By S. Sivathasan –
Quite a few worthwhile projects for the North and East of Sri Lanka, with due financial provision are found in the nation’s Budget for 2016. Several steps have been taken and some hurdles cleared, at the highest levels to reach this threshold to implementation. Much requires to be done from early next year by the administration to see that the ambitious objectives are realized. While not getting distracted in any way, as we go along in 2016, the project needs and provision for 2017 and the ensuing years may be considered and plans mapped out. The Tamil polity needs to engage with the government very actively in this regard.
North and East Development
Provision in a sum of Rs 14 billion for Financial Year 2016 is great. Its dimension may be seen in the light of the Donor Conference 2016, announced in the Budget Speech. Next year starts with several advantages for the North and East. For the moment I will limit my attention to the North. A Governor, a Council a Board of Ministers, a Chief Secretary and Secretaries exclusively for the North are all in place for two years. The process of normality is moving towards consolidation. Physical infrastructure is built up sufficiently for tri-sector take off.
Experience of 2002
Thirteen years are now past, providing a rare fund of experience. The benefits are more to those yet in service. The Centre and two in one Province engaging with the most powerful militants positively was uncommon for any country. A major reconstruction effort proceeding smoothly under a tenuous atmosphere of peace was a rarity. External assistance flowed generously and it was utilized with checks cleverly built in. Elements neither official nor the powerful had a chance for private profit. Multi-tiered mechanisms completed the surveillance process. In sum results were substantial and neat.
With distance in time, performance then seems more enchanting now. A little reflection shows that personalities made the difference. As is seen at present a bi-partisan government led the country following on the ceasefire. President Chandrika and Prime Minister Ranil were mutually accommodative. They had the large heartedness to see North East being reconstructed and rehabilitated. To programmes of resettlement and money in the hands of the displaced and the impoverished, they lent their support unreservedly.
Needs Assessment Report
Donor countries and international financial institutions made for the flow of funds. It was not with speeches and sweet canvassing that this was done. With empathetic understanding of people’s deprivations and a proactive approach to their needs, World Bank and Asian Development Bank made a valuable and continuing contribution. So did the donors. Solid paper work was done by in service public servants and select retired personnel. In six months Concept Papers for 17 sectors were outlined in 1,700 pages. Cursorily orders of magnitude were worked out. They amounted to $ 4.5 billion for the programme. Fund flow was to follow with firm estimates, for pledges to translate into cash. They were all contained in one CD and was available to make hard copies. A similar CD was available for affected areas bordering North East. For central direction, personalities of the caliber of Bradman Weerakoon and R. Paskaralingam were ready at hand and they led the way. It may be noted that both are there for a similar purpose now at the PM’s office.
To match Colombo, the North-East had its Provincial officialdom in Trincomalee. Major General Ashoka Jayawardene handpicked by the President as Governor made it a point to assume duties only after gaining a fair mastery of the nuances of Provincial administration. With a quick brush of it in six weeks from the Colombo office itself, he transited from the military to civil administration. In turn the latter gained a development orientation with the launch of the multi-million dollar rehabilitation programme. His term provided seamless movement. He selected S.Rangarajah SLAS as his Secretary and subsequently appointed him Chief Secretary. SR’s ability like his integrity was of the highest and he acted freely even as he worked tirelessly. There was merited response from officialdom stretching from Pt.Pedro to Amparai. By early 2006, results were there on the North-East landscape for all to see.
Challenges; 2016 Onwards
The forthcoming tasks are more challenging compared to the past ones. Programmes initiated earlier are by no means complete. Added to them are the needs created by an intensified war fought to a finish in 2009. They are more diverse and more long drawn out. Restitution in times past has to be superseded by redevelopment. The way major highways have been done illustrates the point. When spread across all sectors, the finances required can be estimated. The time span may also be forecast. A NEEDS ASSESSMENT SURVEY similar to the one undertaken in 2002/03, will spell out the parameters and the magnitudes. There is reason to think that this will be the very first step in a Multi-Billion Dollar journey that will take a decade or more to traverse.
