Indian delegation impressed with North-East development

The Indian Parliamentary delegation in Sri Lanka is highly impressed with the rehabilitation and development work carried out by the government in the North and East, within a period of only two years and 11 months, after the completion of the humanitarian operation, Acting Media Minister and Acting Cabinet Spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said.

Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing at the Government Information Department auditorium yesterday, he said the government wishes to thank the Indian Parliamentary delegation for visiting Sri Lanka, especially the North and East and seeing the real situation for themselves.

The delegation consulted the people themselves and obtained their independent views without any mediation on the part of the government. The visit will also help to correct the wrong picture that led to adverse Tamil Nadu opinion on the North and East which had an impact on the Geneva resolution, he said.

Acting Minister Yapa said the government has also invited European goverments to visit the North and East and witness the massive development taking place.

Acting Minister Yapa said within a very short period, the government provided all benefits to the Northern people which are enjoyed by people living in other parts of the country.The delegation saw how 250,000 IDPs have been resettled in their original homes, he said.

“Only 200 had been resettled in other places due to landmines and they will also be relocated to their original homes once the landmines are removed,” he said.

The delegation inquired of the people whether the Sri Lankan government has restricted their movements and the people said there are no such restrictions and they do not have money and time to travel because they are busy with their work. The Indian delegation handed over 250 houses built for IDPs with Indian aid. One family living in such a house told the delegates that their two children were kidnapped by the LTTE.

Acting Minister Yapa pointed out that the construction of another 635 houses built with Indian aid have already been completed. A project has been launched to build 41,000 new houses in the North and 9,000 houses in the East. The delegation visited IDP camps and there were only 1,800 IDPs in the Manik Farm welfare centre and only 1,600 in Sampur welfare centre. The actual number of IDPS living in those two camps is lower than the number declared by the government. They will be resettled by June 30th as stated to the Indian delegation. The government spent Rs. 4.6 million to construct one tank in the North and also provided agricultural and fishing equipment to the people.

‘India is a friend of Sri Lanka and it will not do anything harmful to Sri Lanka. The opinion of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is not the opinion of the Indian central government. During elections several things can be said and done but those things change after the election. India has its own problems,such as, Kashmir.The Sri Lankan Environment Ministry will deal with the issue of the Indian Nuclear power project, Acting Minister Yapa added.


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