The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has softened its stance on its long standing demand for the re-merger of the northern and eastern provinces, and has instead noted that the modalities for such a merged unit could be discussed subject to the interests of the Muslim community, informed sources said today.
The TNA handed over its proposals for a political solution to the government last year during its series of talks with the ruling party.
The party has asked for the abolition of the concurrent list introduced with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Powers on the subjects categorized in this list are shared by both the centre and the provincial councils. Education, health, agrarian services and agriculture are among the subjects coming under it.
The TNA, in its proposal, asked for the total devolution of powers on these subjects to the provinces. Besides, the transfer of ‘extensive financial and fiscal powers’ to the provinces was demanded by the TNA which included land and police powers.
The TNA’s stand is that the centre, in this exercise, could retain powers to deal with borrowings and currency.
Also, the TNA accepts that powers on subjects such as national security, defence, ports and harbours, aviation and airports should be vested with the centre when a power sharing arrangement is worked out.
The party has mentioned that a merged north-east is the unit of devolution, and it has been referred to as a matter to be discussed later in consultation with Muslim parties.
Talks between the government and the TNA have been deadlocked at the moment given the differences of opinion between the two sides on the participation in the proposed parliamentary select committee. The TNA is expected to discuss this matter with its rank and file at the party’s annual general convention scheduled for later this week. (Kelum Bandara)