes – not in the people’s interest. Now they are shedding crocodile tears.

I appeal to the Tamil people and TNA let us, being citizens of this country, solve the problem on our own. We treat all people of this country equally. Hence let us consider this our problem which we have to solve it on our own.

When the President assumed duties it was two years and right months since peace talks had stopped. By that time 3423 ceasefire violations had been reported. The LTTE had recruited 1,788 child soldiers. Despite concessions given to the LTTE it had killed 93 military personnel. The President came to power when the Tigers were continuing their terrorist acts nonstop. Prabhakaran delivering his ‘Heroes Day’ speech said: “Mahinda Rajapaksa is a novice. Hence we are giving him time till January 1st to resume peace talks. If talks are not resumed we will be compelled to return to war.”

Despite that assurance, the LTTE – several days later – killed seven armed forces members by exploding a claymore mine at Kondavil. The President had stated in Mahinda Chinthana that his aim was to reach a peaceful political settlement that would give maximum power to the people. Although others did not state in their election manifestos that they would sign peace agreements with the LTTE, the President told the people, “while the above measures are being taken, I will start direct talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and I intend to meet their leader for that purpose.”

Since the President wanted to resolve the issue peacefully he invited the LTTE through the Peace Secretariat for peace talks. Having invited thus, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, representing the Government had talks with the LTTE on this matter in Norway. In fact the Government at that time expected to arrive at a peaceful settlement and therefore signed an agreement on February 22 and 23, 2006 to reach some agreement. What happened instead was on that very day the LTTE started to attack relentlessly.
They closed the Mavilaru sluice and violated the human rights of 15,000 families by depriving them of drinking water. At that time water was being supplied from Marvil Aru to all three communities – Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims. The situation compelled the President to dispatch troops to open the sluice to restore the rights of the affected people. Even while taking this action the President tried his best to reach a peaceful settlement. This is why we sent our team to Norway on October 28, 29, 2006 to hoping to achieve that objective.

While this humanitarian operation was continuing there was an attempt in Parliament in 2007 to defeat our Government. The objective of this was to topple our Government through the budget, stop the humanitarian operation and cooperate with the LTTE indirectly. But because of the assistance that some UNP Parliamentarians gave us at the time, we were able to crush that attempt and continuing the war against the LTTE until it was defeated.

We were able to protect as far as possible the people who came to Government-controlled territory and settle them in the right places. In fact resettlement started in early 2006. Among the first who were displaced by the war were about 45,000 Muslims in Mutur. They were resettled within a short period of 40 days. From then onwards we were able to continue the resettlement process in areas like Kebithigollewa and Serunuwara to resettle displaced Sinhala people. During that period were able to resettle hundreds and thousands of people in the East. We resettled them only after repairing roads, cleaning drinking water wells, repairing schools, main hospitals, agrarian service offices, divisional secretariats, establishing banks and supplying electricity wherever possible. Resettlement was rapid and by now we have resettled 151,445 families (500,757 individuals) in the North. The success of this resettlement programme is today accepted by the entire international community.

We have invested a large amount of money to develop agriculture in the North. We made it possible to cultivate 183299 acres during the Maha season alone during 2011-2012. Prior to that only 22339 acres were cultivated in the entire North. The rest had become fallowed.

Four hundred and ninety four small scale irrigation channels, tanks and reservoirs have been built in Northern districts. Of these 391 are in Kilinochchi, 372 in Mannar, 167 in Mullaitivu and 642 in Vavuniya.

Also 34 projects to prevent the seepage of saltwater, four lagoons and a drainage system have been modernised. A large of more tanks (62 tank reservoirs) belonging to the Provincial Council were modernised in 2012 to supply water for cultivation during the Yala season. This made it possible to cultivate 103331 acres. In this a connection a total of Rs. 4524 million were spent on irrigation channels in each district of the North. Of this amount 2800 million was spent under the Conflict-Affected Northen Region Emergency Project, 1386 million under the Emergency Northern Recovery Project, 368 million under the Re-awakening Project, 153 million under NECORD and 536 under the PEACE Project.

Fisheries production in the North shows a record increase. Today it has passed the 1983 target. I can proudly state that fishermen of the North are today producing 11 percent of Sri Lanka’s fisheries products. In 2005 only four percent was produced. We have invested Rs.11730 million on the industry and Rs. 360 million more on the fresh water fisheries industry. Accordingly fresh water fisheries industry in the North improved by 157 percent.

