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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 912

Government airlifts food for Xmas beating Tiger obstructions of food flow to Jaffna

Colombo, 25 December, (Asiantribune.com): On Saturday the Government airlifted a large stock of essential food stuff and medicine to Jaffna to avoid any shortage during the Christmas season.

The consignment consisted of 3100 cans of milk-food, 10,000 eggs, and 2800 bottles of marmite, biscuits and one million Paracetamol tablets, according to Media Unit press release.

It said that the Commissioner General Essential Services(CGES)Sri Lanka Governmen sent by sea and air a total of over 42, 284 225 tons of food and essential items to Jaffna. This is more then the tonnage sent by the Government prior to the closure of Muhamalai.

The Navy, Air Force, the Army and private agencies were employed to transport the goods for the festive season. In addition, Diesel, Kerosene and Petrol were also sent during this period. To eliminate the "Black market" and make distribution more effective, 14 Welfare shops managed by the Security Forces have been established to sell items at prices prevailing in Colombo.

Measure has also been taken under the Jatika Saviya to provide electricity in the city round the clock, and officials have been directed to provide other infrastructure such as telecommunication and transport. A special programe has been arranged to bring Jaffna farmer produce to Colombo under this programe, the release stated.

In its latest press release the Sri Lanka Government has charged that the Tamil Tigers are obstructing the flow of food causing scarcities. It added that it has to hastily hire or purchase vehicles to serve the humanitarian needs of the Jaffna people. But many owners are reluctant to hire vessels and vehicles because the Tigers have a history of attacking food convoys.

Despite these obstacles, the government claimed that it continues to supply food to the people of Jaffna by sea and air. Since the closure of A-9 Colombo-Kandy road on 11 August at the Muhamalai entry/ exit point Government sources revealed that it has transported over 50, 000 metric tons of food.

The Government of Sri Lanka also emphasized that it maintains and finances all public facilities and utilities, including education, administrative services, Police, hospitals and the University exclusively for the Tamils, public transport, courts, roads, etc. None of these facilites are provided by the LTTE. The finances are from the taxpayers, 95% of whom live outside the peninsula .The food is distributed by Government Officials supervised by the Government Agent of the district.

Reports reveal that Sri Lanka Government has initiated a program to transport the agricultural produce in the Jaffna peninsula to Colombo; on the instructions by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The government delegation of top level officers who toured the Jaffna peninsula this week decided to launch the program, having observed at first hand, the hardship of the farmers in the peninsula.

The produce to be transported to Colombo are tobacco, red onions and chillies which are in high demand in the South.

When the high powered delegation led by Minister Douglas Devananda and Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa visited Jaffna on Thursday 21 December, to find out the problems faced by the Jaffna population, residents had complained to the delegation that they were facing immense difficulties due to the restricted power supply.

Arrangements have also been made to transport a three Mega Watt generator to Jaffna today to bridge a deficit of five MW of electricity generation during peak hours.

Another generator will also be sent to the peninsula in the coming weeks, the spokesman added. Five buses will also be sent to Jaffna today to solve the transport problem in the peninsula as people wanted the Government to solve this immediately due to the immense hardship they face because of the lack of transport facilities.

According to K.Ganesh, Government Agent, Jaffna, on Saturday 1000 parcels of schools text books for distribution to students of Jaffna arrived on Saturday by ship.

According to an Army press release curfew has been completely lifted in the Jaffna Peninsula for 24-hour a limited period for Christmas celebrations.

- Asian Tribune -

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