By Chris Kamalendran
The Government has withdrawn more than Rs 560 million allocated for development work to Northern Province local councils controlled by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).The move comes in a year during which Northern Provincial Council elections will be held as pledged by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The funds were meant for rural roads, construction of new buildings for local councils, building new markets and other structures in 2013, Jaffna’s Local Government Assistant Commissioner S. Jeyaharan told the Sunday Times yesterday. The directive for the withdrawal, he said, had come from the Ministry of Local Government.
Other sources said that the funds in question would be placed in the hands of the Governor of the Northern Province for utilisation in projects he identified.A local councillor alleged that the withdrawal of funds from only the TNA-controlled councils was politically motivated.
“They do not want us to spend these funds for development work because they fear we will win votes at the Provincial Council elections. Whatever happens, the people know we represent them,” Velvettithurai Urban Council member M. K. Sivajilingam said.
He charged that in councils where the pro-government Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) was in control, there had been no withdrawal of funds. “They are allowed to spend freely on projects,” Mr. Sivajilingam complained. The EPDP is led by Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Minister Douglas Devananda.
Of the 17 local councils in the North, 13 are controlled by the TNA