Jungle Telegraph

10th September 2000

By Alia

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Tender overboard

As reported in these columns last week, a Government trading arm complained to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, that it has been disqualified from a military procurement deal though it was found to be the most suitable. It claimed its offer was Rs. 60 million less. The tender was called in October last year and awardees were finalised only weeks ago. 

Now the deal has taken an entirely different turn. One top man in uniform has chosen to set aside the entire eleven month long tender process. He has enhanced the previous supplier's order. In other words, the previous supplier has been given the award. The Treasury is now due to give the go ahead to import. 

The loss to state coffers as a result of the move is a staggering Rs 86 million or more. 

The censorship on procurements prevents revelations of other details. It seems a millionaire is born every week was how a helpless officer in uniform described the goings on. 

Bomb power

A Sri Lanka Air Force interceptor jet dropped a 500 kilogramme bomb not so far off from the security forces defence lines in the north during attacks on LTTE targets last week. 

It not only created a crater more than 20 foot deep but the pile of sand it threw buried a soldier in a nearby bunker killing him on the spot. A case of blue on blue as they say in military parlance. 

Novel tactic

A tactic now used by Tiger guerrillas in the Wanni is to move around in Army uniform. 

A group that went in Army uniform to a Police checkpoint at Puliyankulam junction (on the Vavuniya – Mannar Road) shot dead a policeman.

Not blue

EPDP leader Douglas Devananda, who is now busy with his party's election campaign in the Jaffna peninsula turned blue. Not because blue is the colour of PA's predominant partner, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

It was all over an advertisement his party had placed in two Sunday Tamil newspapers circulation in the peninsula –Uthayan and Valampirai.

The Tamil headline would have made any PA member see red, leave alone blue. Translated, it said "Chemmanai Exposed the Lady" and idiotic enough, implicated her in the massacre of Jaffna civilians arrested by the security forces.

An embarrassed Mr. Devananda rushed to do damage control.

A correction appeared the next day. This is what it said.

"The EPDP regrets the error in the advertisement caused due to carelessness and an increased work- load. We request no one should erroneously assume on the basis of yesterday's advertisement that the EPDP has changed its political stand."

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