Fresh criteria for new Grama Sevaka Divisions: Delimitation Committee

Tamil parties want them on ethnic lines, accuse Govt. of State sponsored colonisation
By Chris Kamalendran

The Delimitation Committee is to propose fresh criteria on demarcating boundaries of Grama Sevaka Divisions (GSD). Secretary to the Committee, Jinasiri Dadallage, who is also Additional Secretary- Ministry of Public Administration & Home Affairs, told the Sunday Times that the Committee has received more than 4,000 suggestions with most of them based on ethnic lines.

He said that the Committee was in favour of maintaining the existing 14,022 GSDs, and form new Divisions only where alternatives were not possible. Amalgamating smaller Divisions also is among the proposals.

It is to be proposed that the number of families to be included in a GSD is 500 for a rural area, 500-1000 families in a suburban area, and 1000-2,500 families in an urban area. He said that the Committee was not in favour of demarcation of GSDs on ethnic lines.

The Committee has proposed that, when a new GSD is to be established, the number of families, convenience to the public, social and other factors, road facilities and physical boundaries should be taken into consideration.

The Committee suggests that, in order to establish a new Divisional Secretariat (DS), there should be at least 50-75 GSDs. However, currently there are DSs with less than 10 GSDs.
Meanwhile, controversy reigns over the establishment of a new DS division in the Welioya area comprising 16 GSDs.

Four of the GSDs have been taken from the Vavuniya District, while five have been taken from the Mullaitivu district, to be annexed to the existing seven divisions in Welioya, to create the new DS division.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has raised objections to the amalgamated creations of the new DS division, which they claim can affect the balance of the ethnic ratio within the district.

The TNA also claimed that lands previously owned by the Tamils, have been taken and distributed among new settlers, depriving the original landowners from returning to their land to cultivate.
Other Tamil parties too have backed the protest by the TNA.

TULF leader V. Aanandasangaree told the Sunday Times that, while the Government was talking to the TNA, they were involved in colonising the Welioya area. He said they were requesting the Government not to promote State sponsored colonisation programmes.

Meanwhile, Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing & Common Amenities, Wimal Weerawansa asked Tamil politicians not to demand distribution on ethnic lines. Mr Weerawansa, speaking at the launch of the construction of a new housing scheme in Katana, under the ‘Janasevana’ programme, said that the demand by Tamil politicians could create ethnic disharmony.

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