President in Jaffna: Farmers in Jaffna to fetch reasonable prices to their agricultural produces

By K.T.Rajasingham
Colombo, 13 February, (Asiantribune.com):

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his visit to Jaffna, instructed officials to make arrangements for the agricultural products of Jaffna farmers to fetch reasonable prices. He also directed the immediate release of the two Jaffna University students, who were arrested in November last year.

The official two-day visit of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Jaffna commenced yesterday morning, with the opening up of the Chunnakam Thermal Power Plant – Uthuru Jananee in Chunnakam.

The Power Plant with 24 megawatt capacity was declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to ensure an uninterrupted power supply to the people of Jaffna, which will greatly bring about a change in the lives of the people of the Peninsula.

Farmers of Jaffna and their agricultural produces

After declaring open the Thermal Power plant, the motorcade of the President stopped on the wayside at Chunnakam and he got out of his car to talk to farmers who were busy in their gardens across the road.

Standing by the roadside, President beckoned the farmers who were working in their lands to come and as they gathered near, he talked to them – inquiring about farm, farm products and about their day to day life.

It was clearly visible from the faces of those farmers – men and women, the degree of excitement when seeing as well as talking to President of the country – a rarest opportunity for Tamil farmers in Jaffna, never happened in their lifetime in the last 65 years of Sri Lanka’s independence. Also they were excited to note when President spoke to them in his stammering Tamil language.

When President asked about their problems, farmers explained that their agricultural products were not fetching good prices, while farmers in the South were able to sell their products fetching good prices, because the government helps them by increasing the import taxes of those agricultural products whenever they have their harvest of potatoes and other products.

They asked the President why farmers in the North were not given such type of safeguard and alleged of partiality and discrimination.

President explained to them that their issues were never brought to his notice and instructed the officials to make necessary arrangements for their agricultural products such as grapes, potatoes, onions and chilies to fetch higher prices by increasing the import duties of those products whenever the harvest season of those products commences in the North – especially in the Jaffna district.

The District Development Committee Meeting

At 11 AM, the District Development Committee Meeting commenced at the Tilco hotel in Jaffna, as renovation works were underway at the Government Agent’s office in Jaffna.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa presided over the meeting and Mr. Douglas Devananda – Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development, Governor of the Northern Province Mr. G.A, Chandrasri, Mr. Arumanayagam Sundaram Government Agen Jaffna, Murugesu Chandrakumar MP and Deputy Chairman of the Committees, Mr. Sivastrie Alantin, MP (UPFA) , Mr. A. Vinayagamoorthy M.P. (TNA) Mrs. Vijayakala Maheswaran MP (UNP) and officials from Jaffna and Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa , Mr. Lalith Weeratunga President’s Secretary and members of President delegations participated in the meeting.

In the beginning Mr. Arumanayagam Sundaram G.A. Jaffna made a presentation of the accomplishments for the year 2012 and the progress so far made in the New Year and the challenges and so on.

Following the GA’s presentation, President told about the number of complaints he has received regarding the development activities and he pointed out that some of those development activities that have been planned are not being implemented and some planned projects were abandoned half way and also complaint of projects not completed on time and he inquired from the relevant officers reasons for all tose lapses in the implementations of the Government development programme.

President instructed officers to expedite the development projects and he promised to provide required funds if there was any shortages.

Local bodies under TNA controlled failed to make use of funds allocated to them

Mr. A. Vinayagamoorthy, the only TNA MP who was present at the meeting read out a news report appeared in the ‘Sunday Times’ about funds allocated for local bodies under TNA control were withdrawn by the Government.

President denied and categorically stated that no such thing has ever happened. President explained in case funds allocated were not utilized within that particular financial year, then according Financial Regulations the unused money will go back to the Department which allocated the money.

The irony was that many of the local bodies in Jaffna are under the control of the TNA and they have failed to make use of funds and also failed to implement those projects, may be for political and other reasons, for which those moneys were allocated.

Also President pointed out that many of the development activities in the Jaffna district were centered around the urban areas. He said it is not enough and he insisted development works should also implemented in the villages so that the rural folks too will benefit.

Appeal by mothers for the release of two Jaffna University students

In the meantime a lady, a mother who was present at the DDC meeting stood up and lamented that his son who was arrested at the Jaffna University in the latter part of November 2012, was still under custody and she appealed to the President to release her son.

There was another mother also who was present at the meeting, told that her son too was arrested at the Jaffna University and still in custody and appealed to the President to release her son too.

Subsequently, President made few inquiries and then told the parents that they should look after their children, specially they must look after their children that they do not engage in unnecessary activities.

President also said that students have the right to involve in politics. That is correct, but without resorting to anti-social and harmful activities, he emphasized.

President immediately ordered the Inspector General of Police to release those two Jaffna University students.

As President has ordered the release of the two university students P. Dharshananth, the secretary of the Jaffna University Students Union and K. Jenemejayan, the arts faculty student union leader, and they are to be released today.

Earlier two Jaffna University Students – Council President Bawananthan and Science Faculty third year student Solomon were released on 22 January.

In Nainativu

In the evening President declared opened a pier constructed by the Sri Lanka Navy at Nainativu to facilitate pilgrims visiting Nagabhooshany Amman Temple and the Buddhist temple located in the islet.

After that he participated in religious ceremony at the Nagadeepa Vihara and in the Pooja at the Nagabooshany Amman Temple.

Following the Nainativu programme, President went to Karanagar on the invitation of Mrs. Vijayakala Maheswaran , a UNP MP and participated in the special Pooja at the the Karainagar Amman Temple.

– Asian Tribune-