Donor Conference 2016
The scope of work and the scale of investment envisaged by the government for the North are explicitly conveyed by its reference to an Aid Conference for that purpose. The sentiments expressed by the Finance Minister and the explicit wording inspire confidence. “Our government is extremely cognizant of the grievances of the people in the war affected areas. The people of the North East have been requesting the government to provide them with basic facilities during the last several years. While the government has committed itself to a significant amount of funds for the development of the war affected areas, we also plan to convene a Donor Conference in 2016, to generate support from bilateral and multilateral agencies to enhance the rehabilitation of the North and the East”.- An excerpt from the Budget Speech. Projects Specified in Budget
Among the projects with specific mention in the Budget are:
- Engineering Faculty in Kilinochchi
- Agriculture Faculty in Vavuniya
- Upgrading Jaffna Hospital
- Cancer Hospital Nallur
- 20,000 houses in Mannar and Mullaithivu, and
- Red Clay Factory in Oddusuddan
It is worthy of note that the two important Faculties pressed for by the North are going to be established. The government should blast through so called land limitation and choose to select and reserve 400 acres or more for each one of the faculties. Abandoning primitive plans, state of the art design should be opted for. Through competitive bidding the best architect and the best contractor need to be selected.
There are besides other proposals with locations unspecified and no mention or even suggestion of North or East. However since they deserve consideration for the North, clarification may be sought. They are:
- Three New Airports
- Maritime Hub
- Megapolis and Urban Development
- Industrial Parks
- Bio-Technology Parks
- Wind and Solar Power Projects
Under item 1) Palaly Airport deserves to be developed into an international airport. Potential revenue from travel to and from India alone is enormous. Benefit for the Jaffna economy too will be huge.
Under item 2) KKS Harbour should become the northern magnet of the Maritime Hub. Both passenger and goods traffic in large proportions can be envisaged. Of as much importance or more is hinterland development. It is for interest groups in the North to ascertain and to push ahead, if not in 2016 then for 2017.
Of the Expenditure Proposals with allocations provided for the nation, item 9 is province specific. Others have relevance to the North as well. For clarity, they will need people’s intervention and communication in the media.
Proposal Rs Million
Construction of Cold Stores 2,000
Economic Zones 200
Development of Industrial Zones 700
Tourism Skilled Development 100
Upgrading Primary Schools 10,000
Facilities to 1,000 Secondary Schools 20,000
Basic facilities for 1,360 Schools 30,000
Establishment of Police Stations 1,000
North and East Development 14,000
Development of Sports 1,000
Action by Northern Polity
With vigilant attention to the way the proposals progress and with ceaseless interaction with Ministry and Departmental Heads, much traction can be achieved. Professionals of the North taking the cue from the Tamil Lawyers Forum can form their respective organizations, study the budget proposals each year and mount their agitation. These moves are necessary to demonstrate liveliness.
Taking the path of least resistance and trusting the traditional trustees will take the Tamils nowhere, if resurgence is their target.
Kettikaran / November 26, 2015
A river or diversion of the Mahaweli and other water enhancement facilities to the North/Jaffna District in the immediate future is a crying need. It is not known if the exclusion of this in Mr. Sivathasan’s comments is due to the fact the Govt. has already set in motion another ambitious Project at consideration cost, as reported earlier elsewhere, to comprehensively address the Water needs of Jaffna District/the North. Some definite clarification from the Sirisena-Ranil Govt can clarify the matter.
S,Sivathasan / November 26, 2015
Pl. read my article of July3,2013 in Colombo Telegraph, under the caption ‘Jaffna Water Supply and Lagoon Projects”.
Dr.Rajasingham Narendran / November 27, 2015
An interesting and recent reference on how the Jaffna River Project was sabotaged within the past few years:
Anpu / November 27, 2015
Direct link to the article
Kettikaran / November 29, 2015
Thank you Mr. Sivathasan. I have read your July piece and many other on the Jaffna Water Project – including those by the Arumugam father and son combination. I was particularly impressed by the efforts of senior Eng. DLO Mendis who strived for this vital national project for decades – across the ethnic barrier. More than one Govt has referred to the Project but it remains no more than lip-service. If the Yahapalanaya regime is serious about this the language should be loud, clear and unambiguous.
It should not be like those Stone-laying gimmicks repeated over and over again in many parts of the country – calculated to fool the hoi polloi until the next General Election.
Dr.Rajasingham Narendran / November 26, 2015
Thanks for highlighting the budgetary provisions made for various projects in the north. I wonder whether these are the most vital for the north at this point in time. Were there any inputs from the NPC to formulate these plans? Would the NPC participate in the execution of these projects? I do not see water- for drinking and agriculture listed. I also do not see projects for flood control and water conservation. Are there projects to use the lagoon not system to improve both internal and external tourism and generate employment? Are there plans to erect sewerage water treatment systems and utilize treated water for agriculture and landscaping? Many thoughts coursing through my head. I am sure background will help you identify other vital projects. Further, should new hospitals and those meant to expansions to the present ones be cited in Jaffna town and Nallur?
