Monday 25 September 2017

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

25 September  2017

Water for Jaffna Project – Foreign Intelligence to Manage Tamils?

The Sri Lankan Government is opposing the move for foreign judges to hear allegations of war-crimes. The Government is entitled to such ‘privacy’ only to the extent it has maintained its Sovereign status. To the extent Tamils were treated like ‘foreigners’ by the Government soldiers Tamils are entitled to insist on foreign judges who are more worthy of their trust. The lack of entitlement on the part of the Government is indicated by the latest move in regards to Water Project in Jaffna:

[Water for Jaffna: simple, brilliant plan from expat Lankan engineer
Reducing evaporating surface area of Vadamarachchi lagoon
A new project for water supply to Jaffna utilizing rainfall into the Vadmarachchi Lagoon with a surface area of 78 sq. km. was announced on Friday by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Policy Development Office.
"The Project envisages making use of 20% of the annual rainfall in to the Vadamarachchi Lagoon with a surface area of 78 sq km. This project approved by the Cabinet of Ministers and the Chief Minister of Northern Province, is implemented under guidance of Vidya Jothi Eng. A.D.S Gunewardana, retired Secretary Ministry of Irrigation and retired Director of Irrigation," a news release issued by the office said………………………………..
The Dutch and a number of British Government Agents have tried their hands at supplying water through the lagoon with little success. However, the specialists who were engaged with this matter have established one important fact. The lagoon can be leached under controlled conditions," it said.

"Lately the Israeli, American, German and Australian consultants have carried out feasibility studies to supply water to Jaffna’s population. All these attempts were unsuccessful but now a Sri Lankan Engineer, Professor R.K. Guganeshrajah of Surrey University, has come up with the new proposal to prevent evaporation partly with a simple but brilliant engineering intervention by storing 20% of total rainfall on 78 sq km in a small tank of 10 sq km thereby reducing the surface area from which evaporation is taking place.] – The Island

Vidya Jothi Eng. A.D.S Gunewardana, by name, gives one the indication that s/he is of Sinhalese origin. Likewise, Professor R.K. Guganeshrajah gives one the indication that s/he is of Tamil origin. Given that Reconciliation between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities is taken as part of the National agenda, and given that the land area in which this project is based was strongly influenced by militants and given that Jaffna is generally considered the Tamil capital  in Sri Lanka, the placement of persons in positions is most important. Vidya Jothi appears to be 5th ranking honour presented as follows by Wikipedia:
[The Vidya Jyothi is a Sri Lankan national honour awarded "for outstanding scientific and technological achievements". It is the highest national honour for science in Sri Lanka for outstanding contribution to the development of the country through dedicated work in the chosen field. It is conventionally used as a title or prefix to the awardee's name. Vidya Jyothi ranks lower than Veera Chudamani; … Veera Chudamani ranks lower than Deshabandu…. Deshabandhu ranks lower than Deshamanya…… Deshamanya  is the second highest national honor of Sri Lanka (after the Sri Lankabhimanya) awarded by the Government of Sri Lanka as a civil honour Sri Lankabhimanya is the highest national honour of Sri Lanka awarded by the President of Sri Lanka on behalf of the Government. ]

