UNP demands transparency in relief distribution
[TamilNet, Friday, 14 January 2005, 03:29 GMT]
Amidst growing concern over charges that the tsunami aid operation is not being properly handled, opposition United National Party (UNP) leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe met SriLanka's President Chandrika Kumarathunga to discuss his party's plan for the re-building of Srilanka, an officials said.
The UNP Parliamentarian Prof. G.L.Peiris told the media at a press conference Thursday that the UNP believed the government's plan to rebuild the country will not benefit the several thousands of people in relief camps and other places.
He said that although all-party committee has decided to give special Identycards to tsunami victims in welfare centres and elsewhere for the effective distribution of relief but that had not been done yet.
Prof. G.L.Peiris said that according to information available to the UNP, the United Peoples Freedom Alliance government has decided to allocate only US$ 200 million for relief and US$ 700 million was being kept for infrastructure rebuilding. He added that UNP felt the proportion was wrong since most of the aid was given for humanitarian assistance.
The UNP at its working committee meeting on Monday passed a resolution urging the government to ensure transparency and accountability of all stakeholders involved in the implementation of rehabilitation work on the tsunami devastated areas.
Addressing a special meeting of the UNP parliamentary group yesterday. Mr. Wickremesinghe said the death toll in Srilanka might top 50,000 and rebuilding should focus on people who have suffered and not much on the infrastructure. He said the loss of human life was the biggest catastrophe and the unprecedented amounts of aid received should be channelled mainly to rebuilding the lives and the livelihood of the victims, Mr. Peiris further said.
The opposition leader also called for national unity and urged all parties to closely and critically monitor how effectively the aid was being utilised and to ensure that every Rupee went to the affected people..
The UNP party's assistant secretary Mr. Tissa Attanayaka also participated in that meeting.