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Bureaucracy must respect people's verdict in the north: Sampanthan

2013 Dec 17

As the rift widens between the Governor of the Northern Province and the recently elected Northern Provincial Council, the Tamil National Alliance has urged the central Government and the provincial bureaucracy to respect the verdict of the Tamil people at the September poll.
The TNA provincial administration is claiming it is being blockaded by the Northern Governor and ex Major General G.A. Chandrasiri who has the backing of the public servants in the province.
TNA Leader R. Sampanthan told Parliament last weekend that the NPC which was elected on 21 September was yet to take off. “The democratic verdict of the Tamil people has been made abundantly clear. That verdict must be respected. It must also be respected by all the bureaucrats who ran the Northern Provincial Government before the elections. The democratic verdict of the people was also against that rule,” Sampanthan told the House.
“If the Northern Provincial Council is not enabled to function effectively, the holding of the Northern Provincial Council Election could only be regarded as a disingenuous exercise. Such a conclusion would be inevitable,” the TNA Leader emphasised.
Some important persons who administered the Northern Province before the elections had campaigned against the TNA and on behalf of the ruling party, the TNA Leader said. “I would submit Sir, respectfully that it would be ridiculous to expect them to work with the Tamil National Alliance in a spirit of cooperation,” he charged.
Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran was interacting with the Presidential Secretariat on the issues and the TNA was waiting to see the result of that interaction, Sampanthan explained.
The Chief Minister has complained that his Council is powerless, with the Governor still calling all the shots in the administration of the region and official appointments.
Sampanthan said that pending the evolution of a durable political solution, which he said should be within the framework of an united Sri Lanka, the Northern Provincial Council was aiming to work as successfully as possible to alleviate the pathetic plight of the Tamil people in the north.
Quoting from a letter issued to the UN by the Presidential Task Force on Resettlement, Sampanthan said the letter had been copied to the Governor and the Provincial Chief Secretary and security forces commanders, but the Chief Minister had not been copied on the communication.
“No copy to the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, a  person who has been elected  most convincingly  by the people of the Northern Province to look after their affairs.
Sampanthan said the letter was in regard to relief and rehabilitation. Social Services and Rehabilitation which are item 7 in both the Provincial List and the Concurrent List of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which comes under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Council, he said.
“Is it hubris on the part of an individual who writes this letter, who imagines that the verdict of the people in the north can be discarded and rejected and that he can do what he likes? Or is it that a sense of impunity induces him to think that the bureaucracy can do whatever they want? What is the purpose of the Northern Provincial Council Election being held and a Chief Minister being elected by the people if, after the election is held, this type of letter is going to be sent in regard to work pertaining to relief, rehabilitation and services to the affected people, the displaced people?
The TNA Leader said if this becomes a trend, it was not happy augury.
“I refrain from posing that question, whether this letter is indicative of Government policy, in view of the fact that the Chief Minister has been interacting with the Presidential Secretariat,” Sampanthan said. (DB)

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