declaration proclaims advent of Muslim thesam
D. B. S. Jeyaraj
politics in this country underwent a defining moment on January 29
this year. Around 30 to 35, 000 Muslim people mainly consisting of
undergraduates, teachers and Moulavis - were involved in an impressive
demonstration at Oluvil in the Amparai District of the Eastern Province.
It was organised as a student demonstration upsurge (Maanavar Samuga
Eluchchip Perani) with the student body of the predominantly Muslim
South Eastern University taking the lead. While the bulk of participants
were from the Muslim coastal regions of the Amparai District, a sizeable
number did come from Muslim areas in other parts of the country too.
Muslim majority areas in the east bore a festive air with green (the
Muslim colour) decorations in abundance. All businesses, schools,
offices, banks, transport, etc., came to a halt in the Muslim areas. The
mood was militantly buoyant. Two processions commenced from Palamunai
and Attappalam around 9 a.m. Cries of "Allaho Akbar" (God is
Great) rent the air. The processions converged in front of the
university at Oluvil at about 10.30 a.m. Thereafter, a mass rally was
held. Very important resolutions were passed unanimously. Unified
political demands were raised. The essence of these demands were
codified as part of a public proclamation to be known hereafter as the
quintessence of the Oluvil Declaration outlines five assertive
principles. Firstly, it emphasises that the Muslims of the north - east
are a separate nationality or nation with its distinct identity of
religion and culture; Secondly, the north - east is the traditional
homeland of the Muslims; Thirdly, the north - eastern Muslims have the
right of self-determination to charter their own destiny; Fourthly,
Muslims must be guaranteed an autonomous, self-governing political unit
linking all Muslim majority areas of the north and east; Fifthly, the
social, economic, political and cultural rights of fellow Muslims living
in a scattered state in areas outside the north - east must be ensured.
Oluvil Declaration also proclaimed five demands requiring immediate
redress. One - Muslim autonomy must be ensured in any federal solution;
Two - Muslims are entitled to their equitable share in all resources for
development. Three - The Muslim political leadership must unite. Four -
Muslims must be represented as a separate entity at peace talks. Five -
The final political settlement must have the consent of the Muslims.
highlight of the Oluvil Declaration was that Muslims being a distinct
nationality living in an identifiable homeland were entitled to
self-determination. This right was to be exercised in the form of
self-rule for Muslim majority areas in the north - east. This unit was
described as a "Muslim Thesam" or Muslim country.
expected, Eastern Tamil sentiments were troubled by the Oluvil
demonstration and declaration very much akin to the series of
'Pongu Thamil' (Tamil upsurge) demonstrations organised by the
Tamil students in various parts of the north - east. These
demonstrations stressing "Samaadhaanam" (peace) and "Suyanirnayam"
(self-determination) had a profound impact in influencing the course of
Tamil politics in recent times. Likewise, the Muslim demonstration too
is of tremendous importance.
Sinhala hawks as usual responded in confusion. The Muslim demand for a
'Muslim Thesam' on the basis of nationality, homeland and
self-determination was welcome as far as it undermined or thwarted Tamil
aspirations. The notion of each ethnicity asserting its exclusivity and
demanding separate arrangements was worrisome. The concept of a
territorially non-contiguous devolution unit was upsetting because once
accepted, the same principle could be applied in the south too with
other communities clamouring for it as well.
response to the Oluvil Declaration was to treat it lightly as just one
more event of little political significance. Interestingly, a Tamil
newspaper had a piece on it with the opening paragraph emphasising that
the 'Muslim Thesam' proclamation will not have any political impact
whatsoever. This appeared to be wishful thinking and reminded one of the
apathy and antipathy shown by the Sinhala polity towards the Tamils when
they first began mobilising on the basis of self-determination.
Oluvil Declaration evokes a strong sense of deja vu with the Tamil
United Liberation Front's (TULF) Vaddukkoddai declaration of May 14,
1976, which demanded a sovereign, socialist and secular state of Tamil
Eelam for the north - eastern Tamils. The Oluvil Declaration however,
differs from Vaddukkoddai in three important respects. Territorially,
the Muslims do not demand the entire north - east as one unit, but only
want Muslim areas to be linked together. More importantly, unlike Tamil
Eelam, the Muslim Thesam demand is not secessionary. It is a demand for
an autonomous self-governing unit of devolution within the north - east.
Thirdly, the Oluvil declaration has not been formulated by acknowledged
political parties, but by committed student and youth activists.
third point is crucial here. The Oluvil Declaration is primarily the
handywork of students, youths and younger intelligentsia among Muslims.
Established Muslim politicians may have been helpful in the background,
but have certainly not hogged the limelight. So there is a legitimate
poser here. What level of importance should one attach to this
demonstration and declaration? Is this a mere student sideshow without
any real impact?
answer to that in simple terms is don't underestimate or underrate it.
Its importance and significance will grow in time to come. The younger
Muslim generation possessing a degree of idealism lacking in the elder
politicians have taken the lead. Helped no doubt by the intellectual
resources available at the South - Eastern University a political
programme has been evolved. A concrete form has been given to the vague
demands articulated by different shades of Muslim political opinion
before. What will therefore happen is that all Eastern Muslim leaders
and any future aspirants to leadership will follow the parameters set by
the Oluvil Declaration. A broad political agenda has been set. Perhaps
to fill the vacuum
Muslim youths have been compelled to fill a vacuum because Muslim
political leaders are hopelessly divided and shamelessly fragmented. The
on going peace talks are aimed at re-structuring the country. The
objective is equitable power sharing for all communities in a united and
undivided Sri Lanka. Past exercises of this type have excluded the
Muslim community. So a unified and powerful Muslim voice is necessary at
this juncture. Unfortunately, the leadership of Rauf Hakeem was weakened
at a time when the community should have rallied strongly behind him.
aspirations, particularly those of the north - east were raised to a
high level by the advent of M. H. M. Ashraff and the rise of the Sri
Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). In the aftermath of his demise, these
aspirations remain unfulfilled. In recent times, a strong element of
grievance has been added. Muslim insecurity in the face of perceived
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ascendancy in the east is a
crucial factor in the post-ceasefire scenario. The problem has been
further compounded by the divisions within the Muslim community
particularly the SLMC.
the position of Rauf Hakeem as the Muslim 'thesiya thalaiver' (national
leader) is very much eroded. The SLMC has fragmented into four factions.
