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People in North don’t want police, land powers: Basil

People in the North and East have not demanded for land and police powers and it is only the political parties that are agitating for these powers, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said yesterday.
He said the government would give land to the landless and police protection to those who think they are defenseless in the two provinces but had no intention of giving police or land powers. At a news conference which was held to explain his ministry’s programmes for 2012 based on the ‘Gama Neguma’ and the Mahinda Chintana concepts, the minister said only the politicians in these two provinces who wanted land and police powers.

“The people in the North and East do not need police or land powers but land to cultivate their crops and protection from terrorism, abductions and the demand for ransom. The government will not hesitate to protect the people in the two provinces and provide them with land for cultivation,” he said and added that the peace dividend is mainly enjoyed by people in the North and East with the Vanni becomming the highest developed district with the fastest poverty reduction rate after Colombo and Gampaha.

The minister said with the tremendous development achieved in the agriculture sector in the North and East there had been a huge cash flow to the two provinces which had seen an extraordinary transformation in the day to day activities.

“For instance, 95 per cent of Sri Lanka’s requirement of Black gram (Ulundu) was imported during the conflict period. Last year the farmers in Vanni have produced the entire requirement,” he said. When asked how a possible fuel crisis would affect Sri Lanka if the Iranian government went ahead with its threats to block the Hormuz Strait for international maritime movements, the minister said Sri Lanka would have to turn to other friendly countries for oil purchases explore alter native energy resources.“however, we are looking for our own fuel resources and may strike oil by 2016,” he added.

Jan 26, 2011
Source: Daily Mirror – Sri Lanka

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