News in Brief:

[TamilNet, Saturday, 24 July 1999, 19:09 GMT]
Trincomalee residents alarmed by illegal settlements, SLA casualty in Vavuniya road accident, Teachers demand payment of risk allowance; Confusion over alternative exam arrangements.

Trincomalee residents alarmed by illegal settlements

Land belonging to Hindu temples and individual Tamils in Trincomalee town is being illegally seized by members of the Sinhalese community, said residents.

Sources in the area said that land in the Mattikali area, the entrance to Trincomalee town, has now been taken by members of the Sinhalese community.

Day and night temporary huts are being put up while private and temple land is being fenced off, residents added.

Complaints have been made to the police regarding the illegal settlements but no action has been taken, sources said.

The police were told that if the settlements were allowed to continue growing, the town's peace would be disturbed, sources added.

SLA casualty in Vavuniya road accident

One soldier was killed and another wounded in a road accident this afternoon at sector eight of the Police positions along the Vavuniya - Mannar road, said sources.

The wounded soldier was brought to Vavuniya hospital while the body of the dead soldier was taken to Anuradhapura, sources added.

Meanwhile SLA soldiers cordoned off the environs of Poonthoddam and conducted a house to house search operation yesterday, residents said.

Poonthoddam is about 2 km north east of Vavuniya town.

The search operation was conducted on tip off that there were LTTE cadres in the area, sources said. However, no was arrested.

Teachers demand payment of risk allowance

Teachers and Principals in the Vavuniya district will launch a strike starting on July 29 if they are not paid their risk allowance for 1998, teaching trade union representatives told local reporters today.

The representatives of Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union, Ceylon Muslim Teachers Union, Independent Teachers Union and the Principals Union were present at the meeting with reporters.

"We have requested the President, Minister of Education and Higher Education and the Governor of North East Province to pay the risk allowance and the salary balance to the teachers and the Principals in the province alike. We have requested that the payment should be made before July 28. Otherwise we will go for trade union action," they said.

Earlier various teachers' unions had warned that if they were not paid the risk allowance they would perform exam duties for the forthcoming G.C.E. A/L examinations.

The new deadline will affect marking for end of term papers and progress reports for students, sources said.

Confusion over alternative exam arrangements

The UNHCR is making arrangements with government officials to transport by sea question papers for the G.C.E A - Level exams to the LTTE held areas of the Vanni, said sources.

However, officials at the Department of Education have said that they cannot collect completed papers from the LTTE held areas of the Vanni as officials from the NGO's are fenced into their offices by a public protest outside demanding the opening of a route into the rest of the Vanni, sources said.

Government authorities have also been asked to transport the question papers via a land route along with a consignment of fuel, as there is a shortage of fuel in the area, sources added. Meanwhile reports from the Vanni said that parents and candidates are worried about the GCE A/L examination as admission cards have not yet been sent.


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