Resettlement of IDPs within 180 days not possible – SL Minister
[TamilNet, Sunday, 26 July 2009, 06:21 GMT]
Sri Lanka Minister of Electricity and Energy, Aluthananda Gamage told media in Jaffna Saturday that it will not be possible to resettle Vanni IDPs in Ki’linochchi within 180 days. Aluthananda Gamage, who is staying in Jaffna to campaign in the forthcoming Jaffna Municipal Council also said that the opening of the A9 route to public will be considered only after decisions are made in a Defence Ministry conference on the issue. Meanwhile, Basil Rajapakse, brother of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse and his advisor, had inaugurated the bus service from Jaffna to Colombo Wednesday declaring that the service will be conducted every other day in a week in a much publicized event.
The bus service inaugurated by Basil Rajapakse did not continue while the Media Minister, in a recent interview in Colombo, said that people travelling between Jaffna and Colombo could only do so by air or sea.
Aluthananda Gamage answering a question Saturday in the press meet said that transport service via A9 route will commence only if the Defence Ministry approves it in a conference that will be held shortly.
Reginald Cooray, the former Chief Minister of Western Provincial Council, was also present in the press meet.
Responding to another question the minister said that it is not possible to immediately lift or relax the restrictions imposed by the Defence Ministry in Jaffna peninsula and that it would only take place gradually.
The system of obtaining ‘pass’ from the Defence Ministry to travel between Jaffna and Colombo will not be done away under any circumstances and people travelling to Colombo should continue to register their names with the police in the respective places they stay in Colombo, Aluthananda Gamage told the media.
The minister, however, said that the IDPs from Vanni, Mannaar and Jaffna would soon be resettled.
Despite promises by visiting ministers and ruling party politicians that all restrictions in the peninsula would be lifted they are continued to be strictly imposed by the Defence Ministry, civil society sources in Jaffna said.