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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

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Brightening prospects for displaced

More and more displaced families are returning to the North from Tamil Nadu in a definite indication that the prospects for these unfortunate persons are improving vastly in this country. Whereas the critics of the state have been at pains to emphasize that the lot of the displaced is deplorable, the increasing number of returnees points to vastly improving material conditions in the North. This trend alone proves the point that progress is being made towards normalcy. It must be remembered that these returnees are getting back on their own free will. There has been no compulsion from any quarter on these persons to make it back to Sri Lanka, and it is clear that it is the prospect of being better off and happier in their land of birth that is attracting them to this country. In other words, conditions are fast getting back to normal in these once conflict-hit areas. In fact the number of displaced thus returning has shown a steady increase over the years and the UN statistics in this regard over the past few years are as follows: 800 in 2009, 2,054 in 2010 and until September this year, 1,448.

There are more of our displaced in Tamil Nadu and our endeavour should be to improve conditions back here to such a degree that they too would all readily come back. Such efforts at improving conditions would involve action and policy initiatives on a number of fronts. Socio-economic advancement would be foremost among these endeavours. On this score too, the indications are encouraging because the Northern economy has acquired a vibrancy that is almost unprecedented for the province. In fact, economic growth in the region could be considered phenomenal on a comparative basis.

While all such happy trends are most encouraging it must be ensured that the economic advancement attained is equitable or equally distributed among the region's populace. It is on the basis of this principle of equitable justice that the public affairs of the Northern populace would need to be run, inasmuch as it should be made to apply to the rest of the country's economy.

The state has been steady with the task of developing the physical infrastructure facilities of the once conflict-affected areas and there is no doubt that this policy will accrue to the benefit of the people, but the state has to be also steady with the process of giving the people of the North emotional security.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has gone some distance in providing leadership to this initiative by stating that from now on, the former divisive categories of majority and minority communities would not be recognized, but, instead, the differentiation among the public that would matter is those persons who love their motherland and those who do not. In other words, man-made divisions of, race, caste and creed, would not matter in the least in post-conflict Sri Lanka. What would matter is whether one would be loyal to Sri Lanka or not.

This is bound to be reassuring and our hope is that from now on Sri Lanka would speed ahead towards bringing into being a country where every person would get his or her due, irrespective of petty man-made differences that do not matter in the least, but which in the past precipitated turmoil and bloodshed of the worst kind. Basically, what would put all at ease in this country is a state of affairs where merit and merit alone would be recognized and made the fundamental criteria of social advancement.

If Sri Lanka proves to be steady in adopting these parameters of nation-building, the totality of the citizenry would enjoy emotional wholeness and security to an unprecedented degree. Meanwhile, the process of physically rebuilding the North should continue apace. Not only must this be done, these achievements must be showcased to the rest of the world.

While it would be most encouraging to see more and more of our displaced coming back to this country, the distance we have gone in rebuilding this country must be emphatically brought to the attention of the world community in sustained fashion. The pull factors in this country which attract the displaced must be given most prominence.


 

Strategies for a safer road environment - Part I

Some years ago when I was serving as Director Traffic and Road Safety at Police headquarters, I was interviewed by veteran broadcaster late Ravi John during a programme at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. The interviewer asked me what I thought of the task of managing traffic on our roads.

Full Story

The Human Dimension

Can you be the lone voice of reason?

Facing natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes, courageous people have chosen to risk their lives to save others. There are many sung and unsung heroes whose courage in raging waters, powerful tsunamis and dangerous earth slips have saved many where they would, otherwise, have perished,

Full Story

People’s Bank’s magnanimous gesture:

New era dawns on people of Mannar

The scenery at the Mannar coastline on a quiet star-lit night is mesmerizing. The only sound is the rolling waves hitting the shoreline. This is the Seelawathura beach, Mannar. It is a unique place and in a sense a mixture of the scenic beauty of the Passekudah (Batticaloa), Nilaweli (Trincomalee) and Arugambay (Ampara) beaches.

Full Story

 

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