S,Sivathasan / November 26, 2015
A massive amount of work precedes the final listing in the Printed Estimates together with provision for 2016 and also the Total Estimated Cost.From the latter you get to know the scale of the project and future phasing: timelines & allocations.
For all you have in mind the time was January to September 2015. There is a
multitude of ideas, wishes and suggestions which if presented to appropriate authorities through concerned senior officials, get a chance for consideration. Many are put forward and some are approved. Your list can go to relevant offices in 2016 for consideration for 2017.
To cut the story short, the process and the procedure are labyrinthine. A few of the projects which have passed the mill process are final to the point of being location specific. I have urged their implementation post haste. There are yet others with project or programme magnitudes but awaiting final details. I have suggested that interest groups should pursue them further.
May I mention that what the government has proposed, outsiders cannot dispose. Hence the caption “Go Along”. This approach would be pragmatic.
Dr.Rajasingham Narendran / November 26, 2015
Thanks. I have never been bureucrat and cannot make much sense of what goes on in such matters. However, something defies logic. Assuming this government came to power in Jan’ 2015, it appears that preparatory work began before that date and went through the bureaucratic mill until it reached the Finance Minister and his ministers. Were public suggestions and local political inputs sought?
The NPC took office in I think in August’ 2013 and it has been concentrating in everything but development since. Was the Governor’s office forwarding proposals and plans. Was it a bureaucratic from conception to term? Reading some of the proposals I could feel the hands of bureaucrats all over. Are these what we urgently need on the war affected area. If we take as an example, are more faculties and lands the answer to the problems at the Jaffna University? How about better quality teachers for our schools, particularly in the Vanni. For what are we developing an agricultural faculty on 400 acres? I’d it to produce more, educated and skilled farmers for the north? Is it to promote relevant applied research? Is it to seed more efficient extension services?
I am not happy that the new government did not engage in wider consultations and has restricted itself to the bureaucrats and their narrow vision. In fact I am surprised at these proposals and their objectives and implications and intentioned, as a concerned citizen.
Sri-Krish / November 26, 2015
Thanks Mr Sivathasan for recapping your personal experiences during 2002-2006.You conclude your narration with a positive note -By early 2006, “Results were there on the North-east landscape for all to see”
Is it really so?
What do you mean by this? Whether the 4.5 Million US Dollar programme was successfully implemented and completed or only the need assessment was successfully carried out.
Even if it is the later, it is wonderful, we could make use the need assessment of 2002-2006 as a blueprint to update and prepare a new need assessment 2006.
If it is only by the public servants, it is credible, but it may not reflect the total picture by ignoring may be deliberately or arrogantly the inputs from the private sector, civil society, universities, politicians and ordinary men in the villages who may have a different perspective.
Your main theme is about the Budget 2016 spearheaded by the government initiatives.
What we need is not a piecemeal approach by extending one or more items as token presence or to play to the gallery,but a basket of projects with clearly well-defined overall objectives.
S,Sivathasan / November 26, 2015
If needs were 45 units, achievement was less than 9 units. Fund flow was proportionate. So 90 % couldn’t come. Time needed was 8 years or more, Availability was about half that. (All these are approximations).
High visibility deliveries were road projects and high tension electricity lines. Structures for water supply schemes,schools, dispensaries, govt. offices etc along main roads had good visibility. The rural landscape has been more visible to public servants with official vehicles.
It is true items mentioned in the report can be pursued. But the scope will change and so will the estimates. May it be remembered that the burden of reconstruction is greatly lightened by colossal inflows from China.
Dr,Rajasingham Narendran / November 27, 2015
Having served long in the private sector in Saudi Arabia, projects big, medium or small were planned differently. A need- either to improve capacity, increase profitability, improve marketability, meet government requirements or modernize were conceived, planned, costed and thereafter executed. There was no corruption and no waste. All costs were bargained in terms of required quality, gurantees and terms of payment. . It was always a very exciting exercise and everyone felt the owned a project they worked on.
It was never a compromise or done to please any vested interests.
I wish politically inspired projects would be like this.
Pettahan / November 26, 2015
please keep you advice pouring in on how the Tamils can go along and be subservient to the Sinhalese masters!
kilimanjaro / November 26, 2015
So you nut don’t want any development for Tamils? How is you kottai doing?
