Mirijjawila-Sooriyawewa Road Construction : Previous regime forcibly acquired land: Kiriella
The previous government had acquired lands worth Rs. 1,992 million forcefully to construct the Mirijjawila-Sooriyawewa Road, Leader of the House and Highways and Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella said in Parliament yesterday.
The Minister was responding to a query posed by JVP Parliamentarian Nihal Galappaththi by way of an adjournment motion on November 28.
He said the previous regime was acquiring the lands to construct the questionable 100-feet road since 2009 but had not paid a penny to the owners. The good governance government has provided payments for them, the Minister said. Minister Kiriella said his Ministry had paid Rs. 370.2 million since 2015 to the owners of 281 lands and another set of vouchers worth Rs. 101.1 million were forwarded to the Ministry as payment for 128 plots.
He said the previous government had acquired 1,958 plots in the Hambantota and Sooriyawewa Divisional Secretariats and 1,534 of them were private. "These owners have to be paid," Minister Kiriella said.
"Rights of the deeds of 1,125 lands are investigated at the Hambantota and Sooriyawewa Divisional Secretariats and when the investigations are completed, compensation will be paid," the Minister said.
He said the 23.5 km long road was constructed with six lanes whereas four tracks would have been sufficient.
Govt. will establish integration friendly schools: Fowzie
The Government will establish integration friendly schools by bringing children of all ethnicities and religions together to bring reconciliation to the country, National Integration State Minister A. H. M. Fowzie said in Parliament yesterday.
He made these observations yesterday in Parliament, while the House was considering the report of the select committee on the Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development Ministry, Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry, Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Ministry and National Integration and Reconciliation Ministry during the Committee Stage debate on the budget proposal for financial year 2018.
The State Minister said that introducing such schools was initiated on a concept of President Maithripala Sirisena, who holds the National integration Ministerial portfolio.
"The Integration friendly schools would help the child be aware of diverse cultures and respect them," the State Minister said.
"The policy of the government is to eliminate hate speech. The government has plans to establish district reconciliation committees to resolve ethnic and religious tension at district level. Religious dignitaries would head these committees," he said.
The State Minister said the week from January 8 to January 14 would be declared as the national reconciliation week. He said many programmes were planned for the week.
Reconciliation reflects in Parliament
Signs of reconciliation were seen in Parliament when Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development Minister Palani Digambaram responded in Sinhala to Joint Opposition member Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who spoke in Tamil.
The conversation took place when MP Aluthgamage was speaking on the report of the select committee on the Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development Ministry, Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry, National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Ministry and National Integration and Reconciliation Ministry during the Committee Stage debate on the budget proposal for financial year 2018 in Parliament yesterday.
Minister Dingabaram emphasised the commendable services rendered to the hill country people when MP Aluthgamage criticised the government for its failure to fulfil the need of the upcountry people.
“This government failed to fulfil the aspirations of the Tamil people in the upcountry,” MP Aluthgamage said. “They elected the government with high hopes. We had worked for them very much when we were in power,” Aluthgamage said.
Minister Digambaram said the government has served the hill country Tamil people more than any other previous government. “This government has given deeds to those people who never had a plot,” Digambaram said. “The previous government promised only 50,000 houses to those people. I appreciate MP Aluthgamage though. He gave a playground to people there when he was minister,” he said.
“I developed the Westhall Estate Hospital for your people,” MP Aluthgamage said. “Your government took it. Your name would be written in history if you constructed houses,” he said.
Failure in reconciliation and national integration : Bimal calls for ministers’ resignation
The ministers dealing with reconciliation and national integration should resign from their positions since they were not able to use the funds allocated through last year's budget for the purpose, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Parliamentarian Bimal Rathnayake said in Parliament yesterday.
He spoke, while the house was considering the report of the select committee on the Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development Ministry; Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry; National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Ministry and National Integration and Reconciliation Ministry during the committee stage debate on the budget proposal for financial year 2018.
He said the Resettlement Ministry had spent only 44 percent of its allocations as at September 30 and the National Integration Ministry had not used 91 percent of the allocation it received.
"The funds were allocated to bring solutions for the burning issues of the people. But the ministries had failed in their tasks," the JVP MP said.
The MP stated that the Ministers failed to fulfil the people's needs, but they enjoy all the perks and privileges. He said the ministries had a great responsibility to prevent a conflict from recurring such as the one that plagued the country for three decades.
He said 3,000 persons were in 39 welfare centres and the government was attempting to lease 11 fisheries harbours crucial for the country's defence. "Around 28,500 Sri Lankan asylum seekers in India who were granted citizenship in that country want to return to Sri Lanka, but they have no facilities to return,"the MP said.