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FeaturesNewsInterference by the Military Governor: Eastern Provincial Council in crisis

Interference by the Military Governor: Eastern Provincial Council in crisis


The Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) has run into a crisis with 20 members of the ruling party (UPFA), including the four Ministers, boycotting sessions demanding the postponement of the Northern PC polls until the Governor and the Chief Minister are replaced and the administrative infrastructure restored.
“We are talking of inefficiency and indifference which are an impediment to the working of the Eastern PC”, Deputy Chairman of the Council, M. S. Subair said yesterday.

“This decision by the members should not be misinterpreted as something against President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his government “, he clarified.

He said the ruling members are disappointed that they are unable to implement any welfare measures on behalf of the people.

The Chief Minister has failed to keep the Council members informed to participate in events when Ministers from the Central government visit the Eastern Province to implement or inaugurate development activities, Subair asserted.

Wimalaweera Dissanayake, Provincial Minister of Education and a longstanding member of the SLFP from the Ampara district, yesterday confirmed that all 20 members of the ruling party in the Council, including the Provincial Ministers have decided to boycott sessions.

There is a total breakdown of the activities of the EPC as a result of the negative actions of the Governor and the Chief Minister, he said.

Attempts to contact the Governor, Rear Admiral (Retd) Mohan Wijewickrema, failed.

An aide said the Governor is not in a position to comment on the developments.

At the Group meeting of the ruling party on May 18, all the members walked out saying it is meaningless to participate in the proceedings, he said.

“All are unanimous in their decision that they should boycott activities until President Rajapaksa took action to remove the obstacles”, he said.

There are people in the province affected by the recent natural disasters, who need assistance, but nothing has been done to help them, he claimed.

Last Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting of the Council could not be held as scheduled as the four Provincial Ministers and all other members of the ruling party boycotted it on an unanimously decision. They had taken up the position that they cannot continue to function in a Council where the Governor does not allocate funds nor implement decision of the Ministers or members, political sources said.

The Chief Minister has been unable to get the Governor to respond and the breakdown administration had led to bureaucrats taking the upper hand, the sources said.

Elections to the EPC were held in September 2012 and after much controversy the Council was established with seven SLFP members, seven SLMC, three National Congress (NC), three All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC), and one each from Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) and National Freedom Front (NFF) totaling 22.

Mrs. Ariyawathi Galappathi (SLFP) is the Chairperson and M. S. Subair a former a Provincial Minister of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) the Deputy Chairman.

The four Ministers are Wimalaweera Dissanayake (SLFP Provincial Minister of Education), Nazeer Ahamed (SLMC Provincial Minister for Agriculture), M. S. Uthuma Lebbe (National Congress Minister of Highways and Irrigation) and M. Munsoor (SLMC Minister of Health).
By Franklin R. Satyapalan

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