Hakeem along with Basheer Segu Dawood and Thowfeek lead the main SLMC;
A. H. M. Athaullah, Hafrath and Mohideen Abdul Cader lead a strong
dissident group; Anver Ismail and Haris form a third group seemingly
independent of both Hakeem and Athaullah. There is a fourth SLMC faction
now known as the National Unity Alliance (NUA) comprising Ferial Ashraff,
Hizbullah and Segu Issadeen. In addition, there are the PA Muslim
sections with people like Najib Abdul Majeed and UNP Muslims like Ali
Zaheer Moulana, Myown Mustapha, Sinna Maharoof, etc.
lack of unity is definitely a great setback for Muslims at this
juncture. This is the time when the Muslims need to unite and make their
impact at the peace talks. Sadly, the SLMC is undergoing divisive
convulsions. Hakeem's leadership and political clout is severely
undermined. The Oluvil Declaration has taken due note of this and
prioritises the unity of Muslim political leaders. There is no doubt
that in the weeks to come, this question will receive full attention.
underlying regional consciousness as articulated in the Oluvil
Declaration makes one wonder whether the north - eastern Muslims will in
the future accept leadership from outside. At the same time, the quality
of prevailing north - eastern leaders leave much to be desired. While
each of them is a lion in their parochial den, none seem acceptable at a
wider level like Ashraff. Despite shortcomings, Rauf Hakeem stands head
and shoulders above other eastern leaders. Yet, it seems an uphill task
for Hakeem, a Central Province Muslim, to establish authoritative
leadership over the north - east. This applies to Ferial Ashraff too.
the other hand, it is unlikely that Muslims of the Central, Western and
Southern Provinces will accept overall leaders to emerge from the north
- east. Although feelings of brotherhood and fraternity were expressed
at Oluvil, we may be very well seeing the beginning of a divide between
the Muslims of the Tamil and Sinhala regions. It is also useful to
recall some comments made by Professor Emeritus Karthigesu Sivathamby in
a recent newspaper interview where he pinpointed the "drift"
between Sinhala educated Muslims of the south and Tamil educated north -
mood in Oluvil was for a distinct north - East consciousness. Moreover,
the Muslim claim of a traditional homeland, nationhood and
self-determination in the north - east will be de-legitimised greatly if
the emphasis is on an all island identity as opposed to a regional one.
that context, it is difficult to envisage overwhelming support for the
'Muslim Thesam' concept among non-north-eastern Muslims. They would be
broadly supportive, but with some exceptions, will not plunge in
zestfully on this. It would be something of the approach up country
Tamils displayed towards the Tamil Eelam demand of the Sri Lankan
Tamils. If the north - eastern Tamils oppose these demands, then the
southern Muslims are likely to pay more than lip service to this
position. On the other hand, the southern Muslims will not be
enthusiastic if the Sinhala majority in the south opposes it. The
silence then could be deafening.
to the fore
the growing disillusionment with Muslim political leaders, there is an
increasing feeling that the Muslim intelligentsia should take up the
mantle of leadership particularly at negotiations. This feeling was
acknowledged to some extent by Hakeem when he was accompanied by some
Muslim intellectuals at the last round of talks. Anti-Hakeem dissidents
however, want Hakeem to be replaced by a team of intellectuals. This
seems rather improbable. Nevertheless, the initiative displayed by
Muslim youths and students shows that a 'new' leadership could very well
new leadership could at the early stages play a supplementary role to
the existing hierarchy. It could soon seek to replace and even eliminate
the old leadership. A repetition of what transpired in Tamil politics
could happen here without the scale of violence. The recent leadership
squabbles have undermined the image of most Muslim leaders. If the
Muslim youths could project an image of selfless, dedicated service,
they could very well become the new leaders. The appeal of the Muslim
cause against the backdrop of LTTE politics is very high to Muslim
masses. Muslim youths could ride the crest of a wave.
similar situation prevailed in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Assam
at different times. Youths were at the forefront in Tamil Nadu during
the 'anti-Hindu' agitation of 1965. The DMK cleverly cooped the youth
movement within its ranks and subsumed it. Thus, the DMK with a generous
proportion of erstwhile student leaders, swept the polls in 1967. In
Assam, the students were in the vanguard of 'anti-foreigner' agitation
in the '80s. The student movement assumed a greater political role and
evolved into a political party, Gana Parishad which won conclusively in
1985. In that context, the future of youth power demonstrated at Oluvil
could either be harnessed by the SLMC or take a more decisive
course Muslim politics may take in the future, the Oluvil Declaration
unambiguously proves that Tamil - Muslim relations have hit an all time
low. If the Tamil assertion of identity was against perceived Sinhala
hegemony, the Muslim assertion is against perceived Tamil domination.
The long cherished Tamil political goal of a north - eastern unit faces
the danger of being undermined. Moreover, Sinhala supremacists will
exploit these sentiments further. The situation is quite explosive.
claiming to represent Tamils must act with great tact and understanding.
The justice of the Muslim cause has to be recognised and accepted. The
problem should be approached in a spirit of goodwill and amity seeking a
compromise between two 'rights' rather than between 'right and wrong.'
Equitable arrangements for sharing power and resources should be
evolved. Appropriate devolutionary models should be examined. If Tamils
require 'autonomy' for the north - east vis a vis Colombo, the Muslims
need 'autonomy' for the south - east vis a vis Jaffna. A confrontational
mode should be abandoned and the issue must be addressed through
dialogue and discussion. The conduct of the LTTE, the self-styled 'sole'
representatives in the sphere of Tamil - Muslim relations has been found
wanting in the past. Hopefully, the Tigers may handle the issue
efficiently and equitably in the future.
Oluvil Declaration demonstrates clearly that the north - eastern Muslims
have reached a significant milepost in their political evolution. The
massive anti-standardisation demonstration in Jaffna by students in 1970
was the forerunner of emerging Tamil youth power. Radicalisation of
Tamil politics began then and the process is yet to cease. Likewise, the
Oluvil demonstration and declaration is a watershed in Muslim politics.
