The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has asked the governments of Sri Lanka and India to take steps to introduce direct flights from Palali and Trincomalee to India for the benefit of Tamils living in the north and east of the island nation.
However, a day after news of the resolution, passed at the council’s sixth session held in Jaffna on Tuesday, was out, Civil Aviation Minister Pryankara Jayaratne said the demand of the administration, led by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), was “ridiculous,” a media report in Colombo said.
In yet another indication of Colombo’s emphasis on the rather limited scope of powers that the provincial councils have, the Minister, in a report in the State-run Daily News here, remarked: “The provincial councils can pass any resolution. Such resolutions cannot be implemented merely because they are adopted in provincial councils.”
The resolution was tabled by NPC member M.K. Shivajilingam of the TNA, who had earlier tabled a resolution backing a call for an international investigation into alleged war crimes in the country.
Tuesday’s resolution included a demand for using the Kankesanthurai port, which India is currently helping rebuild with a grant of $25 million, for commercial activities.
Yet another request of the council pertained to resuming boat services from Talaimannar to Rameswaram.