ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 09

President to monitor NGO activities in North, East

By Chris Kamalendran

All activities, including mine clearing, by international and local non-governmental organisations in the north and east will have to be co-ordinated through the Nation Building and Development which comes directly under the purview of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, an official said. Nation Building and Development Ministry Secretary W.K.K. Kumarasiri said all current projects would have to be coordinated through the ministry and prior approval would be needed for new projects by INGOs and NGOs.

He said this would apply to the Eastern Province where major new development projects were being launched and would include mine clearing projects in the north. The Sunday Times learns the decision was prompted by reports that some INGOs and NGos were carrying out projects according to their own plans, and not to meet the needs of the areas.

The move is also believed to be aimed at sidelining NGOs and INGOs which are accused of working closely with the LTTE. The decision to bring even mine clearing operation under the supervision of the government follows allegations that some of NGOs were supplying the cleared mines back to the LTTE. It is also alleged that some local staff of INGOs and NGOs had helped the LTTE to lay claymore mines.

All mine-clearing organisations in the north have been directed to obtain prior approval for all recruitment. This means they would need clearance from defence authorities for the recruitment of staff.The Nation Building Ministry also hopes to get involved in mine clearing activities and is recruiting about 300 employees for this next month. Some of these workers have already been trained by Indian experts and the ministry hopes to eventually take over all operations.

The Sunday Times learns that after the clearance of the Eastern Province, the government is now keen on monitoring the activities of INGOs and NGOs.

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