'Poverty alleviation program neglects Tamil poor in Trinco' -TRO
[TamilNet, Saturday, 22 June 2002, 23:15 GMT]
A large number of Tamil people in Mutur East, in the Trincomalee district, live under the poverty line; they eat yams and green leaves in their areas, and malnutrition has affected many pregnant women and children, but their needs have been neglected by the government, according to Mr.S.Kumaragurparan, Secretary of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO).
Speaking at a discussion held on the first day of the residential workshop on Poverty Alleviation held Saturday in Trincomalee, he said that thirty-two villages in Mutur East needed immediate attention. "It is regrettable to note that not a single village level representative from the village level organizations in the district has been invited to participate in this workshop," he said.
The two day regional residential workshop on Poverty Alleviation was inaugurated Saturday at the guesthouse of the North East Provincial Council, which is located at Uppuveli, a suburb in Trincomalee town. The UNDP and the Ministry assisting Vanni Rehabilitation, with the collaboration of the NEPC provincial planning secretariat, have organized the workshop.
Dr.Nandana Gunawardene, assistant resident representative of the UNDP, gave the introductory speech. The keynote address was delivered by the acting Chief Secretary of the NEPC, Mr.K.Shanmugalingam.
During the discussions, Mr.Kumaraguruparan reminded the audience that the pathetic plight of hundreds of thousands of Tamil villagers suffering due to poverty had not been addressed properly at the forum.
"Those who participate in this workshop are persons who in real life have not seen or heard what poverty means. Representatives of people who suffer poverty due to the war situation should have been invited to attend this workshop if the organizers are really interested in the welfare of the poor people," he said.
Mr.Kumaraguruparan said he was not officially invited for the workshop, but he volunteered to attend.
Mr.M.I.S.Rafeek, an Agro-economist of the Department of Agriculture, Mr. Johnson, Assistant Director of Planning, Ms. P. Rajeswaran, Mr.V. S.Swaminthan and Mr.N.Puhendran, the project director, addressed the first day workshop.