Eastern Province can thrive with eastward trade with Asia - Patali | Daily News


Eastern Province can thrive with eastward trade with Asia - Patali

The development of the Eastern Province will contribute immensely to the development of the country, Minister for Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka recently said. Ranawaka pointed out that the Eastern province, which is a victim of ad hoc development process that prevailed for decades in the country, should be open and accessible to the international economy that has flourished in the eastern half of the world. The Minister made these observations at the Jathika Maga conference which was held in Ampara recently.

Minister Ranawaka also observed that Eastern Province has the capacity to outpace the development process in the Western Province. Minister Ranawaka said, “When we take Sri Lanka into consideration, development has always been centered on the Western province. Then if we derive an example from US, it was Washington, New York and other cities in the eastern coast of the US were developed. Why? Because they were only interacting with Europe via the eastern coast. But now, the things have taken a turn. The Eastern coast of America has now achieved a rapid development after the US authorities decided to interact with the Pacific, China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea via the Eastern coast. So let’s take our Eastern Province. If we strategically open Trincomalee and Batticaloa, Sri Lanka would be able to interact with China’s Kung-Min economic region and with Bangladesh, Tailand, Laos and Vietnam. If we do so, the Eastern Province can easily surpass Western Province in development. But unfortunately, after the Independence, what has happened to our Eastern coast? Is there an economy in this coast that connects with the international market? No, we do not.”

“If we are to develop this area, we need to open the Eastern coast to the world, including Nayaru, Kokilai and Panama. It will create the strongest economic region in the world and it can contribute immensely for the development of our country.” Minister Ranawaka also said.

Minister Ranawaka observed that Eastern Province like many other parts of the country has suffered from the ad hoc development initiatives followed by the former governments. Ranawaka also highlighted that the Tamil community in the Eastern Province have not had a strong political leadership for a long period of time, hence the Tamil community is under-represented and forgotten.

Ranawaka pointed out, “Why I say that Eastern province can exceed the development in the Western Province is because it has all the potential to interact with the heavily developed Eastern parts of the world. But are we doing it? No, Thanks to our political system, all the politicians try to develop their electorates. An Education Minister would want the build a large school in his area. If it is the Higher Education Minister, he would want a university in his area. The same story goes with all other Ministers. Everyone try to do something for their own areas. That will not contribute to any kind of development in the country long term, as they are not scientific methods of building a country.”“If you take Eastern Province, Tamil community had a political leader representing them only when G.G. Ponnambalam and Devanayagam were elected. After these two persons, no one has represented the Tamil community in the Eastern province in the mainstream politics. As a result, the areas where the Tamil community lives, there are no industries, no ports and no airports. They have net even been given job opportunities. The Tamils in this area go through serious difficulties. They wouldn’t have undergone such difficulties if we had a scientific method of ruling this country.” Ranawaka furthered. 

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