D.Nimal / November 26, 2015
Sivathasan is that diehard member of resrestaitaive of Tamil middle class which is member of political parties that urgently want majority citizens tax payers funds should be reinvest and diverted for North East projects development .
Sivatahsn’s forced and demand that Sri Lankan Republic majority tax payers funds and major Foreign capital funds that cloud be allocated revitalization of North economy destroy by LTTE and other Tamil political anarchist in Island.
He want UNP regime to be ignored south majority totally by ongoing ruling class of UNP Ranil.W CBK and MS regime by taken into account by last Tamil mandate only for build New Tamil middle class in North. Tamil democracy mandate and their justice is only belongs Tamils in Island. That could be take out from south to major portion money and power for prosperity of Tamil nation building .That is I called Tamil democracy.
Native Vedda / November 26, 2015
“Sivatahsn’s forced and demand that Sri Lankan Republic majority tax payers funds and major Foreign capital funds that cloud be allocated revitalization of North economy destroy by LTTE and other Tamil political anarchist in Island.”
What was there in North East for the LTTE to destroy?
Even the one that stood tall (magnificent) Jaffna Library was destroyed by Sinhala/Buddhist army, police and racist politicians.
Whatever they had in the North, remember the people of the North build it themselves with their own hard work, resourcefulness and living a frugal life style.
If you and your fellow racists do not want to pay for their development please let them go on their separate ways. They will find resources and ways to build their life and land.
What are your intentions?
Rajash / November 26, 2015
what is missing is IT Park. One of the most fastest growing industrial sector is Information and Communication Technolgy and Cloud Technology (ICT).
If you take India, all most all of the big ICT companies in the world have esatblished research laboratories and support centres in India. Young Indian ICT graduates dream job is to work for one of these companies. But the trend is changing. Young Indian graduates are now forming tech start up companies.
There is a huge untapped talent in the NE in this sector. NE should move away from traditional agriculture and water preservation and invest in ITC and exploit the growing internation demand for new technology that is changing the way we live, be it ordering Taxi or ordering a take away.
S,Sivathasan / November 26, 2015
Good that you have pointed out. I noted it to appear as an item for consideration, but it was not included in the Budget as an item if I am not mistaken.
Rajash / November 26, 2015
However I am dismayed that this fast growing sector is not included as an item in the budget.When I visited Sri Lanka recently I noticed in and around Colombo some ITC companies coming up. Sri Lanka is listed by Gartner (a leading opinion maker in the ICT sector) as one of the emerging countries for ICT.
Sri Lanka: Gartner previously rated Sri Lanka in the Top 30 locations in 2007. It has improved its scoring for “government support”, “infrastructure” and “political and economic environment”. Sri Lanka is now top 3 Tier 2 emerging market location
NPC should court companies like JIT, Virtusa, IFS etc etc to open research and training centres in the NE.
Our young boys can build planes from scratch and fly them in the dark and retun safely and undetected after accomplishing thier mission.
This demonstrate the talent that is available in the NE and we should harnass these talents in to the right channel.
Nirmala N / November 27, 2015
This is brilliant.
I couldn’t believe you have so much wealth of knowledge levelling to my capacity.
I like read more like this.
With love and regards.
sinhalese buddhist / November 26, 2015
The North and East was destroyed during the war by all the warring factions in a combined effort. Obviously helicopter gun ships and MiG jets can do much more significant damage to buildings and infrastructure than suicide bombers and IEDs can.
The issue now should be to do what is morally and economically right by the people of the North and East. As such the highlighted projects are most welcome.
However, I wonder if the list is missing one item: vocational training. It’s been said many a time that since several generations of youth have been sacrificed to the war, the vocational skill levels of the residents is not on par with those from the rest of the island. Thus they have to bring in labour from outside, thus depriving the residents of a job opportunity.
It is unrealistic, just like in the other parts of the island, to only encourage the “doctor/engineer”-only model of education. A country needs to diversify its talent pool, and we do need janitors, physiotherapists, electricians, just as much as we need doctors, IT experts and engineers. Isn’t that the reason why Korea is now importing Sri Lankans, despite high levels of un/underemployment there?
Sellam / November 26, 2015
Everything you stated is a welcome gesture, but do you know that the Tamils are living in a co coo’s land. Or are building castles in the air.
Plan B / November 26, 2015
Some thoughts related to Industrial Parks, Bio-Technology Parks and Wind and Solar Power Projects:
I hope one of it would be built in North or East.
