Lethargic response hurt Batticaloa tsunami development– NECORD Official

[TamilNet, Friday, 08 December 2006, 12:08 GMT]
R.Sivanandarajah, deputy director of North East Community Restoration and Development (NECORD), speaking as the chief guest at the prize giving ceremony and laying of the foundation for a new three storied building at Chenkallady Central College on Wednesday morning 9:00 am, said that the delay in receiving expenditure proposals for reconstruction of the Tsunami-ravaged Batticaloa District was the reason for non-allocation of funds for development of some of the affected areas in the district.

The day’s activities in the premiere educational institution in Eastern Sri Lanka commenced with the opening ceremony by Principal K.Sritharan followed by welcome speech of Vice-Principal S.Chitravadivel.

Mr.Sivanandarajah detailed the difficulties faced by NECORD in implementing the various developmental projects in the district.

Excerpts from Sivanandarajah's speech follows:

"A number of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) initiated different developmental projects in this area. The organizations involved in the construction of schools damaged or destroyed by Tsunami disaster notified us at the start of reconstruction that there was no need for any funds. But now they are demanding immediate payment if they are to continue their work.

"In Batticaloa district, only NECORD project is functioning efficiently with an investment of many lakhs of rupees. Asian Development Bank (ADB) provides the funds for our projects. We rarely seek publicity for our projects and that is why I chose to provide some facts and figures, on this occasion.

"The development projects for Batticaloa begun in 2002 and is nearing completion of five years of service. Project is organized into five stages- NECORD, NECORD-2, NECORD-3, Conflict Affected Area Rehabilitation Project (CAARP), and Tsunami project. A total of 1800 million rupees have been allocated for the projects.

"Furthermore, 206 specific projects have been identified in this district and they include a variety of sectors such as Education, Health, Housing, Resettlement, Agriculture, Transportation, Drinking water and Internal Infrastructure. An additional amount of 1200 million rupees have been ear- marked for the projects. These were considered part of CAARP project and NECORD-2.

"In Batticaloa district, a number of school buildings and their furniture were damaged due to two decades of ethnic violence. As a result, we had to devote most of our time for only the developmental work of Education Department. Even then we are not in a position to provide assistance for all the affected schools. At the most, we are able to construct just one building for each of the schools. Since the Education office in Kalkudah Zone compiled the required information concerning the needs of the affected schools and submitted an effective plan, 12 lakhs of rupees were allocated to Chenkaladi Central College through Schools Development Society. Sustained efforts of the Principal was the reason for speedy allocation of funds for construction of this new building. In addition, the contractors who successfully submitted the tenders have taken genuine interest in the growth and development of the school contributing to the effective implementation of the building projects.

"Since there is a ban in place for transport of building materials to "uncleared" areas, construction in such areas have been temporarily suspended. Even though large sums of money have been allocated for two projects in Batticola District-150 million rupees for expansion of Urugamamkulam in Kithul area and 67 million rupees for development work in Kathiraveli – both projects have been been suspended due to the present crisis.

“It is sad to note that though facilities are available to commence work on identified projects, yet the current situation prevents us from embarking on some of these projects. Out of a total of 1800 million rupees allocated for the development of this district, only 900 million has been spent so far. I like to suggest that, the unutilized funds could be used for construction and development of schools in "cleared" in the district," Mr.Sivanandarajah concluded.

A.Sugumaran, Education officer Eravur Zone and M. Mahendirarajah, President of Multi Purpose Co-Operative Society, Eravur North West also spoke.

A total of 351 students were awarded prizes for their achievements in various fields.

Mr.Sivanantharajah was honoured with a golden shawl at the end of the day’s activities.

 

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