Batticaloa optimistic of new councils | Sunday Observer

Batticaloa optimistic of new councils

The Sunday Observer contacted some candidates contesting the February 10 local government polls in the Batticaloa district, selecting them at random, and interviewed them on their future plans, shortcomings in the respective areas of the councils they are contesting, their plans to address them and whether their campaigns are free of violence and disturbances. We also asked some electors their views on the fielding of women candidates, the previous administration of their councils and what they now want their councilors to do in the sphere of infrastructure development, health and general welfare.

Excerpts:

Sivam Packianathan, Journalist, contesting the Batticaloa MC on the TNA’s ‘house’ symbol :

I am contesting the polls for the first time, although I have been involved in politics for many years. About 12 other journalists are also contesting the polls in different places responding to the gesture of goodwill of the TNA leadership. The UDA Ordinance now in force is in the way of constructing new buildings and houses in land plots less than six perches in extent, and, as a result, a lot of problems are being encountered. This has to be waived in some cases, like in Colombo, and a committee comprising technical and other professionals appointed to look into the issues. Protecting world heritage sites, beatification of the city, promoting Batticaloa as a tourist destination with floating restaurants in the lagoon are some of the plans that will enhance the generation of funds to the MC. Colour lights systems have to be installed to prevent the increasing number of motor accidents in the city. A better way of making use of the garbage also has to be considered. The party has fielded educated and capable women candidates, which is an important step in the promotion of women’s leadership and representation.

Yogeswary Yogarajah: Voter in Batticaloa city:

I am a Technical Assistant at the Government Secretariat. Infrastructure development and health sector activities crippled to a near halt during the period when the MC remained dissolved, and now that the polls are to be held we want these activities restored. Especially, many interior roads need to be renovated. We welcome the fielding of women candidates which is a significant turning point in promoting women’s leadership and political representation.

Shibly Farook: Engineer and former member of the Eastern PC contesting the Kathankudy UC on the Muslim National Alliance’s (MNA) ‘scale’ symbol :

The MNA is a sister-party of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). I was a member of the now defunct Eastern PC, representing the SLMC. My main objective is to free the Kathankudy UC area from the consumption of liquor and drugs. My party wants to create a ‘pure city’ and I will work for it, if elected. Garbage management is a big issue and we will find ways to handle it efficiently through the latest methods. We also have plans to start small industries for the benefit of low income families, create employment-oriented projects and implement educational scholarship for the children of poor families. My party has introduced capable and efficient women candidates considering the need for women’s leaderships and representation.

Wijeyakumar Poobalajarah: Sports Officer, Vavunativu Divisional Secretariat: Contesting the Batticaloa MC on TNA’s ‘house’ symbol :

I am contesting polls for the first time although I have been involved in politics from 1998 together with the assassinated parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham. The MC needs an efficient administration in the spheres of health, education and sports. More children’s parks have to be established, and existing ones updated. Priority is needed for educational facilities and infrastructure. Similarly, playgrounds have to be updated with more facilities for promoting games and athletics. The protection of women and children through special associations, and creating an ethical and religious society is also an aim of the TNA. The TNA has fielded educated and capable women to run for the polls under the 25 percent quota.

Nagarasa Pathmarahini: Contesting the Manmunai West (Vavunativu) PS on the ‘Rising Sun’ symbol of the Tamil National Liberation Front

(NLF) led by TNA break-away leader Suresh Premachandran:

I am contesting polls for the first time and have been in politics for some years on a local community level. My husband ‘disappeared’ in 2007 and, as a single parent, I am bringing up my two children. In the Vavunativu PS area, a lot of infrastructure development work is long overdue, especially, some interior roads have to constructed and existing ones renovated. The women need assistance for self-employment ventures and employment-oriented projects to make a living.

Sathiyakumar: Voter in Batticaloa city, working for an international organisation based in Batticaloa:

Ours is a semi-urban area with an urban lifestyle. Much has to be done to develop areas bordering the lagoon, which get flooded during monsoonal rains. There is no proper drainage system and due to stationary water, diseases including ‘dengue’ are spreading. The local communities are ethically deteriorating. Awareness programs and religious activities are desperately needed which the MC and Councilors should promote. I believe, long term programs are required to address these issues. Women’s leadership and political representation are needed on a broader scale considering that it is the women who have been rendered widows, and destitute.

Although the 25 percent quota for women’s representation is a welcome move, they should be accorded a minimum of 40 percent quota. Programs for women’s empowerment have to be initiated on a larger scale.

Sivakolundu Sugirthasan, Voter, Ward No.3, Batticaloa:

After the last MC was dissolved all work in relation to the municipality and people’s welfare crumbled to a halt. Now that the polls are to be held the MC will gain power and the people’s voice will be heard.

Women’s representative quota should be raised to 40 percent instead of the present 25 percent. There is a general misconception that only the men should engage in politics. This should be changed and more women should come into politics. 

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