The Muslim body politic in the north - east will never be the same
the past couple of decades, one of the most dynamic fields of inquiry
within academic circles has been the study of women. While this may
sound pejorative; and pose the question as to whether women are yet
again, both as a sex and a gender, being objectified or in this instance
'subjectified,' it cannot be denied that we need to study ourselves
first before we can presume to understand or change our situations. This
means discovering ourselves as women - something that has not been done
before in academia.
termed 'Women's Studies' or 'Gender Studies' or sometimes, even
'Feminist Studies,' the academic discipline of feminism has been
established in many universities worldwide. While the different
theoretical perspectives and ideological standpoints of feminism may
deign as to what exactly a course of study is named, virtually all
courses investigate both women and the world around us with the
underlying consciousness that women are oppressed.
invariably, the subject matter of women's studies is women - whether it
is the action and agency of women, the position of women in a particular
context or the representation of women in various ideological systems,
or the effects on or responses of women to certain experiences, or the
investigation of women's psychical or bodily constitutions etc.
Sometimes, the focus of attention may isolate women while at other
times, women may be looked at in relation to men - especially if the
angle of inquiry is based on gender.
apart from the content being centered on women, women's studies
programmes apply/portray feminist analysis when 'looking at' what women
peasants were doing in 6th century China or how World War II affected
middle class women in America or the implications of gender roles in
accessing agricultural extension schemes in Sri Lanka, or the
representation of women in European pornography, or the biases in the
Roman Dutch law systems that prevent women from obtaining justice, or
the sexual politics of contraception in Singapore, or the gender base of
the English language etc, etc, etc,.
above examples make it clear that women's studies spans a large number
of disciplines - from politics to health, from the arts to education,
from sociology to the media, from development studies to psychoanalysis.
A typical syllabus or module of a women's studies programme will include
components such as women's history (or 'herstory'), feminist theory,
women's education, women/gender in development studies, the cultural
representation of women, women and the law, social theory vis a vis
women, and so on.
this context, the study of women is centered on the following premises.
Number one is the recognition of the basic biological difference as well
as gender (sociological) differences between women and men, and
consequently, that the life experiences of men and women are different.
Two - is the acknowledgment that the existing bodies of knowledge and
epistemology do not always, if ever, encompass women. Three - is the
identification that virtually all branches of mainstream learning are
centered on men and are traditionally from the perspective of men
(though individual women writers and scholars have been trying to
rectify this anomaly on and off throughout the ages). Four - is that if
women are to ever gain control of their lives and become as powerful as
men in their societies, then their lives need to be researched, analysed,
documented, recorded, valued and legitimised.
means that women's interests and needs, their experiences and their
overall contributions to societies, workplaces, and families need to be
made visible and valued for their own sake. Since there are marked gaps
as to what is considered worth studying/researching, women researchers
have had to revise the valuations that are generally applied in
mainstream academic circles. More often than not, women as individuals,
women's work and activities, roles and responsibilities in the family
and the community, along with their contributions to history, culture,
and politics are overlooked, undervalued, denigrated and exploited.
women and their issues in feminist research is a means of creating space
for women, in a context where there has hitherto existed a critical gap
in academia. Mainstreaming women and the implications of gender as
serious issues also provide validity and visibility to women. And, it is
worth noting that feminist researchers and women's studies projects have
had to employ new and innovative techniques in order to depict the
issues concerned; which have resulted in the revolutionising research
methodology and pedagogy.
one of the most exciting contributions made by women's research have
been in the field of history/literature, where women have unearthed
worldwide (from archives, libraries, old bookshops etc.) a large corps
of women writing on a wide variety of topics. Feminist research has
focused attention on these women writers and established a tradition of
writing by women (especially in the sphere of English literature). Thus,
women's studies have served to incorporate lost bodies of work to
academia and critical scrutiny.
from this, feminist methodologies also involve the utilisation of a
large variety of research sources - sometimes those that are more often
than not disregarded by 'scientific' researchers. These are as divergent
and range from oral histories of women to women's diaries, from the
traditions of folklore to women's tales - both as sources and as focus
has also been a common tendency in feminist research to appreciate
qualitative research techniques as being better able to capture the
intricacies and depth of what is being scrutinised. These include
participant observation and even participatory contributions to research
as well as the problematisation of the researcher or ethnographer's
standpoint vis a vis the research study. The investigator's own
reactions to and reflections on the on-going research may also be
recorded on occasion. The criteria of objectivity that has been the
cornerstone of science and the acquisition of knowledge for centuries
(ever since the Enlightment movement in Europe) is critiqued by
feminists as a deeply flawed myth because the researcher her/himself
cannot be divorced from his or her standing in cultural ideology,
psychological conditioning, political bent, historical-time and so on.
however, there is a move towards combining qualitative research methods
with quantitative ones which require a larger database, in order to
enhance the representation of causal relationships as well as for its
political impact. Often research is action-oriented in the sense there
is a direct linkage between the content of study and the expected policy
or action required in order to satisfy the transformational aims of
noted earlier, women's studies have served to revolutionise
methodologies of research and academic study, and also transformed
pedagogy in enlivening ways. Teaching methods that depart from
traditional examinations schemes which are highly competitive, and which
set up students against one another are replaced by assessments, which
are focused on measuring the student's own individual growth. Deeper
student/teacher bonding is encouraged - often moving beyond the walls of
the lecture rooms to informal discussions and social interactions.
Thereby creating an overall atmosphere of communal learning and mutual
growth that is hoped to dissuade rivalry, isolation, and plagiarism.
assignments that include excursions and field activity, interviews and
presentations, classroom exercises and experimentations further augment
the multidisciplinary nature of women's studies.
women's studies have become one of the most dynamic academic fields of
study. Those of us that are feminists at heart and who have also had the
opportunity to follow a course in women's studies know that the
experience not only empowers a woman as an individual, but also as a
scholar that is unprejudiced, receptive, motivated and conversant with
many other subjects as well.
from which, most branches of learning have also benefited from the
inputs of feminist theory and practice in academia. It is quite common
now to find the inclusion of a component of gender or women's interests
in disciplines such as sociology, mass media, literature, archeology,
philosophy, history, development or peace or cultural studies etc.
However, there is still a long way to go - in terms of mainstreaming
women or an awareness of gender - into all aspects of a discipline so
that it would become common practice to study this half of the world
population as the norm.
feminists, the fundamental act towards promoting change is seen as
consciousness-raising - and the establishment of women's studies in
academia has clearly served to legitimise the cause of women.
of war over on-line lottery
President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Minister Ravi Karunanayake have opposed the setting up of an on-line
lottery with Norwegian assistance. The proposal was made by Economic
Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda who also submitted a cabinet
memorandum in this regard.
