By N. Ariff –
Sainthamaruthu that is located on the coastal belt of the Eastern Province of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has a long history. It is one of the olden villages in the province. Sainthamaruthu area prospered by the sea on the east and the agricultural tract on the west consisted of six divisions from KP 47 to KP 53 during the British rule. It was also a separate Village Council called Karavahu Village Council that was a separate self-administrative structure in 1928.
After the enactment of Pradesiya Sabha Act No.: 15 of 1987 by the Parliament, Sainthamaruthu area was brought together with the Kalmunai Town Council with a view to form Kalmunai Pradesiya Sabha in 1987. As the people of Sainthamaruthu realized that the merger was a selfish act of some people, the demand for a separate Local Government Body to Sainthamaruthu emerged in 1988.
Even though the demand for the separate Local Government Body to Sainthamaruthu was made by the Trustee Board of Sainthamaruthu Jummah Mosque, and Social Services Organizations, scholars and social activists in Sainthamaruthu then and there from 1988, it gained the momentum only very recently. The political upheaval prevailing in the area is also one of the main reasons for the current greater dimension in the demand.
The boundaries of the Sainthamaruthu Divisional Secretary’s Division formed on the 4th of February, 2001 were established by the Extra Ordinary Gazette Notification of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka dated 13.10.2006. The Division is clearly and categorically bounded by the Zahira National School Road on the north, by the Maligaikadu Road on the south, by the sea on the east and by the Vettu Aaru on the west. There won’t be any issue to be raised with regard to its boundary when a new separate Local Government Body is formed to the Sainthamaruthu Divisional Secretary’s Division.
Kalmunai Municipal Council with its inadequate resources struggles to provide its services to the population consisting of more than one hundred thousand. If Sainthamaruthu Divisional Secretary’s Division is separated from the Kalmunai Municipal Council in the form of a Local Government Body, it will be effective and beneficial to all the ethnicities under the Kalmunai Municipal Council. If different views are expressed in this regard, it will be only personal and narrow thinking.
As the demand which is reasonable and justifiable was moved for the personal gaining of politicians and individuals, it is still a demand not materialized. As various meaningful efforts were made by several social organizations under the leadership of the Trustee Board of Sainthamaruthu very recently, this was an important issue of the area in the recently concluded parliamentary election.
The members of Sainthamaruthu Welfare Forum met former Ministers Hon. Karu Jayasuriya and Hon. Rauff Hakeem before the parliamentary election and discussed with them with regard to the establishment of a separate Local Government Body to Sainthamaruthu. The Forum also requested by its letter His Excellency the President Maithiripala Sirisena to form a separate Local Government Body to Sainthamaruthu considering the aspirations of the people of Sainthamaruthu.
While several leaders of various political parties promised the people of Sainthamaruthu that they would obtain a separate Local Government Body to Sainthamaruthu for the people in Sainthamaruthu, the pledge made by the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the mammoth election rally held in Kalmunai during the parliamentary election provided the people of Sainthamaruthu a confidence that their dream would realize sooner than late. They also voted for the victory of the United National Front in the General Election.
The people of Sainthamaruthu are eagerly anticipating that the Separate Local Government Body for Sainthamaruthu will bloom before the Local Government Elections to be held in November of this year. Will it bloom so? Yes, it is in the hands of the National Unity Government.
*Dr. N. Ariff is currently working as District Medical Officer at Sainthamaruthu District Hospital