In my opinion, government should also allocate funding to start incubator programs at 4 or 5 local Universities. Selected students should be encouraged to work further on their final year projects after graduation and financial assistants should be provided.
Focus and training at the incubator programs should be provided to 2nd tier graduates to polish up their raw talents. Those are the one would become excellent learners, teachers and local workforce to build their communities.
If we look at the history of top graduates from Sri Lankan Universities especially in Science and Engineering, most of those top graduates would leave the country for higher studies and many of them would not come back or directly involve with the development of the country for the next 30+ years. But those top talents would become financial resources for local communities. Government should have a plan to connect those over achievers with their communities. So part of the financial support to the incubator programs at local universities can be provided by those alumni or alumni associations.
If we look at the trend at top 100 Universities, all schools have developed their own incubator programs and those programs are managed by those who built businesses from scratch.
Narendran / November 27, 2015
Dear Mr Sivathasan
Please ring this walk up call as laud as possible. There are tamils who are prepared to be forward looking and productive and are prepared to play a role in engaging to streer our economic future..
The starting point would be capacity building of our people for a sustainable development, to ensure that we are not a hand out dependent society. Development projects must be carried out by the locals in an engaging and participatory manner with Colombo. People have suffered enough and must start experience some relief urgently. Hands off attitudes will allow our economic future decided by remote control
Engaging professional diaspora to give this a push to start, is very essential. Especially with the prevailing defensive and reactionary mindset on the ground. This may be understandable due to the long suffering they endured
D.Nimal / November 27, 2015
Sivtahasan want cost of south majority people that surplus labor power to be used build purely ‘New Middle class’ for Tamil to be gain Eealm state by hook or crook. They seek ‘Tamil democracy and Tamil capitalism’ base on ethnic oriented system of Global economy.
This is long term political and economic strategy of TNA, LTTE, Tamil diaspora and other Tamil anarchist outfits guided by Sivadahasan.
Tamils political class that always blame to Sinhalese people, that they who destroy their feudal and back ward civilization! Who destroy and lost of billions of wealth of our country.
Of cause LTTE have to share as well as UNP did to our nation last 67 years of lost and destroy our people. LTTE cannot escaped from their accountability any way.
CHANAKYAN / November 27, 2015
If you do not have the capacity even to write simple sentences in grammatical English, why do you set out to cross swords with others?
Sri-Krish / November 27, 2015
Thanks for your response, You had initiated a healthy discussion with worthwhile comments especially from Rajesh, ,Kettikaran, Sinhala Buddhist and Pan B. and your interesting article also fuel further issues.
You had extracted some of the projects related to the North from the Government Budget proposal for the year 2016:
• Engineering Faculty in Kilinochchi
• Agriculture Faculty in Vavuniya
• Upgrading Jaffna Hospital
• Cancer Hospital Nallur
• 20,000 houses in Mannar and Mullaithivu, and
• Red Clay Factory in Oddusuddan
Let us have an open discussion on each item. We must always keep in mind that we are a resource scarce country and the financial resources are limited and therefore have to be prioritized and carefully managed. When I refer to country it includes Northern Provincial Council as well.
I just pose a few provoking questions for a healthy brain storming discussion.
The project for 20000 houses and red clay factory are worthwhile projects and should be welcomed.
The issues are with the other items.
How these items were identified and prioritized. Are they based on any national or regional policy? I am opposed to establishing regional universities in the region not national universities in the regions.
We should have international or national universities to make them universal not merely in name but in fact also.
Of course we should have technical colleges in every region.We already have quite a large number of them, but are not attracting sufficient quality students and the outcome is questionable.
The University of Jaffna even after the recent influx of students from other parts of the country still remains catering mainly to Tamil students from Jaffna. It still could not be called a national university.
A mechanism should be devised within the schools system for effective career guidance and encourage all university drop outs to opt for technical education and facilitate establishment of micro and small enterprises to engage in income generating activities.
Upgrading Jaffna Hospital and Cancer hospital in Jaffna are again counterproductive. Why not continue to use the already established hospitals in other parts of the country and upgrade them for the entire nation.
Let us have Need assessment study with respect to every part of the country including war affected Northern and Eastern provinces and formulate and have well thought out projects in the pipeline before embarking implementation.
S,Sivathasan / November 29, 2015
It is said that if resource be scarce the people become resourceful. As a nation, have we become so? No. The very first imperative is austerity. But what is seen is ostentation. ‘The headpiece is fine, though the saree is borrowed’, goes a Tamil saying.