President Kumaratunga has raised concerns over the livelihood of those
dependent on the present lottery system, Karunanayake's concerns vary
from transparency to the position of the existing Mahapola scholarship
scheme. This development saw Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
quipping in cabinet the previous week that the President and Minister
Karunanayake have for the first time agreed on an issue, prompting a
riposte from the President that she would then change her mind
reproduce below the three cabinet papers in full.
Ministry of Economic Reform, Science & Technology
assistance to set up an on-line lottery project in Sri Lanka
is proposed to set up a scholarship fund to provide scholarships to
needy students in the country through an innovative lottery project. In
this regard, I have had discussions with Norwegian authorities who have
confirmed that Norwegian State Education Loan Fund would find ways to
assist the proposed scholarship fund in Sri Lanka by introducing an
Norwegian National Lottery (NORSK TIPPING) which is owned by the
government of Norway has agreed to contribute know-how and technology in
setting up of such a lottery in Sri Lanka on an agreed formula. This
project aims to achieve two objectives, i.e. introducing high tech
infrastructure and providing educational opportunities for needy
setting up of the proposed lottery will be on government to government
basis, approval of the cabinet of ministers is sought:
To set up an on-line lottery project under National Lotteries Board (NLB)
for the above purpose.
To appoint a committee consisting of the following officers to negotiate
terms and condition with NORSK TIPPING Norwegian Lottery and make
S. B. Divaratne
Deputy Secretary to the Treasury
- Secretary, Ministry of Economic Reform, Science &
-Secretary, Ministry of Eastern Development
for Economic Reform, Science & Technology
for Economic Reform, Science & Technology
of the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
of the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs on the Cabinet
Memorandum of 21st January 2003 by Hon. Minister of Economic Reform,
Science & Technology on Norwegian assistance to set up an on-line
lottery project in Sri Lanka
regards the Mahapola Trust Fund, at the beginning, the Mahapola Trust
Fund generated an income by conducting the Mahapola Higher Education
Lottery, which was suspended when it started to receive the profits of
its investment in the Development Lottery. Moreover, the establishment
of an on-line lottery in addition to the Development Lottery for similar
purposes will only lead to a reduction in the income of the Mahapola
Trust Fund, which is now well established and is a national programme.
there is already a government proposal to privatise the National
Lotteries Board, in respect of which offers have already been called
for, establishment of an on-line lottery project in Sri Lanka with
Norwegian assistance will not be consistent with the policy of
privatisation of the National Lotteries Board based on competitive bids.
Moreover, as there is already provision in the privatisation proposal
for the successful bidders to operate an on-line lottery project within
the National Lotteries Board itself, a separate on-line lottery project
with Norwegian assistance will conflict with the privatisation process.
to the privatisation proposal, the successful applicant should make an
up-front payment of Rs. 3 billion and a specific amount per year for the
leasing rights to operate the lotteries, which include an on-line
lottery as well. Grant of approval to set up an on-line lottery with
Norwegian assistance separately outside the process of privatisation
will not be definitely transparent. If this proposal is accepted, the
entire process of privatisation will be jeopardised.
provision in the cabinet memorandum to the effect that the appropriate
Norwegian Government Lottery Organisation has agreed to contribute
know-how and technology in the setting up of an on-line lottery in Sri
Lanka on an "agreed formula" is not clear and the salient
features and the details of this formula have not been spelt out at all
in the memorandum.
major objection to the proposal is that it offends all principles of
transparency and integrity of the government. Since we will be bypassing
open advertisement and tender procedure where any interested and
experienced party can apply as was done recently by the National
view of above vital considerations, it is my well considered view that
the proposal to set up an on-line lottery project with Norwegian
assistance is not acceptable due to its adverse implication for the
Mahapola Trust Fund and also from the national perspective of
privatisation of the National Lotteries Board.
of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Observations of the President
assistance to set up an on-line lottery project in Sri Lanka
has been sought in this memorandum dated 21 January, 2003
submitted by the Ministry of Economic Reform and Technology
Science to set up a lottery with Norwegian assistance, with the
objectives of introducing high-tech and providing educational
opportunities to needy students; and, to appoint a negotiating
committee for the purpose.
have no objection in principle to setting up an on-line lottery,
as new technological innovations have to come to this industry
also, eventually. However, in doing so, it has to be ensured that
the thousands of persons who now depend for their livelihood on
present lotteries run by the National Lotteries Board, are not
adversely affected by this move. Further, this should in no way
diminish the assistance provided by these lotteries to the
President's Fund and, through it, to the Mahapola Scholarship
for providing educational opportunities to needy students, it has
to be borne in mind that already there are several such schemes
operated by the funds referred to above and other state
programmes. The present proposal should neither dilute such
schemes nor confuse matters by having yet another scheme. In fact,
there must be proper coordination between these scholarship
schemes, preferably under a single authority.
have no objection to the composition of the negotiating committee
proposed in the memorandum.
leadership crisis in the Muslim congress
decisions of the party shall be made by the politbureau by consensus (Mashoora)
and such decisions shall bind all the members of the party ."
- 3.1 a SLMC Party Constitution
exceptional circumstances the leader of the party will be free to take
any decision notwithstanding anything contained in Article 3.1 a of the
- 3.3 c SLMC Party Constitution
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has been in the throes of a leadership
crisis for quite some time now. The current round of infighting has
seriously undermined the position of Rauf Hakeem as leader or thalaiver
of the party. Hakeem's ascension to the party leader post after the
demise of his leader and predecessor, M.H.M. Ashraff had never been easy
or undisputed. That process itself resulted in the SLMC being
fragmented. An anti-Hakeem group led by Ashraff's widow Ferial functions
outside the SLMC under the label of National Unity Alliance (NUA). The
SLMC itself is now trifurcated again in three broad factions.
the position of Rauf Hakeem as the Muslim "thesiya thalaiver"
(national leader) is very much eroded. The Muslim congress has
fragmented into four factions. Hakeem along with Basheer Segu Dawood and
"thideer" Thowfeek leads the main SLMC; A.H.M. Athaullah ,
Hazrath, Noordeen Mashoor and Mohideen Abdul Cader lead a strong
dissident group; Anver Ismail and Haris form a third group seemingly
independent of both Hakeem and Athaullah, but adopt a 'blow hot and
cold' attitude towards both.
fourth of course is the SLMC faction now known as NUA comprising Ferial
Ashraff, Hizbullah and Segu Issadeen. In addition there are the PA
Muslim sections with people like Najib Abdul Majeed and UNP Muslims like
Ali Zaheer Moulana, Myown Mustapha, Sinna Maharoof etc. Thus the Muslim
nationality renowned for core values such as fraternity and unity is
deeply divided on account of politics.
history of several democratic political parties both here and in India
are replete with instances of organisations splitting after their
founder or a very strong charismatic leader passes away. Dissidents
dissatisfied with the new leadership break away or remain as troublesome
groups within the party.
