Chief Minister of Northern Province, C.V. Vigneswaran, has outlined the economic goals of his largely rural province and set the parameters within which economic development projects should be conceived.
Addressing a conference of international donor agencies, organized by R.Paskaralingam, Adviser to the Ministry of Policy Development and Implementation, Vigneswaran said that first and foremost, any plans for the economic development of his province will have to be discussed with first with his administration and should be based on a scientific survey of the province’s resources and felt-needs.
He observed that due to the 30 year war, officials in the provincial administration have acquired the habit of following the diktats and decisions of the Central government without bothering to give their own inputs based on local experience. It is time they learnt to operate in an era of democracy in which there is an elected government in the province, he said. The Chief Minister pointed out that officials even manipulate surveys to suit the wishes of the Central government. In a survey of war widows, officials told the widows not to say that their husbands had died due to the war but of some natural cause.
The Chief Minister made it very clear that the provincial administration would not welcome large, capital intensive, projects in which the locals will only be hewers of wood and drawers of water.”We will not allow outsiders to rule over us and will not allow our resources to be looted,” he said.