Ensure North-East Development
A mega development plan for Trincomalee: This is one way in
which the Government intends to fight terrorism in the North-East. There
is bound to be wide agreement that this is one of the ideal ways in
which terrorism should be handled.
A sound development plan which could satisfy the basic aspirations of
the North-East people would help in alienating their more volatile
sections from the LTTE and guarantee the latter's separatist ideology
would have absolutely no positive impact on the people of the region.
Announcing these ground-breaking development scheme for Trincomalee,
Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Rohitha
Bogollagama was quoted saying that the Government intended connecting "Trincomalee
into a mini Singapore, as we have identified that we could service
India, China, Vietnam and the Gulf countries from Sri Lanka", in the
event of Trincomalee being turned into a major oil product manufacturing
hub in the region.
The energy, petroleum and leisure sectors are earmarked for massive
foreign investment under these development plans for Trincomalee which
are in keeping with President Mahinda Rajapaksa's strategy of defusing
terrorism through satisfactory, equitable and dynamic economic growth.
Among other ventures, Lanka's second largest coal power plant is also
intended to be located in Trincomalee.
Needless to say, this approach to defusing and defeating terror would
have the backing of the majority of the public. Underlying this approach
is the well-tried belief that it simply would not do to deal militarily
alone with the separatist LTTE.
Sampur marked a turning-point, no doubt, in the Security Forces'
military campaign in the North-East and helped tilt the military balance
strongly in favour of the Armed Forces but the story surely does not end
there on the question of seeing an end to LTTE terror.
If the appeal of the LTTE's separatist ideology is to be blunted
forever among particularly the more impressionable sections of the youth
of the North-East, development should be made a reality in the region.
More and more gainful employment and increasing life chances in the
North-East could convince all sections in the North-East that there is
no need for a separate state to ensure the meeting of their just
They could all be met under one, united state with there being
absolutely no need for a bloody, LTTE-inspired separatist war.
This is where the State failed in the past. There were always
intentions to develop the North-East but such plans were never put into
action. As a consequence, the revolt in the North-East hotted-up. It
would be also correct to state that the aim of the State in times past,
was to defeat terror through mainly military means.
Consequently, we had, basically, a military stalemate in the
North-East, which took a heavy toll in terms of lives lost and public
property destroyed. The North-East youth, in particular, were given to
understand that war was the sole means to their socio-economic
advancement because it was only through war that a separate State in the
North-East could be carved out.
It was impressed on them by the LTTE and its associated groups that
the State could not be relied on for their advancement.
This line of thinking could be debunked forever and laid to rest
through a sustained development programme in the North-East because,
such projects could lay the basis for meeting the just aspirations of
all our communities. This would expose the LTTE logic as being baseless.
It will accrue to the credit of Sri Lanka that President Mahinda
Rajapaksa has told the world that he is a President who would give
everyone who has a grievance a patient hearing. Besides, he is open to
discussion. We urge all disaffected sections to seize this opportunity
to air their grievances to the President and have their problems
resolved in cooperation with him.
Next, it is very important that the State galvanises itself into
action in the North-East for the purposes of delivering equitable
development. Never must it be felt that the State is dragging its feet
over development. Such a negative approach in the past only fuelled
Development should begin in earnest and every man, woman and child in
Sri Lanka must benefit from it and be fulfilled.