India the Indian National Congress broke up after Jawarhalal Nehru and
Lal Bahadur Shastri in Indira Gandhi's time. The anti-Indira
"Syndicate" Congress itself fragmented later. In Tamil Nadu
the Dravida Munnetra Kazgagham began breaking up after its founder C.N.
Annadurai died. His successor Muttuvel Karunanidhi was unpalatable to
Sri Lanka, the death of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike saw several factions
emerging as different parties or groups at the 1960 March polls. The
seemingly monolithic United National Party (UNP) cracked after the
colossus J.R. Jayewardene ceased to hold office. The Dissanayake -
Athulathmudali group was not prepared to toe Ranasinghe Premeadasa's
line. The Ceylon Workers Congress split after the plantation patriarch
Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman died. Arumugan's leadership was unacceptable to
that backdrop the crisis in the SLMC too could be regarded as
inevitable. The party is rooted in religion and has an overtly puritan
fervour "saithaan." Despite the abundant use of Islamic
imagery and symbolism in its functional discourse, the SLMC soon
succumbed to mammon and became a hotbed of byzantine intrigue.
SLMC was formally founded on September 11, 1981 in Kattankudi,
Batticaloa. The first leader was Ahmed Lebbe. Ashraff was his deputy.
Initially it was not active in electoral politics. That metamorphosis
took place five years later. It was at the famous "Badsha"
convention in Punchi Borella, Colombo, on November 26, 1986 that Ashraff
took over the leadership in a well planned manouevre. Pro-Ashraff
delegates from the Kalmunai, Pottuvil, Sammanthurai electorates were
transported enmasse to Colombo without other potential rivals suspecting
SLMC constitution was re-drafted; a major decision to contest elections
was taken. That dream was realised in 1988 when the SLMC was registered
as an approved political party and rendered eligible to contest
elections under the tree symbol. Thereafter the SLMC grew rapidly. Its
growth however was under Ashraff's larger than life personality, stature
and dynamism. It could be said that the party was moulded in his image.
The reference to Ashraff as thalaiver was truly resonant with the
was a complex and efficient leader with a strong authoritarian streak.
He was quite intolerant of any real or imaginary slights, Journalists
who displeased him were blackballed. Newspapers critical of him were
burnt by irate supporters. Anyone who crossed him in the party had to
quit. There was no choice. He also suppressed any sign of defiance or
dissent as soon as he detected it.
virtually dictatorial approach did not rely on charismatic appeal alone.
The SLMC constitution too provided for it by giving the leader special
powers. Despite the constitution providing for a consensual and
collective leadership in decision making, the overriding power in the
hands of the leader negated it.
decisions of the party shall be made by the politbureau by consensus (Mashoora)
and such decisions shall bind all the members of the party" (3.1 a
) of the SLMC party constitution said. But it also countermanded this by
another provision (3.3 c). "In exceptional circumstances the leader
of the party will be free to take any decision notwithstanding anything
contained in Article 3.1 a of the Constitution." These powers
extended to disciplinary action too, thus enabling the leader to expel
members if necessary.
ran the SLMC like a fiefdom. A rich Muslim Buhardeen Hadjiar was made a
national list MP over other deserving candidates in 1989. He was able to
appoint Asitha Perera, a Sinhalese as a national list MP in 1994.
was also able to discipline and even dispense with the services of other
leaders easily when required. Jaffna MP Dr. Illyas, Wanni MP S.M.
Aboobucker, National list MP M.M. Zuhair etc. were out in the cold at
the tail end of the 1994-2000 parliament. "Thoppi" Mohideen
though being an MP was humiliated beyond belief over a perceived mistake
and forced to apologise in a demeaning manner. At least two chairmen -
Usman and Segu Issadeen - though second in hierarchy (to the leader
alone) of the SLMC had to leave the party after falling out with Ashraff.
only person of repute to defy Ashraff and get away with it was Hisbullah
of Kattankudi. The 1989 election arrangement was for Hisbullah to resign
mid term and let Mohideen Abdul Cader be appointed. Hisbullah refused.
Abdul Cader left the party then only to return later and be MP again.
Ashraff was annoyed with Hisbullah again and initiated disciplinary
action. But Ashraff died soon after and the man from Kattankudi was let
off the hook.
Hakeem, an up and coming Muslim lawyer became Ashraff's prot‚g‚ in
the party. He was an able orator in all three languages. Hakeem also had
an excellent command of the Tamil language though not from the
north-east. Hakeem became Ashraff's favourite because of his ability,
inter-personal skills, religious fervour and also because of his non
eastern connections. Despite the Eastern Province being his stronghold,
the politically savvy Ashraff was not keen to promote an easterner who
could pose an early threat to his leadership. Besides Hakeem's
qualifications were outstanding when compared to the eastern bloc.
about 10 years younger to Ashraff was junior to the reputed legal eagle
Faiz Mustapha in Colombo when Ashraff was forced to leave Kalmunai in
the aftermath of the Tamil-Muslim violence of 1985. Ashraff stayed for a
while with Mustapha and it was then that the relationship with Hakeem
blossomed. Hakeem unlike many other Muslim leaders was not 'tainted'
with UNP or SLFP connections. He was captivated by Ashraff's messianic
zeal and became a total disciple. Hakeem however was in London studying
for his solicitors when Ashraff took over the SLMC at the 1986 Badsha
was made national list MP in 1994 and also chairman of committees. He
discharged his parliamentary duties with efficiency. Though K. B.
Ratnayake was speaker and Anil Moonesenghe his deputy it was often
Hakeem's lot to preside at sensitive sessions of parliament. He came off
with flying colours. Hakeem also was SLMC secretary. The Ashraff-Hakeem
duo - bridging the east-west divide - was a winning combination. The
party grew in all parts of the island.
confident did Ashraff become that he formed the National Unity Alliance.
