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Sri Lanka: Ground View Oct 2007

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Sri Lanka
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CHA
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Provide water for the East

By Asvida

Water is central to man's existence. So when one community is deprived of this essential commodity, the very survival of that community is endangered. And supplying water to a deprived group can come as a blessing in a conflict-ridden zone.

The prevailing ceasefire was threatened when the LTTE closed the Mawilaru sluice gates depriving people in the area of water. The military forces then launched a rescue operation. Subsequently the mission was extended to liberating the Eastern province from the LTTE.

The military operation to liberate the East from the LTTE ended with Forces capturing Thoppigala and the Government celebrating victory by spending millions of rupees. After a few weeks the Government announced the launch of the Eastern development project which focused on ensuring democracy, law and order in the Eastern province and uplifting the living standards of people.

As the Government blew its trumpets about liberating and developing the East in a big way, former Secretary General of the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka, Lalit Godamunne expressed his bewilderment as to why no one in the Government or at the administrative level spoke about developing the right bank of the Maduru Oya. Mr. Godamunne said the project was put off due to alleged opposition by the LTTE and now the Government had an excellent opportunity to complete the mission of developing the East by providing water to the province.

"The System B lies along either side of the downstream Maduru Oya reservoir in the administrative districts of Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa and Ampara. The Maduru Oya Right Bank development project was meant entirely for the Batticaloa district, which has a larger Tamil population. My personal belief is that the LTTE did not like this phase to take off in fear that they would lose control of the area," he said. He pointed out that if the project was completed, thousands of families could have found employment and the area could have been better developed...