Hold back land and police powers: Devananda

Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) leader Minister Douglas Devananda, an advocate of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, yesterday said the delegation of land and police powers to the provincial councils should be held back for the time being when constituting to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC).  

In an interview with Daily Mirror, Minister Devananda said there appeared to be dissension in the south over the delegation of such powers to the Provincial Council (PC) and therefore, it should be held back till an understanding between the two major communities - Sinhalese and Tamils - was built up.

“If there is no delegation of such powers when forming the Northern Provincial Council, the Tamil people   will be concerned. Likewise, Sinhala people will be concerned if these powers are delegated. Therefore, it is advisable to hold it back for the moment until there is understanding,” he said.   

However, the Minister said the constitution of the NPC was his political dream, and he was looking forward to the planned election. Noting that violence, lack of development and denial of political rights battered the Tamil community for long, he said the time was now opportune to conduct this election.

“Today, terrorism has been wiped out. Also, there is fast-tracked development taking place in the north.  The two problems are now solved. Yet, there remains the political question. In finding a solution to it, we can begin by implementing what is already in the Constitution. I am not asking for the sun and the moon. I want the implementation of the present Constitution as a start off,” he said.

The EPDP leader called President Mahinda Rajapaksa ‘the father of nation’ for what he termed ‘the decimations of terrorism’   believed by many as an impossible task and bringing development to the Tamil people.

Asked whether he would contest the election to the NPC, he said though the President asked him once not to contest the election, he had felt the need to contest.

“Right in front of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the SAARC summit held in Male a couple of years ago, this matter was raised. The President asked me not to contest because he did not want to lose a Tamil Minister serving in his Cabinet. Yet, I feel that I should contest. I will discuss the matter with the ruling party,” he said.

Also, the Minister said there was perception among people that he could poll more votes by contesting under the Veena symbol of his EPDP instead  of fielding candidates under the betel  symbol of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). (KB)

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