There is no end
to the incessant wailing over the fate of Internally Displaced
Persons (IDPs) by the Opposition, certain NGOs and the so-called
international community. One could agree with and respect the
wailing of those that do so out of genuine humanitarian
concerns. But when those who wail have not for the past five
months contributed even a cent for the welfare of the people on
whose behalf they wail, serious doubts arise as to their intent.
When the motley crowd of wailing persons are joined by those
who advocated their long-term internment one is reminded of the
Sinhala adage which says that when one wants to taste flesh even
the monitor is turned into an iguana.
The only conclusion we could arrive at in this instance is
that these loud wailings and cries are a result of political
desires, anxieties and frustration. In fact taking care of IDPs
should not become a divisive issue.
It is an issue which calls for maximum unity both nationally
and internationally. The fact that such unity is yet not
forthcoming betrays the vested interests among those that only
shed crocodile tears.
The Government, on the other hand, took up the challenge and
has delivered admiringly with the assistance of its friends here
and abroad. The latest figures reveal that half the inmates at
welfare villages and other camps have been resettled in their
original places of residence.
That required a lot of work. De-mining of the resettlement
areas and the provision of necessary physical and social
infrastructure was a colossal task. However, it has been
achieved in record time.
Resettling 150,000 people in five months in a war-torn and
heavily mined terrain is no mean task. It took about four years
for the tsunami displaced to be resettled. In that case, there
was no de-mining to be done and capital expenditure was mainly
for housing. Compared to the resettlement of the tsunami victims
the present resettlement process is very much faster and very
much better organized. There were even more funds then.
This achievement should be acknowledged and congratulated by
every one. It is a pity that those who wail over the fate of the
IDPs and try to put Sri Lanka in the dock cannot see this
achievement. This reminds us of yet another local adage which
states “it is easy to wake up those that are actually sleeping
but no one could wake up those that are pretending to be
asleep”. At the current rate of resettlement, we could expect
the total evacuation of the inmates at welfare villages to their
former places of residence within a month or two. Hopefully we
would enter the forthcoming New Year sans IDPs, victims of the
Those that wail over their fate will have to find some new
excuse to wail then.
It is in the context of the colossal funds that are needed
for this purpose we feel aggrieved over the waste and
ostentation that seems rampant in public institutions. It is
time to look for and implement cost-effective measures at each
and every institution kept up with public funding.
City Administrator Omar Kamil has promised synchronized traffic
lights at key road intersections for a straight drive from
Ayurveda roundabout to the end of Horton Place for motorists.
This is soothing news, indeed.
While welcoming the news we would reserve our comments for a
future date, for the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We
have heard many fairy tales from the authorities and each time
anything is promised we tend to be a bit skeptical. It’s no
offence but our knee-jerk reaction. We only hope that the
traffic police would not start giving signals manually as often
happens at newly installed light signals.
If successful, we would only urge the CMC authorities to
extend the facility to many more such congested roads.
We would also like to add that the authorities should look
into the possibility of installing such synchronized traffic
lights further beyond the Ayurveda junction along the Parliament
Road right up to the roundabout at the turn to Parliament. Such
a move would further ease the congestion and ensure a smoother