Mandated commitments for 2016 on just three item are: Salaries & Wages Rs 658 billion, Debt Repayment Rs 649 billion and Defence Rs. 275 billion = Rs 1.582 trillion. Tax revenue = Rs 1.584 trillion.
Added to the three majors are Pensions, Transfers for subsidies and Provision for penury alleviation. Deficit reaches an unabated Rs. 740 billion next year. Cumulative Public Debt may approach Rs.8.5 trillion if not exceed by end 2016.
Minister of Finance takes pride in the 70th budget. Yes, 67 years of molly coddling and the 68th year of feather bedding.
At this juncture idealism faces reality and meets with its inevitable fate. Casualties are many. Continuation works (already on stream) survive. People’s voice is never God’ voice. What chance do grass roots have? Not even a dog’s chance. Though bitter, this is the blunt truth. – This refers to Capital Works, which are developmental.
Reviling the budget as a product of the bureaucrat is pointless. It cannot be otherwise. “A King is like a beggar before a bureaucrat, because of the latter’s monopoly over information”- so said Peter Drucker, eminent sociologist and Author.
All what have been thought of by others and steered through, let us go along with.
All what we think of anew let us channel to the relevant places well in time.
Let interested persons band themselves into groups and turn activists for their proposals to carry more weight and to sail through.
Native Vedda / November 28, 2015
” Why not continue to use the already established hospitals in other parts of the country and upgrade them for the entire nation.”
A snake bites a man in Jaffna. Are you suggesting he should be transported to Galle just because Galle has the already established hospital and situated in other part of the country?
Probably a good idea. But our aim should be saving the man’s life from snake bite.
“It still could not be called a national university.”
Would you like to have a good university with high academic standards or national university which is not fit for the purpose?
Good university needs good academic staff, resources, high quality journals, good management, etc.
Agnos / November 28, 2015
Good thinking and good ideas, and it shows your administrative expertise.
I would suggest, though, there needs to be more investment in better teaching from Kindergarten to Grade 12, as well as more training to improve tertiary teaching, are needed. It wouldn’t make sense to build IT parks and the like, without having a steady supply of high quality employees.
Sri- Krish / November 28, 2015
Native Veda, You have raised some valid points,
Let me make the context clear before proceeding further.
Now we all agree that separate state is out and we are going to live in a United Sri Lanka with dignity and self respect as equal citizens in all part of Sri Lanka.
If this is agreed, then,
Why should Jaffna hospital have to be upgraded? If it is to provide treatment to snake bites and similar emergencies, then I totally agree with you.
But I am sure that such facilities are already available in the North and also almost in all district hospitals.
Then, Why Should Jaffna hospital have to be upgraded? Do we need concrete jungle?
Centralization or decentralization depends on the need and not merely to satisfy the whims and fancies of interested parties.
Should we have Zoological Gardens and Museums in every district?, BMICH like conference halls in every district? Universities in every district?
Is it possible to maintain the same standard and provide quality service everywhere?
Have the north had already built up Jaffna University as a University with international standard?
There are criticisms that Jaffna University is only a glorified high school?
Why should anyone add a burden to a struggling university?
The citizens of the North have equal right and claim to the Engineering faculty at Peradeniya and Moratuwa and the Agriculture faculty at peradeniya.
it is ours as well.Why should we duplicate and provide easy opportunity for racists in the South to discriminate.
The citizens of the north should never give up this right!
Dr.Rajasingham Narendran / November 28, 2015
I am in full agreement with what you said. Education, especially at the university level, should broaden our outlook. We should not be confined to a small pond and moulded into narrow minded bigots. Let us have a good or excelllent university of very high standards and excellent standing. Let us not expand a degree mill producing mediocrities moulded by mediocrits. Let the limited resources available in the country be devoted to develop centers of excellence in subjects relevant to us. A person graduating from a good university, should adorn his subject. The reverse happens to day in the dreary desert called university education.
What you have said is true of the hospitals too. Why is the General Hospital and its speciality units, being developed within Jaffna city? Is’nt it happening to meet the schooling needs of the specialist’s children? The fact is that the most sought after schools are spread around the Jaffna hospital. This notwithstanding the fact this location is the least hygienic and has very poor drainage and related facilities. This hospital should have been moved out of Jaffna soon after the war , when funds were becoming available for new buildings and expansions. However, Douglas Devananda did not seize the opportunity and the vested interest of the doctors had the final say.
Sri- Krish / November 28, 2015
I agree as a first priority Jaffna hospital should be moved out of the present location-the sooner the better.