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Sunday, 12 June 2011

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A home-grown solution vital

The people in the North and the East have begun to reap the dividends of peace. The Government has given priority for infrastructure development projects in the two provinces to provide better living conditions for over half a million people who were rescued during the humanitarian operations.

A colossal sum of over Rs 3 billion has been allocated for development projects which are now in progress in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. This is more than double the amount that the Government had spent on the other seven provinces in the country.

Those hapless civilians who had been subjected to untold misery are ever grateful to the valiant Security Forces who rescued them from the jaws of LTTE terror.

Certain countries and international organisations which now raise their voices to the high heavens remained taciturn when these civilians went through hell before they were liberated from the clutches of LTTE terrorism. Though LTTE projected themselves as the champions and the sole representative of the Tamils, they did precious little for their own community.

The civilians, who were kept forcibly by the LTTE as a human shield and later rescued by the Security Forces, yearned for peace. They did not harbour political or social problems as portrayed by the LTTE and certain Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who thrived on foreign funding. Their fervent plea was for a peaceful environment for all communities to live in harmony.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said last week that a political solution which fulfils the needs of the people in the North with a common Sri Lankan identity will be provided to them sans foreign influences.

He said that discussions are under way to finalise the political solution for people in the North. Any solution to address the genuine grievances of the people in the North should bear a common Sri Lankan identity.

President Rajapaksa has said that finding a political solution is within Sri Lanka’s reach and no foreign force could thwart it. Although there was praiseworthy support from friendly countries, Sri Lanka fought its lone battle to rescue the country from LTTE terrorism.

In similar vein, Sri Lanka is capable of finding its home-grown solution for the grievances of those living in the North and the East. Is there any need for foreign godfathers to hatch “eggs” for a “political solution”?

President Rajapaksa vowed that he never agreed to what the LTTE attempted to win through an armed struggle even at a negotiating table. Whatever agendas the INGOs seek to put in motion in the guise of a so-called political solution would never see the light of day under President Rajapaksa’s illustrious leadership.

A political solution cannot by any means be given forcibly as it should emerge from the hearts of the people both in the North and the South.

The solution should emanate from discussions between political leaders in the North and the South. Although these discussions are now in progress, some recalcitrant groups are making demands akin to what the LTTE terrorists wanted. Such preposterous demands would never be granted under any circumstances.

People living in the North and the East look upon development work as the number one priority and the need of the hour and not a so-called political solution as demanded by the rump LTTE and a section of the Tamil diaspora, who have not made any tangible contribution to uplift the living standards for their Tamil brethren rescued in the North.

People in the North were denied the right to information and speech after the LTTE terrorists destroyed the Kokavil transmission tower.

However, through the Government’s painstaking efforts to restore almost everything that was destroyed by the LTTE apart from human lives, a new multi-transmission communication tower was commissioned in Kokavil last week.

Infrastructure is being developed and those living in the North enjoy the right to know what is happening in the South. This no doubt will help strengthen the bonds between the two major communities.

The Government’s priority is to restore the pristine glory of the Jaffna farmer. The aim of the Government is to strengthen the economy of the North and the East and increase the purchasing power of those living in those provinces.

These two provinces could make a worthy contribution to the national coffers. If this could be achieved, maintaining an economic growth of over eight percent is certainly within Sri Lanka’s reach.

The Government’s target is to increase the per capita income to over US$ 4,000 within the next four years. These creditable economic indicators would pave the way for a prosperous Sri Lanka.

The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka last week recorded the highest ever quarterly FDI inflow in the first quarter of this year. The inflow of US$ 236 million from January to March this year is an increase of almost 160 percent, compared to the corresponding period in 2010.

The annual average FDI of the past five years was US$ 668 million which accounts for approximately two percent of the GDP. The ultimate goal is to increase the FDI target to US$ 2.5 billion by 2015, which would result in an FDI/GDP ratio of approximately four percent, thus achieving an economic growth rate of 8-10 percent.

This strong performance is a result of investments in the booming tourism sector which accounted for US$ 132 million. The major contributory factor to this relatively high value is the investment in Colombo and Hambantota by the luxury Shangri-La hotel chain.

This unprecedented investment in the tourism sector has been made possible due to the peaceful environment prevailing in the country after terrorism was eradicated. The country would leverage the strong momentum by achieving a record inflow of one billion US dollars this year.

The immense benefits of such development and economic growth would no doubt be passed on to the people in the North as well as those in the South.

The masses should not be swayed by the sinister campaigns of those who fear Sri Lanka’s unprecedented economic growth. If people across the length and breadth of the country are united, no force on earth could stop Sri Lanka’s forward march to become the “Wonder of Asia”.

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