Peace doomed due to PA-JVP combination

Feb 7 (IL) The Peace process that was sustained with much effort for a period of two years would definitely be in great peril in the hands of a Government partnered by the JVP as they are not committed at all to the pursuit of peace. Minister G.L Peiris expressed this view at Polonnaruwa last Monday addressing the 'Arunalu 10,000 jobs programme launched by the Ministry with the intention of reducing unemployment in less-developed areas and spreading the benefits of economic development into the rural hinterland..

He said such a scenario would possibly lead to the resumption of violent activities that plagued areas such as Polonnaruwa before 2001. It was now up to the people to make a clear-cut decision on this and resolve once and for all whether we should traverse the path of peace or not.

He was speaking at two ceremonies held at Nippon Nordic Garments factory at Kaduruwela, Polonnaruwa and Texwin Garments factory at Lankapura, Polonnaruwa under the 'Arunalu 10,000 Jobs programme initiated by the Ministry of Enterprise Development, Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion to create employment opportunities in difficult rural areas. Under this Programme, one thousand( I 000) youth in the Polonnaruwa District were offered employment at four (4) garment factories in the area who were in turn allocated additional garment quotas by the Ministry .

Prof. Peiris said that with the possible dissolution of Parliament the PA partnered by the JVP has offered itself as the alternative government. The JVP has very clearly indicated their aversion to the devolution of power whereas the PA says that it remains committed to it. Even the JVP leader very specifically stated over the ITN that they would reject the peace process as they do not see it as useful. Under such circumstances the peace process would definitely collapse and all the gains made since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement would evaporate. At this critical juncture the people should make a clear decision as to the path the country should take.

Prof. Peiris further said that today's youth clamour most employment opportunities and the garments sector was capable of creating jobs. The late President Premadasa realized the potential of this sector and decided to expand it into the rural countryside for which he was ridiculed at that time. Today Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe is using the quota allocation as a mechanism for creating employment in rural areas under the 'Arunalu' Programme. Those garment factories in the difficult areas who were willing to recruit a minimum of additional 250 youth from the area would be given extra quotas by the Government.

But the Minister pointed out that for all these programmes to succeed one must realize the necessity for peace. With the advent of the present Government, an effort was made to stop the ferocious war that was raging in the country and establish a permanent peace.

Great strides were made in this regard and the international community were impressed as to commit a large amount of funds for the development of the country. But the events of November 4 have created a sense of uncertainty all round and there's a strong feeling that the gains made subsequent to the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement would disappear, thus plunging the country into chaos again.