Those who know Jaffna from the inside would identify with the deep investment made by the Common Jaffna Tamil in Higher Education. The title of Professor therefore would be one of the highest ranking honours to the Jaffna man. Hence placing Professor R.K. Guganeshrajah as the highest manager in technical part of the project would have demonstrated value for the investment made by the Jaffna Tamil in Higher Education. In terms of overall management, there were others available – indicated by the following for example – at :  
[Countering Climate Change: Maintaining Food production in Jaffna, Sri Lanka Thiru Arumugam, Freelance Consulting Engineer, Sydney, Australia Kanagasabapathy Shanmugarajah, Freelance Consulting Engineer, Sydney, Australia Lucius Mendis, Member, Governing Board, Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka
………………………………………In January 1983 a report was submitted to the President of Sri Lanka, J R Jayewardene urging the completion of the scheme. The President convened a meeting in May 1983 at which he directed the Government officials present to implement the scheme. He also appointed K Shanmugarajah, a co-author of this paper, as Consultant for the Project. Unfortunately the 1983 internal disturbances occurred shortly thereafter and the implementation did not proceed. In July 2003 the then Minister for Irrigation and Water Management, Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, after visiting the project site was to submit a cabinet paper for the completion of the project. He described it as an “all embracing solution for water problems in Jaffna”. Due to change of Government shortly thereafter, no further progress was made on project implementation. In October 2007 at the Annual Sessions of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, held in Colombo, a Resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority with only one dissenting vote. The Resolution urged the Government to complete this Project. This Resolution has been conveyed to the Government. A presentation on the River for Jaffna Project was also made by the principal author of this paper, Thiru Arumugam, in November 2007 in Colombo, Sri Lanka at the Nobel Peace Prize winning Pugwash Organisation’s Workshop on Learning from Ancient Hydraulic Civilizations to combat Climate Change. A resolution worded as follows was passed at this Workshop, proposed by Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, President, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs and seconded by D L O Mendis, a co-author of this paper: This Pugwash Workshop resolves to recommend to the Government of Sri Lanka that the project known as A River for Jaffna that was started some fifty years ago, and almost completed, but is now in a state of disuse and abandonment, should be restored without delay, as a most important step towards including Sri Lankans of the Jaffna peninsula in the development and enjoyment of the natural resources of the country, thereby contributing to early achievement of a durable peace. This Resolution will receive global publicity when the Proceedings of the Pugwash Workshop are released in the near future. When this project is finally completed there will be a complete transformation in the agricultural productivity of the Jaffna Peninsula and the quality of life will also be greatly improved by solving to a large extent the problem of salinity in wells.]

Mr. DLO Mendis did contact me over this project which  I felt was due to the indicators that I was a Democratic Project Manager – already active in post-war development work in Northern Sri Lanka. But this project seems to not have been taken to completion stage. In any case, Mr. Mendis demonstrated his respect for the Jaffna mind and to me that is of Common value. As per the effects, the current leadership seems to be driven by ‘takeover’ mentality. If the above report by the Island is factually correct and the Hon C.V.Wigneswaran did approve the project – then Mr. Wigneswaran is not entitled to claim ‘Genocide’ on behalf of  Northern Tamils.  Mr. Wigneswaran is no longer eligible to seek the removal of Sinhalese Army from Northern Province. One needs to be Common to hold that entitlement. I wrote recently about this as follows:
[An individual who has contributed strongly to Commonness of a group would naturally feel motivated to stay within that group and continue to serve that group. But when other members of the group take the person for granted and fail to feel gratitude or at least show respect to fill the gap between cost of their membership in that group and the benefits they draw from and/or due to being a member of that group – the higher contributor loses motivation to stay within the group. Those who have transcended their attachment to benefits are able to share with wider world. They feel ‘free’. But those who are attached to the  benefits would tend to fill the ‘gap’ between costs and benefits – and hence they would tend to ‘think’ they are free, based on the excessive benefits or feel depressed due to lack of return for their costs/investments  and would tend to breakaway  into a smaller unit over which they have greater control and/or kill/eliminate  the other side to reduce their side and try to takeover power once they are able to control the cost-benefit structure. This happened in the case of Tamil militants as well as Sinhalese militants. In the case of Tamils the higher risk was from Tamil Nadu in India. Many leading members of the Tamil Tiger group built direct bridges with Tamil Nadu through fishing and smuggling activities. Eventually this bridge became stronger than the others through more regulated pathways formed by higher mind structures. ]

Vadamarachchi is part of that area which brought our community the Indian influence. This project would therefore have the effect of seriously demoting the educated mind of Common Jaffna Tamil who did not forget Jaffna even after migrating to Colombo and beyond. That would go towards killing the motivation of the more educated Jaffna Tamil to contribute to development in Jaffna. What have you done Mr. Wigneswaran!

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