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Advice to NGOs in Sri Lanka

B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: The government of Sri Lanka on Saturday announced that representatives of local and foreign Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), who intend to enter former conflict areas in the north to transport goods and conduct other activities, should obtain prior permission from the Presidential Task Force (PTF).

The PTF, whose Secretary is the Essential Services Commissioner S.B. Divaratne, has been tasked with coordinating all matters related to rehabilitation and resettlement of nearly three lakh war displaced and reconstruction in the war ravaged areas.

Speaking at the Police Special Task Force (STF) command headquarters at Ampara in the Eastern province, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said security was essential to sustaining freedom.

Now we are faced with new challenges to restoring normalcy to the innocent people who were rescued from the LTTE’s clutches and engaging in development and infrastructure building activities in both North and East. Yet, we have to secure the liberty we gained and this includes involving all sections of the society, he said.

The visit was to pay tribute to STF personnel for their role in Eelam War IV. Mr. Rajapaksa said over 500 STF officers died and a similar number sustained injuries during the course of the war.

In another development, the government said Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thero, chief of the Malwatte Chapter of the Siamese sect, visited the relief camp at Chettikulam in Vavuniya district on Friday and assured the inmates that they would be resettled in their original villages as soon as possible.

The Mahanayaka of Malwatte is the chief monk of the largest Buddhist denomination in Sri Lanka and his visit, a first for some one who has held this office, is considered to be a historical one,” said the statement.

He told a group of displaced people that much work was left to be carried out by the security forces to make the villages suitable for normal life and praised the tremendous work carried out by the Defence Secretary and the armed forces to save the lives of the civilians.

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