By Ananth Palakidnar
Northern Province Chief Minister (CM) C.V. Wigneswaran criticized the Government saying that under the banner of Good Governance it had deceived the people in the North and the East and had the support of Parliamentarians elected from the two Provinces, who failed to fulfill the pledges highlighted in their election manifestos.
As the five-year term of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) which was established in October of 2013 came to an end yesterday (23), Wigneswaran, who stepped down from his position as the first elected Chief Minister of the NPC delivered a lengthy speech at the final sitting of the NPC.
Wigneswaran also distributed a booklet to NPC Chairman C.V.K. Sivagnanam and other Councillors on the performances of the NPC in the past five years.
Wigneswaran said: “I was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the Province during the previous Government under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
When I assumed duties as the Northern Chief Minister, Rajapaksa agreed to sort out several problems which existed in the post-war Northern Province. But he didn’t act in a positive manner towards this end by devolving more powers to the NPC, as was agreed under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution with the signing of the Indo- Lanka Accord of 1987.”
“However, after losing faith in the previous Government, our people brought in the present Government, which campaigned under the banner of good governance. It is a pity to see the present Government using the good governance banner not only to deceive our people but even to deceive the international community.”
“With the end of the war, the Northern Province largely remained under a military administration. Our people’s demand for self-determination and greater devolution has been ignored by the previous regime as well as by the present Government.”
“ The Army has been given an upper hand and 60,000 acres of land are still under the possession of the Army in the Northern Province. Compared to the lands in the possession of the Army, a minute area of lands have been released to the civilians,“ Wigneswaran claimed.
Explaining the allocations made to the NPC by the Government, Wigneswaran pointed out that when the NPC demanded more allocations, the Government was reluctant and it was only during the final year of the NPC that the Government had allocated Rs 4,000 million for the NPC for 2019.
Wigneswaran also warned the Northerners of the post-NPC period and urged them to be cautious over the Northern Governor’s administration.
“The Northern Governor’s governance will remain a case of where the operation is successful but the patient is dead,“ Wigneswaran opined.
Meanwhile, referring to the recent speech made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Oxford University, London, Wigneswaran pointed out that the Premier had told an utter lie that the Northerners want the Army to remain in the Province.
The outgoing NPC CM also called for an early election for the NPC instead of continuing with the Governor’s rule.
Meanwhile, the theme song for the NPC was also introduced when the Council’s period came to an end yesterday.
School students from Vadamarchchi also witnessed the final sittings of the NPC.
Students who are Ministers and Members of the Youth Parliament from Vadamarachchi observed the final sittings.
Northern Provincial Councilor M.K Sivajilingam had obtained permission from the Council administration for the Vadamarchchi school students to participate as observers of the final sittings.
Northern Provincial Councillors also greeted Wigneswaran for his 79th birthday during the Council sittings. Sivagnanam gave a greeting speech on behalf of the Council following which the CM was honoured with a golden shawl by the Councilors.
Additional Reporting By Thambithurai Pratheepan