|Friday, 21 June 2002|
We are now entering an era of peace and prosperity - Minister Bakeer Markar
"We are now entering an era of peace and prosperity under the leadership of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Prime Minister wants every citizen of this country to enjoy equal rights.
"The Ceasefire Agreement has enabled us to come to Jaffna and to have a dialogue with you. The Ceasefire Agreement has strengthened interaction between the people to forge communal unity and harmony. We have the blessings of the people in the North and South, through the victory our party has achieved in the general and local government elections. This is the last chance we have been given to build a united Sri Lanka", said Minister of Mass Communication Imithiasz Bakeer Markar at a conference held at the Auditorium of the Chief Secretary's Office in Jaffna recently. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, A. H. M. Azwer, Member of Parliament in Jaffna District, K. Suwajilingam, Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Communication, Kumar Abeysinghe, GA of Jaffna, K. Shanmuganathan, Heads of all institutions under the Ministry of Mass Communication and Heads of District Institutions in the Jaffna District participated this conference.
Minister Bakeer Markar further said "Despite the current financial crisis, the UNF Government is determined to provide more public amenities to the people in Jaffna and rebuild the other towns destroyed during the conflict in the North and East. The Government has already launched a massive rehabilitation program in the North and East as it considers that its responsibility is to work to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the residents in the areas."
Bakeer Markar said that the government has already launched a special program to provide 10,000 new telephone connections at a cost of Rs. 100 million before 2003 and to build a well equipped post office in Jaffna town at a cost of Rs. 69 million before the end of this year.
Presently the transportation of mail bags and postal goods is done by land upto the Trincomalee Harbour and then by ship to Jaffna. As a result, it takes about a week to transport goods to the Jaffna District.
The Minister also gave directions to Post Master General to transport the entire procedure and accordingly steps have been taken by the Department of Posts to transport the mail bags and goods by train up to Vavuniya and by lorries through A-9 Road. The Department of Posts states that the transportation of mail bags and goods could be done within a day or two under this program.
After the conclusion of this conference, Minister Imthiaz Bakeer Markar ceremonially inaugurated the communication locale at Post Office premises in Jaffna with E-Mail, Fax, Internet facilities etc. The handing over of generators, fax machines, water tanks, post boxes and other official equipment that are essential for the Post Offices in the Jaffna peninsula and the distribution of foot cycles and uniforms for the postmen were also took place on this occasion. In addition Minister Bakeer Markar also granted Rs. 1 million for the repairs of Post Offices in the Jaffna Peninsula on this occasion.
The minister also visited 13 sub post offices including those at Achchuveli, Chunnakam, Point Pedro and Welvetithurai and inaugurated the telephone connections in this sub post offices.
He also inaugurated the Government Information Centre at the office complex of the Jaffna Chief Secretary. The Department of Government Information states that this centre will disseminate local and foreign information to the public through Novel Communication Technology and disseminate information on various development programmes and about the day-to-day activities in Jaffna town for other areas in the country. Bakeer Markar participated in the Media Training Program organised by the Department of Government Information with the participation of all electronic and print media personnel in Jaffna peninsula.
At the Media Workshop the Minister said, "Journalists will no longer be hauled before the Press Commission to answer charges against them. Indiscriminate arrests and the intimidation of journalists will be stopped. We propose to appoint a Press Commission where the journalists will also be members."
At the media workshop the Information Department issued media accreditation cards to all media personnel in Jaffna district.
The Minister also opened a branch of the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. (ANCL) at Stanley Road, Jaffna to regularise the distribution of ANCL Newspapers in the Jaffna Peninsula.
He also visited newspaper offices of the Valampuri, Udayan and Thinakkural. Bakeer Markar also visited the Jaffna University, Jaffna Library, Jaffna Municipal Council and religious centres in Jaffna such as Nagavihara, Nallur Kovil, Bishop's House of Jaffna and Muslim Mosque in Jaffna.
Produced by Lake House