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We (Private and Public sector) together can restore North and East

By Ian

(June 13, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The real victims of the war that ravaged in the country are/were the innocent civilians of all communities. Whatever the political solution if given will only benefit few people who will come to power and not the civilians in the north and east.

In my belief the government could get extensive support and participation of the private sector and the private individuals to expediently bring the normalcy to the civilians in the NE who had suffered immensely. We Sri Lankans can develop NE without the support of INGOs but by using our collective generosity and ideas.

Importance of rapid development in NE

If the current President, Defense Secretary and the heads of armed forces are going to be at the helm for next century we can be assured that the separatist head will not emerge again. However it is not going to be so. Hence we have use other ways to make sure that the uprising does not reoccur. While providing constitutional, security and other safeguards against the repetition we should also do things that will make man power not available for another uprising. In almost all insurgency movements it is clear that the rebel leaders use the frustrations in the youth due to lack of jobs etc. to convert the anger towards the centre or towards another community they paint as advantaged. If there are educational opportunities and then job opportunities the youth will take the normal course and be busy in life to support the armed rebellion sacrificing a good life. Therefore the best way to prevent another uprising is create opportunities to the youth.

Importance of participation of the southern people/corporate in NE development

LTTE brainwashed the ordinary Tamils in the north that the majority is discriminating against them. Apart form the language issues, they also highlighted some the imaginary and some real disparity of opportunities to gain support for their ‘cause’. The resultant war also went on to cement the anger among the ordinary Tamils against the southerners. Now if the people of the other parts get together in developing the NE then the anger of the ordinary people (if any)of any discrimination by the majority will also can be removed to a certain extent. Ordinary people from the south frequenting the north and east and been seen and hands -on involvement in upgrading the lives of the ordinary folks will rebuilt that love and trust that existed in the past before the self serving Tamil politicians and subsequently LTTE crated this mental divide. Also we could substantially reduce the involvement of foreign NGOs that get involved in the development thereby reducing the ill effects of these NGOs on the territorial integrity of the country.

Private and state partnership

There are several areas the state has to provide infrastructure such as roading, Water and Electricity and water etc. Also there are areas the state can do such as tax breaks for companies that establish in NE and provide employment to the people. However there are also several areas such as education and healthcare where large private and state sector companies can contribute and assist the state to do the restoration work expediently and also contribute in thinking and managing using the private sector management skills. A list of areas is given below for other thinkers to expand on it and work together in making the lives of the ordinary people of North and East far better than that they lived under the LTTE.

Education

(a) To request all large corporates of both public and private sector to adopt 1 to 3 schools each in the NE. The corporate sector includes state and private banks, listed companies, private companies, state corporations, high net worth individuals and other philanthropists.

(b) The said companies can rebuild the school infrastructure including buildings, laboratories, libraries, furniture, sports equipment and sports infrastructure.

(c) The could provide funds to recruit additional teachers (in addition to what state could provide) for sports activities, teaching English, teaching IT and also to fill other teacher shortages between what the stat could initially provide.

(d) The companies could provide resource persons to prepare children for examinations and also for career guidance etc.

(e) The companies also could provide scholarships for school education period and also later for university education, to the needy children of their allocated schools.

(f) The companies could also assess the gaps in nutrition levels of the children and provide addition meals and supplementary nutrition requirements.

(g) If the companies so wish they could provide additional support to the families of the children of the allocated schools.

(h) Once the children complete their education the suitable children can be absorbed to apprenticeships programs and for employment for the said companies.

(i) The company that is assisting the hospital is allowed to publicize the fact that the hospital is supported ad maintained by them within the premises and elsewhere.

(j) The private sector managers will bring many innovations this and once a year the best school supporting company could be selected and recognized based on the output.

Higher education

(a) To set up at least one more university to the north and set up several post school industrial schools (such as IT school, Hotel school, Nursing School, Automobile training institute, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning training school etc) that are affiliated to the university.

(b) To let private sector educational institutions to set up similar schools to absorb the numbers that cannot be absorbed to the state set up.

Health

(a) Similar to the schools request the interested private companies to adopt a rural, basic, or general hospital in the area.

(b) While the state is providing the medical officers, nursing staff and pharmaceutical needs etc, the private companies who are interested in participating could renovate the buildings and add new buildings for wards, administration offices, doctors quarters, public areas etc to the hospital and maintain the buildings in a neat and tidy manner.

(c) They could also provide adequate number of hospital beds so that the patients do not have to sleep on the floors like some state hospitals.