This was an umbrella organisation catering to all ethnicities. The SLMC
was transcending ethnic politics of a particular flavour. Ashraff
realised that a Muslim only party was limited to that community votes
alone. A multi-ethnic party in which the SLMC was pivotal could fare
better. Given the proportionate representation system and the
heterogenous composition of the east , Colombo and Wanni the NUA could
do very well indeed it was felt. It was at this point when Ashraff was
transforming into a national leader from a communal one that tragedy
struck in the form of an air accident. Ashraff was killed leaving a
shattered party behind.
be continued in next issue
in golf course deal
report by the Committee of Inquiry on the Alienation of State Lands for
Special Projects has found the Finance Ministry under Chandrika
Kumaratunga deviating from the original approval granted in granting
concessions for an 18 hole golf course on 135 acres of land situated at
Diyawanna Uyana, Battaramulla.
of the project, Mr. and Mrs. Siva Selvaratnam and a Japanese Investor
named J. Yanugihira were
originally given the green light for this project by the BOI on June 5,
was alleged at the time that a multi million-rupee commission was paid
to Ronnie Peiris, a close associate of President Chandrika Kumaratunga
for having secured government approval to build this golf course,
houses, leisure center, and a public park at Diyawanna Uyana,
project did not get off the ground until last year when the new UNF
government decided to appoint a special committee to evaluate this
of six members representing the Ministry of Enterprise Development,
Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion, Ministry of Finance,
Attorney's General's Department, Land Commissioner's Department, Board
of Investment and a representative of the President, this committee met
on four occasions and questioned the relevant officers in the BOI,
Ministry of Lands, UDA and SLLRDC who dealt with the subject issues.
committee also probed the allocation of state land to Lifestyle Health
Services Private Limited.
committee has approved both projects but pointed out certain
discrepancies with regard to the golf course, which it states must be
taken into consideration.
instance, the committee found that a rental of 2% of the land value as
determined by the chief valuer and approved by cabinet in October 1997
for the golf course had been approved despite the fact that the 2%
rental could be offered only if the investment was more than Rs. 1000
million. At this point of time the project cost was only Rs. 510
lease agreement pertaining to this land was executed by the UDA and the
company in September 2000. The value placed on the property as per the
lease agreement was Rs. 300 million. The cabinet memo proposing the
grant of permission to build villas, residential service apartments on
the land and to permit the company to transfer the freehold title of the
relevant operations of land was submitted to the cabinet in January
2001. The changes as to the use of the land was at complete variance
with the assumptions made by the chief valuer.
a change would necessarily enhance the value of the entire property.
This was confirmed by the chief valuer when questioned by the committee.
regard to Lifestyles Health Service Private Limited the committee has
decided that since an outstanding payment on the lease agreement was
paid, this matter is now resolved and the project is free to proceed.
reproduce the report in full for the benefit of our readers.
of Committee of Inquiry on Alienation of State Lands for Special
The Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting held on 17th July 2002 decided
to appoint a committee of inquiry consisting of the following as
recommended by the Minister of Finance, to inquire and report on
"Alienation of State Lands for Special Projects -
Asia-Pacific Golf Course Limited - Project to construct and operate an
18 hole international standard golf course
Lifestyle Health Services (Pvt) Ltd - Lease of land at Kirimandala
A representative each from the
of Enterprise Development Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion
Attorney General's Department
Land Commissioner's Department
Board of Investment and
Secretary to the President or representative.
per the nominations received from the respective institutions, the
committee comprises of the following:
Ranjit Fernando - Secretary
Ministry of ED, IP & IP
Chitra Athurugiriya - Addl. Secretary Presidential Secretariat
Prasanna Goonetilleke - Senior State Counsel Attorney General's Dept.
R. Gooneratne Addl. Land Commissioner, Land Commissioner's Dept.
L. D. Dickman - Executive Director (RD & SP) Board of Investment of
R. M. Ratnayake - Addl.
Secretary Ministry of Finance.
The committee met on four occasions. During these meetings we had the
opportunity of questioning the relevant officers in the BOI, Ministry of
Lands, UDA and SLLRDC who dealt with the subject issues. The committee
also had the opportunity to peruse the relevant files of the BOI, UDA
Pacific Golf Course Limited (APGC)
Approval has been granted for the setting up of a 18 hole golf course on
an approximately 135 acre plot of land situated at Diyawanna Uyana,
Battaramulla owned by the UDA in response to an application dated 7th
April, 1997 received by the BOI.
The sponsors of the project were Mr & Mrs. Siva Selvaratnam and a
Japanese Investor named Mr J. Yanugihira. The BOI approval for the
project was conveyed to the sponsors by letter dated 5th of June 1997.
By letter dated 28th October, 1997 UDA has informed the sponsor,
with a copy to the BOI, that the land identified for the project could
be offered to APGC on lease and that a valuation of Rs. 300 million has
been placed on the land as per the chief valuer's valuation.
The investor by letter dated 3rd November, 1997 sought approval from the
BOI for the payment of the lease value on concessionary terms over a
lease period of 99 years.
The BOI operated a scheme which offered state land on a 99 year
lease with an annual rental equivalent to 4% of the value of land
provided the investment exceeded Rs.
500 million. If the investment was more than Rs. 1000 million (excluding
the value of land) the lease rental for the first five years was reduced
to 2% of the market value of the land. Thereafter it would be 4% of the
market value of the land. This scheme had been approved by the cabinet
of ministers at its meeting on 8th October, 1997 based on a cabinet
paper submitted by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Planning dated 22nd
The investment as per the original application submitted to the BOI was
Rs. 310 million. In order to qualify for the concessionary lease
rental, Phase 2 of
the project which involved the construction of villas, apartments,
resorts and cottage houses had been added resulting in the investment
increasing to Rs. 510 million. An amended application was submitted to
the BOI by the sponsors on 12th November, 1997.
The cabinet at its meeting held on 4th March, 1998 considered the
proposals set out in a cabinet memorandum submitted by the Hon. Minister
of Finance and Plan Implementation dated 9th February 1998 and decided
to grant a 99 year lease in respect of the said land on concessionary
The cabinet paper referred to in (vii) above proposed the grant of the
following concessions for the project.
A rental of 2% of the land value as determined by the chief valuer
during the first five years of the lease and 4% thereafter. (In terms of
the scheme approved by the cabinet in October 1997, the 2% rental could
be offered only if the investment was more than Rs. 1000 million. At
this point of time the project cost was only Rs. 510 million.)
