People of Vaakarai demand basic telephone facilities
[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 December 2002, 16:25 GMT]
Government employees and residents of Vaakarai, located 64 km north of Batticaloa, have demanded that the SL Telecom should provide basic telephone facilities to the area.
Though telephone connections are currently available in the LTTE controlled Paduvankarai area in the Batticaloa district, no such facility is available in Vaakarai, also controlled by the LTTE.
Following the ceasefire agreement, telephone facilities were made available to Vellaveli, Kokkadicholai and Pattipalai, all areas under LTTE control, and the public has greatly benefited from this. But the people of Vaakarai have seen no effort to provide telephone services to their area.
When the Sri Lankan Army was encamped at Kathiraveli in Vaakarai, Sri Lanka Telecom provided the post office and the SLA camp with wireless phone connections. The facilities then available at the post office made it easier for the people of Vaakarai to communicate with those outside the area.
When the SLA closed its camps and moved out of Vaakarai in 2000, all phone services through the post office were discontinued on the orders of the SLA. In the current environment of peace, government officials and public in the village demand that the SL Telecom should make efforts to establish telephone services to government offices and public organizations.
A representative of a public organization in Vaakarai said that generally people talk about SLA-controlled Eluvankarai in the east and the LTTE-controlled Paduvankarai in the west of Batticaloa town. But Vaakarai to the north is often ignored when funds for development work are allocated. He said that transport facilities are non-existent in the area and without telephone facilities people in the area struggle in dealing with emergencies. He echoed the people’s demand that the SL Telecom should make more efforts to provide telephone facilities to the area.