(d) The private company that adopts the hospital and its staff could also collect funds of use its own funds to assist the government to provide diagnostic equipments etc to the hospitals.

(e) The company that is assisting the hospital is allowed to publicize the fact that the hospital is supported ad maintained by them within the premises and elsewhere.

(f) The private sector managers will bring many innovations this and once a year the best hospital supporting company could be selected and recognized based on the output.

Creation of employment

(a) To categorize North and East as special development zones under BOI and Income Tax regulations and to provide significant tax concessions for investments that create employment in the said areas.

(b) To make the Termination of Employment Act of 1971 not applicable to the said investment that will enable the companies to hire and fire. This is to ensure that the companies will hire larger numbers without having to worry about reductions if the outputs or profits are below the expected levels.

(c) To provide PAYE concessions or reduced PAYE rates for the people who become employed in the NE areas for a period of 10 years.

(d) To identify resources such as chemical deposits and invite local and foreign companies to set up processing plants and manufacturing plants of finished goods rather than exporting the resources as raw material.

(e) To encourage entrepreneurs and companies to create employment opportunities in NE and the best performers to be recognized nationally.

Land & irrigation

(a) To takeover the land that was allocated to favorites of LTTE and redistribute among the population for agriculture and other purposes.

(b) All families that were in camps should be given minimum of 2-5 acres of rural land to enable them to develop a sustainable agricultural income.

(c) To provide land for agriculture also to people of other communities to ensure there is adequate ethnic integration and avoid a mono-ethnic enclaves.

(d) To invite private companies to lease land and have mass scale farms using modern agricultural machinery and farming methods and good cold storage and a cold chain.

(e) To resurrect the tanks and water ways in the area to provide water for agricultural development. This can be dome on sramadana method using volunteers from the south.

(f) To reserve sufficient land to expand and implement an extensive roading infrastructure with town bypassing, motor ways, and link roads.

Town Planning

(a) To use experienced town planners to plan modern cities in NE.

(b) To provide minimum of 30% common areas in the cities such as parks etc rather than planning congested cities.

(c) To implement latest regulations for new buildings including minimum number of floors etc for effective land utilization.

(d) To approve large shopping complexes with adequate parking that provide shopping space for small time traders rather than small shops with multiple entrances to the main roads.

(e) To have designated vehicle parking areas and parking buildings to avoid traffic and parking congestions for at least 50 years.

(f) To ban payment shops in all towns.

(g) To plan cities in such a way that there will be designated financial services areas, designated shopping areas, designated residential areas, rather than a jumble of everything in all areas.

(h) Implement mono rails etc in main cities to reduce the traffic.

(i) To charge a fee for all vehicles entering main cities to recover part of the costs

(j) While road construction and maintenance are done by the local councils, to allocate the main roads to private companies to maintain the surroundings and landscaping etc to give a modern outlook to the roads.

Tourism


(a) To allocate land from the scenic and close locations from historic places to the main hotel chains of the country to built tourist hotels.

(b) To allocate land to others to build middle and lower level accommodation facilities for the tourists.

(c) To provide facilities to the hotel owners association or to the tourist board to built and operate a comprehensive one or more hotel schools in the north.

(d) To develop comprehensive tourist tours and maps for the benefit of the inflow of foreigners that would visit as tourists to the area in the coming years.

Road development

(a) Invite local and foreign companies to build main roads and motor ways on BOO and BOT basis and charge tolls for usage. This will reduce the state funding required for construction of roads.

(b) To use tax systems connected to the fuel price to fund the other roads.

(c) Local government bodies to maintain other roads and the costs to be recovered from rates.

Security

(a) To provide fool proof electronic National Identity Card to all citizens in Sri Lanka with proper finger print records etc.

(b) To build a data base of all citizens of Sri Lanka under a unique number that can be connected to the passport, NIC, bank accounts, telephone connections, vehicle registration and tax file.

Summary of advantages

(a) Reducing the funds required by the state to restoration work due to some areas been handled by the corporate sector.

(b) Reducing the involvement of foreign NGOs etc that works against the benefit of the country.

(c) Speedier restoration rather than a slower pace if the work had to depend on state funds.

(d) The rebuilding of the trust and the love between the communities by the involvement of southern corporate and its people in developing and maintaining the assets that benefits the ordinary masses of the north and east.

(e) Sense of achievement in the southern companies and the people in participation in once in a life time issue of the country.

(Note: Some of these ideas such as getting the private sector companies involved in the education and healthcare sector can also be implements in other parts of the country. Let’s hope that the Ministers would think innovatively in this aspect for the betterment of the people)
-Sri Lanka Guardian

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