The deduction of Rs. 90 million from the land value stipulated by the
chief valuer for the purpose of calculating the lease rental since only
40%-50% of the land could be used for the golf project and
investors had budgeted an additional expenditure to the tune of
Rs. 90-100 million towards construction related to flood protection in
conformity with UDA guidelines. (Please see Para xxiii (b)
The cabinet at its meeting held on 4th March 1998 approved the proposals
recommended in the cabinet paper dated 9th February 1998.
By letter dated 9th April 1998, the BOI conveyed its approval of the
amended proposal which included the construction of residential
flats/service apartments on private land adjacent to the land allocated
for the golf course project.
By letter dated 1st November 1998, the Chairman of APGC requested the
BOI to allow the company to construct residential/service apartments in
Phase 1 of the project itself on approximately one and half acres of
encumbered buildable high land included in the 136 acre land to be
leased for the project.
The BOI by letter dated 12th May 2002 addressed to the Sri Lanka Land
Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLR & DC) sought the views
of the latter on the technical matters raised by the developer viz. the
feasibility of constructing residential dwellings on stilts above the
flood water level and whether such construction would not have any
adverse implication or diminish the flood water detention and conveyance
capacity of the low lying area in question. The BOI letter also states
that the developers have requested that construction of residential
dwellings be allowed along the perimeter of the site to boost the
financial and technical feasibility of the project.
SLLR & DC by its letter dated 5th June 2002 informed the BOI that
the new proposal to construct residential dwellings on stilts on the
golf course site itself is acceptable to them in principle.
APGC by its letter dated June 14th 2000 addressed to the Chairman UDA
refers to a meeting held on 13th June 200 with the Chairman UDA,
Chairman BOI and officers of the SLLRDC and the understanding and
agreement reached at such meeting as follows:
construction of 100 golf holiday village villas on stilts, permitted to
be built on the demised property in compliance with SLLRDC
of the perimeter road leading to the villas to six meters.
residential dwellings to be granted freehold rights.
letter further states that "these additional requests have been
necessitated due to the deteriorating investment climate in the country
at present as opposed to what prevailed at the time when the project was
proposed originally in early 1997."
The UDA at its meeting held on 17th November 2000
had granted approval to allocate a further 85 acres of low lying
land inclusive of the 19.5 acre block of land originally allocated to
the Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha free of cost on the condition that such
land will be maintained by the company for public purposes at its own
cost as stipulated by the UDA. The UDA had also agreed to permit APGC to
sell the golf villas on stilts on a freehold basis. These proposals were
to be implemented with the approval of the Hon. Minister of Urban
Development, Construction and Public Utilities.
The Acting Chairman of the UDA by letter dated 28th November 2000
addressed to the Chairman, BOI stated that the UDA board felt that it
may be necessary to request the cabinet for covering approval to the
above decision. A draft cabinet paper had been attached to the letter.
The Hon. Minister for Urban Development, Construction and Public
Utilities by a cabinet memo dated January 18th 2001 concurring with the
decision of the UDA Board sought the approval of the cabinet for the
Release 84 acres 2 roods 39.1 perches on a 99 year lease, free of
charge, for the proposed flood detention arrangements with compatible
recreational uses subject to adherence of the EIA recommendation
including the approved storm water management plan and subject to the
condition that the play ground and the park should be made available to
the public after development in keeping with the decision of the UDA.
Permit the company to construct villas, apartments, resorts and cottage
houses and other related activities within the golf course site, and to
transfer the freehold title to buyers of villas and apartments upon
receipt of a 100% premium in value of the chief valuer's valuation for
the demised premises on a pro-rata basis for free hold areas in question
in one lump sum, or market value as may be determined by the cabinet,
from the APGC.
To revoke the decision of the cabinet of ministers dated 23/3/2000 for
the allocation of land in extent of 19 acres 1 rood and 2.56 perches to
Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha and to reimburse any expenditure incurred by
the latter for the development of the said land after recovering such
amount from APGC.
The cabinet of ministers at its meeting held on January 31st 2001
approved the recommendation made by the Hon. Minister of Urban
Development, Construction and Public Utilities. At a subsequent cabinet
meeting responding to a further cabinet paper submitted by the Minister
dated 29th June 2001, cabinet specifically approved the "100%
premium method" as the basis of recovery of the value of the
freehold land as proposed as one of the two alternatives set out in the
cabinet paper dated 18th January, 2001.
The chief valuer by his letter dated 28th August, 1997 addressed to the
UDA has communicated the valuation he placed on the property in extent
approximately 135 acres. In doing so, he states that the value of Rs.
300 million has been arrived at on the basis that the use of the land
will be restricted to its present state without being permitted to
develop same. He further sets out the assumptions made in arriving at
this value. These assumptions, set out below, are, apart from the third,
as per the terms of the assignment given to him by the UDA.
No permanent building or semi permanent building which will yield profit
or temporary building will be permitted to be built on this land, other
than a club-house.
No permission will be given to fill this land.
The land will be transferred to an investor as a single unit and that
the transferee will not re-transfer the said land in parcels to other
The lease agreement pertaining to this land was executed by the UDA and
the company in September 2000. The value placed on the property as per
the lease agreement was Rs. 300 million. The cabinet memo proposing the
grant of permission to build villas, residential service apartments on
the land and to permit the company to transfer the freehold title of the
relevant operations of land was submitted to the cabinet in January,
2001. The changes as to the use of the land was at complete variance
with the assumptions made by the chief valuer. Such a change would
necessarily enhance the value of the entire property. This was confirmed
by the chief valuer when questioned by the committee. The amendment made
to increase the price for the parcels of land for which freehold title
could be transferred by imposing a premium of 100% of the value placed
earlier (on a pro-rata basis) does not adequately reflect the enhanced
value of the entire property, once planning restrictions in respect of
constructing permanent structures and parceling and selling of the land
on a freehold basis was removed.
The committee questioned the chief valuer who stated that if the matter
was referred to him after the change of the above conditions, the
valuation of the land would have been materially higher.
The above facts indicated that several additional concessions have been
afforded to the project viz.
the lease rental for the first five years being only 2% although the
investment proposed at that time (4th March 1998) fell short of the Rs 1
billion stipulated in the cabinet approved scheme. Later by letter dated
23rd February 2001, the investor informed the BOI that the scope of the
project has changed and that the new investment cost is Rs. 1.96
The reduction of Rs. 90 million from the valuation on account of the
usable land being only 40%-50% of the full extent of the land although
such fact has been taken into account by the chief valuer in placing the
value of Rs. 300 million. The schedule to the lease agreement however
has been signed with the lease rental being calculated assuming the
value of land at Rs. 300 million. The UDA intends adjusting the lease
rental as and when expenditure is incurred by the company on flood
protection related structures.
