ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 4, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 49

Interim council for north

  • Wide powers for Douglas, Rishad and Basil to develop the province

A three-member Northern Province Interim Advisory body headed by Minister Douglas Devananda has been appointed by the government to oversee resettlement and development. Minister Abdul Rishad Bathiudeen and Senior Presidential Advisor and parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa are the other members of the high-powered advisory body appointed by the cabinet on Wednesday.

“Our main task will be to advise the Acting Governor, departments, ministries on development activities and resettlement and co-ordinate with government bodies,” Minister Devananda told The Sunday times. He said the advisory council was set up because of the absence of a political structure for the Northern Province where elections could not be conducted at present due to security and other problems.

Devananda, Bathiudeen and Basil Rajapaksa

Mr. Devananda said that issues connected with the day-to-day lives of the people would be the immediate priority of the advisory council. He said the council also hoped to hold talks with organizations involved in humanitarian work.“We will provide the political leadership to carry on with the development and resettlement work in the north in the absence of a political setup,” Mr. Devananda said.

Further discussions are to be held on the operations of the council and the staff. He said co-ordinating and working with the Acting Governor Mohan Wijewickrama would be one of the tasks and the Governor would continue to remain in an acting capacity.

Earlier the Government was planning to appoint an Advisory body to the north and east. However with the decision to conduct the provincial elections in the east, the Government delayed the naming of such a body.

Initially the government had planned to have a wider representation in the interim body and include politicians representing the province.

Mr. Devananda represents the Jaffna district and Mr. Bathiudeen the Wanni district while Mr. Rajapaksa is a National list MP. The move to appoint an interim body for the North comes six days before the eastern provincial elections being held for the first time in 20 years.

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