SLA tightens restriction on travel, CDMA phone use, in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 30 July 2008, 17:40 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Jaffna Commander, Major. Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri announced fresh measures that would further curtail travel out of the peninsula and the use of CDMA wireless phones in the peninsula in a meeting held Wednesday morning in Thellippalai area in SLA Palaali High Security Zone (HSZ). Jaffna Government Agent (GA), K. Ganesh, Heads of government departments and corporations and representatives of various organizations participated in the meeting.

Some of the participants raised concern about the issue of suspended travel pass and CDMA wireless phone connections with the presiding SLA Commander.

Addressing the issues, he told that those traveling out of Jaffna peninsula should first submit the addresses where they will be staying and these addresses will be sent to Defence Ministry first to be checked and on clearance from there travel pases will be issued.

Persons staying in addresses not approved by the Defence Ministry when they are out of the peninsula will face drastic consequences, the Maj. General warned.

Government officials traveling on official duty will be issued passes in their area SLA civil administrative offices but those traveling for other purposes should, like everyone else, follow the normal procedure and obtain travel pass in their local SLA administrative offices, he said.

Police officers have nearly finished registering the finger prints of the CDMA wireless phone customers in the peninsula who had applied to have their suspended phone connections reactivated and these finger prints will be sent to Defence Ministry for clearance, he informed.

The TELECOM office in Jaffna will then reactivate the suspended CDMA phone connections to the applicants issued clearance by the ministry, he added.

One of the civil society representatives who attended this meeting told that the SLA commander had hinted that a considerable number of CDMA wireless phone customers will have their phone connections cut off permanently.

The issuing of Special SLA Identity Cards to all persons in the peninsula between 13 and 60 years old is almost complete and we expect to finish this project before the end of November, Major Chandrasiri said.

Meanwhile, SLA had unofficially suspended the issue of travel pass out of Jaffna peninsula and the number of persons sailing by ship has dropped from the normal 300 per day to below 100 passengers due to the suspension of the issue of travel pass.

Only one of the two Air travel agencies continue to serve as the other had suspended flights long time ago due to the drop in the number of passengers.

Though SLA had earlier announced that the ship and flight services will be completely suspended on 25 July, this suspension will be first imposed from 1 to 5 August in view of the SAARC conference in Colombo, the attendees were told.

On the whole, the residents of Jaffna peninsula are being gradually ensnared in increasing number of SLA restrictions which seem to aim at cutting all their relation with other parts of the island as well as the outer world, the representative observed.


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