The Rs. 300 million valuation has remained unchanged despite the fact
that the assumptions made in arriving at such valuation have
fundamentally changed thereafter. Further the extent of the land leased
is now firmed up at 141 acres. Thus the valuation of Rs. 300 million
which was made on an estimated extent of 135 acres needs to be unleased
Health Services (Pvt) Ltd.
The BOI received an application dated 8th December, 1998 for the
establishment of a Recreational Center for the provision of consultation
services, exercise facility, recuperative services, physical training
etc. The project was to be set up at No. 11, Flower Road Colombo -7 and
the initial investment was to be not less than Rs. 250,000. The BOI
approved the project and conveyed such approval by letter dated 6th
The Chairman BOI by letter dated 23rd February 2000, (more than a year
after the original approval) addressed to the Chairman UDA, has stated
that the sponsors have identified a two acre block of land at Lake Drive
and requested the UDA to allocate such land for the project on a 99 year
lease on concessionary terms.
On 10th March 2000, the sponsor has written to the Secretary, Ministry
of Housing and Urban Development seeking his intervention for acquiring
188 perches at the Lake Drive site for the project. The sponsor has also
written a letter on the same day to the Chairman BOI, stating his
requirement to be 188 perches and requesting the lease of such land on a
12% initial payment and 4% lease rental thereafter.
The Chairman BOI by letter dated 21st March 2000 has requested the SLLR
& DC to release the land on the following terms:
50 year lease
12% down payment
rent to be reviewed at five year
BOI Chairman has followed up on 31st March 2000
with a letter to the Chairman, SLLR&DC regretting the delay
in finalising the lease of the land, to which the latter replies by his
letter dated 3rd April, 2000 stating that the board of the SLLR&DC
has approved the allocation of land on 31st March, 2000.
The chief valuer by his letter dated 20th March, 2000 has valued the
property on the basis of a 99 year, 50 year and 30 year lease. These
values are stated to be Rs. 50 million, Rs. 42 million and Rs. 34.5
million respectively. The valuation also states that it has assumed that
the investor at his cost will have to obtain services such as water,
electricity, sewerage from the present point of availability.
The Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Construction by his
cabinet memorandum dated 3rd April 2000 recommended the allocation of
the land for this project on a 50 year lease with an up-front payment of
Rs. 6 million and thereafter a lease rental of Rs. 2 million per annum.
H. E. the President submitting her observations on the cabinet memo
referred to above, has pointed out that although the land has been
offered on a 50 year lease, the lease rental indicated in the cabinet
memo has been based on the 99 year valuation as determined by the chief
valuer. She therefore proposed that "as the lease rental has
already been based on a 99 year period and considering the importance of
the project, I suggest that the lease period should be for 99 years and
not 50 years."
Cabinet at its meeting of 7th April, 2000, approved the allocation of
land as proposed in the cabinet memo. The period of the lease was
however increased to 99 years.
The Chairman BOI in response to an inquiry from H. E. the President as
to whether the vesting of the land for the project can be made in favour
of the BOI and thereafter for the BOI to lease same to the investor,
points out that such a procedure would result in further delays. H. E.
the President by a minute dated 11th May, instructs the Consultant, BOI
to expedite the process by eliminating some of the steps outlined or by
By letter dated 15th May 2000, Senior Advisor of the BOI has written to
the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
proposing stating that since the land is not vested in the SLLRDC yet
and in order to minimise delays in implementing the project, that H. E.
the President has directed that the said lease to be effected by the
Land Commissioner's Department.
By letter dated 26th May, 200, H. E. the President has requested the
Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Lands to expedite the lease and that
the BOI would forward a note to the cabinet regarding the change of the
agency executing the lease agreement. The lease agreement has been
executed on 4th July, 2000. By letter dated 25th September 2000, the BOI
informs the Survey Department that the investor is unable to obtain the
assessment number for the premises since the access road identified as
Model Farm Road in the plan is non-existent. The BOI by letter dated
19/10/2000 informed the SLLR&DC that the blocking out plan for the
land in question has not been submitted to the Colombo Municipal Council
The BOI by letter dated 11th December 2000, has requested the sponsors
to pay the initial up-front payment of Rs. 6 million before 31st
December , 2000. The sponsor by letter dated 14th December points out
that although the lease was signed in July, no legitimate access to the
land has been given to them. He also refers to the dispute that had
arisen with shanty dwellers when the SLLR&DC removed the culvert
across the channel to alleviate flood situation. The SLLR & DC had
proposed the construction of a bridge to alleviate the problem which
construction has started in early December. He concludes by stating that
legal advise to him is that the up front payment should not be effected
till access is provided. However, letter dated June 4, 2001 by the
sponsor addressed to the Land Commissioner states that the CMC is unable
to allocate an assessment number for the provision of water and
electricity until such time as the deed to this land shows a legitimate
and legal access. He also assures that the Rs. 6 million payment as well
as the first year's annual lease rental of Rs. 2 million will be paid
the day "access" is granted.
By letter dated 17th October, 2001, the sponsor states that they are in
the final throes of rectifying the access issue and are now in a
position to secure the tenancy of the land. They also confirmed that
arrangements have been made with the Divisional Secretary for the Rs. 6
million up-front payment to be effected. The first annual rental they
said will be due in October 2002.
By letter dated 26th February, 2002, Divisional Secretary informs the
sponsor that if full payment is not received on or before 31st March,
2002, action will be initiated to terminate the lease agreement. The
sponsor has effected the payment on the 27th of March 2002.
It is clear from the above that the Sponsor of the project was not in a
position to use the land and start implementing the project due to
problems associated with obtaining legal access. The BOI and others
concerned have been informed of the situation and have taken steps to
find a solution to the problem. Unfortunately this had taken a
considerable length of time. Finally at or around the time the problem
was getting solved, the sponsor has been given a final deadline of 31st
March 2002 to effect payment. He has accordingly paid the money due
prior to the date stipulated. As such we do not think there is cause for
further action or inquiry.
Ministry of Enterprise Development
Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion
R. M. R. Ratnayake
Ministry of Finance
Additional Land Commissioner
Land Commissioner's Department
Senior State Counsel
Attorney General's Department
Executive Director (RD & SP)
Board of Investment of Sri Lanka