Sri Lankan Tamil leader wants funds to revive war-ravaged north

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government should start disbursing funds without further delay to revive the economy of the war-ravaged north and east of the island, the leader of the Tamil National Alliance said.

The government has announced the setting up of the Palmyrah Fund for the north-east. 

But the TNA’s R. Sampanthan said money needed to be released immediately since the region had not been given enough attention since the ethnic war ended 10 years ago when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) separatists were defeated. 

People in the north-east region had suffered greatly both during the after the war, he told parliament during the debate on the government budget for 2019.

“There is no purpose in talking about national reconciliation and there is no purpose in talking about goodwill and harmony unless you are able to make a contribution to uplift these people and to improve the standard of living of these people.”

Sampanthan said funds were needed particularly in agriculture, fisheries, livestock development, industries and employment. 

“Women, widows, ex-militants and ex-LTTE cadres who have come back to civilian life need to be looked after,” he said.

“All these things cannot be done if there is no money. We are formulating programmes so that we will be able to deal with these issues expeditiously. That is necessary.”

Each district in the region has come up with proposals up to about three billion rupees, Sampanthan said. 

“We need in all for a start 24 billion rupees. We are not demanding the whole thing now. But, kindly give us a substantial percentage, at least 60 or 70 per cent, to be able to commence the activities that must be given priority, to ensure that we are able to carry on those activities and to have them fully implemented.”
(COLOMBO, April 08, 2019-SB)
 

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