We also handed over to farmers 296930 heads of cattle which gone astray in the wilds. Nestle and Milco companies obtain 40 percent of their milk from the North. We also gave farmers 20909 buffalos with the help of the armed forces. We have provided relief to around 800,000 people in the North and the East under the Divi Neguma Programme.
It is necessary to mention the loans given to farmers in the North during the various seasons without considering the non-payment of loans given earlier.

These loans were given through our banks. They were given only for paddy cultivation. Through banks in the North Rs. 10798 was given to 101342 people in these areas.
We have spent 76467 million US dollars during 2009-2011 for repairing destroyed bridges and road development in the North. It means an expenditure of Rs. 76 billion. All road construction has been completed by now. The repaired bridges include the Sangupiti, Aarukku and Mannar bridges. Also construction in Kankesanturai-Palai, Omanthai and Medawachchchiya-Madu roads have been done with loans obtained for the purpose. The stretch of 43 KM on the Medawachchiya-Madu Road has now been opened for traffic. The 90 KM-long Omantha-Kilinochchi Road too is open. Construction work on the 56 KM Palai-Kankesanturai is now underway and is due to be opened soon. Work on the 63 KM Madu-Talaimannar Road will also be completed before long. A loan of 850 US dollars has been obtained for the purpose.

Building the 850 metre-long runway of the Palaly Airport has been completed. It is the first stage of the Palaly Airport Development project for which investments have already been made. Work on the second and third stage is now in progress. Also construction work on the Kankesanturai harbour has begun. The vessels sunk by the LTTE there have now been removed, making it possible for ships to enter the harbour. Broadcasting services have resumed following the reconstruction of the Kokavil transmission tower which the terrorists destroyed.

The Economic Development Ministry invested a massive amount in the North during 2009-2011. The amount spent on resettlement and houses Rs.7075 million, on irrigation channels Rs. 2750, on major irrigation channels Rs. 5247 million, on social infrastructure, education and health Rs.2611 million, livelihood programmes Rs.686 million, poverty alleviation Rs. 15270 million and skills development 323 million. During this period Rs. 33962 million was spent on building Dvisional Secretariat and other Government institutions.

During the past 30 years all democratic and people’s institutions in the North had been destroyed. Not only people’s representatives but also the cooperative movement had been destroyed. Farmers’ organisations had been destroyed. School development associations were destroyed. There was no freedom to activate any public organisation. The MPSs who travel to the North today had no way of going there at the time. People in the North know it. Cameron who is scared to travel to Northern Ireland in his own country can travel without fear to the North of Sri Lanka.

6 Comments for “‘Let Us Solve Our Problems On Our Own’”

  1. Gota the hero

    Firstly you need to get an education. Grade 2 does not qualify you as a minister. Once you have at least A/L with 2 passes, then you need to contest and get elected. Then you need to be on the winning side to become a minister. Without all of this, how did you become a minister? Also this useless fellow wants to solve problems with the Tamils, how is he going to do that? By beating and murdering the Tamils into submission. This is why the Tamils are going out of the country to get help. This also gives enough firepower to the damn LTTE rump.

  2. Namal Perera

    Certainly we can solve our own problems, but we should turn the corrupt lawless Banana Republic with Jungle Law that currently serve and protect only criminals back to former Democratic Sri Lanka. As we all know the majority citizens of this Nation has no rights at all and they live in fear. Any one who oppose, expose or stand up against the corrupt Regime will be erased. Under such conditions how can we solve our problems? God save former Democratic Sri Lanka.

  3. ranjit demel

    the tamils do know what you have stated.the majority of s.l.ans are not treated equally,wheather sinhale,tamil or muslim,but the tamils,as nationalists,wants a Dravidian state,namely the Dravidian state of tamil eelam.a part of s.l.,namely the n.p. and the e.p. together with tamil nadu would be the big tamil eelam state of the dravidians,according to the mindset of the tamilnadu politicansand,the tamil diaspora.certain developed countries,specially usa and England,would help,to form this state, to breakup india.ofcourse in this state the upper class tamils can exploite the low cast tamils and keep them slaves,and the western developed countries, would say this is real democracy.all tamils would be happy,because this is the wish of their powerfull gods.i was till recently,for a federal setup,as devolution of power,but today i say the army should not be moved out,and no land rights.police power could be given. ranjit demel berlin colombo

  4. Christy

    Well said,” lets solve our problems on our own” with roses and without staring down the barrel of a gun. The country needs peace. The war is long over,hence disband and withdraw the army and strive for peace.

  5. Naren

    You had fifty years to sort out the problem.

  6. cindymontrose

    But when

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