The people in the North desire to co-exist with other communities and lead a peaceful life by resolving their day to day problems rather than divide the country. This is what I observed during my recent visit to the North. The North Provincial Council should extend its fullest support to the central government to enable it to attain its socio-economic development goals,said Most Ven. Warakagoda Gnaratana Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter.
The Asgiriya Chief Prelate said this delivering an Anusasana when Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran called on him at his temple in Kandy and received his blessings on September 10.
The Asgiriya Mahanayake Thera said people in the rest of the country at large who were battered by a 30 year cruel war also had the same aspiration rather than a division of the country.
The Asgiriya Chief Prelate said he had the opportunity to interact with religions dignitaries as well as ordinary people during his northern visit.
Ven. Anamaduwe Dhammadassi Anunayake Thera said solutions should be found to the schooling, problem of children, shortage of public servants and unemployment problem to bring normalcy to public life in the North. There problems were common to people in the South too. The government should try to resolve these problems before tackling more difficult tasks like constitutional amendments.
Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran said Tamil Buddhist devotees had lived in the North even 300 yeas ago as stated in a book authored by Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne. He said he was not a separatist and that federalism should never be misinterpreted as a division of the country.
Since the majority of people in the North were Tamils they should be given priority in all activities in the region. “Even all provinces in the country could be offered federal status ,if needed, because if would not amount to a division ,” Vigneswaran added.
Although Chief Minister of other provinces had a chief Minister’s fund, the chief Minister of the North had not been given that facility. If he too was given that facility he would be able to render a better service to his people. He said nearly Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 10,000 million was required annually to cater to the needs in the province whereas they only received a meagre Rs. 1,400 million in funding which was woefully inadequate.
Ven.Wendaruwe Upali Anunayake Thera and Ven. Medagama Dhammananda Thera also spoke.
Northern Provincial Council Women’s Affairs Minister Mrs. Anandi Shashidaran accompanied the Chief Minister, during visit.