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* Sri Lankan government ready to discuss police and land powers with Tamil party
Tue, Jan 3, 2012, 12:58 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 03, Colombo: Loosening its stance against granting police and land powers to the provinces according to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the Sri Lankan government said Tuesday that it is ready to consider its scope provided the major Tamil party, Tamil national Alliance (TNA), put forward its proposals at the talks with the government.

The government spokesman, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said today that though the government is concerned about giving land and Police powers to the provinces it is prepared to discuss the issue and make concessions.

The Minister has said the government has serious concerns about devolving absolute Police powers to the provinces.

"As a Government we are concerned about giving Police and Land powers to provinces. However, we are ready to consider giving those powers within certain scope if such a proposal is made by the TNA to the Government. For that the TNA should remain at talks with the Government," Minister Rambukwella told the Government Media Unit.

As an example, he said the provinces could bar the head of the country from entering the province without the police permission. The arrangement in use in India is detrimental to Sri Lanka as Sri Lanka is a smaller country in size than even an Indian state, the Minister pointed out.

The government denies that it was under any pressure from India to devolve land and police powers to the provinces according to the 13th amendment.

"Dealing with day to day affairs such as smaller crimes and complaints could be dealt with by Provincial authorities," he has said.

The Minister said both parties need to discuss the matters that both could agree upon before arriving at any decision and the TNA should be mindful of that.

Rambukwella complained that unfortunately TNA runs away from the talks halfway and create a deadlock to portray a situation to the international community that the Government of Sri Lanka was giving nothing to them. This was the case since 1985 from the day talks began, he added.

He pointed out that soon after the end of the war in May 2009, the two sides held several rounds of talks to find a solution to the ethnic issue and once again the TNA is dragging its feet without making a final commitment.

The TNA meanwhile, has decided to meet with representatives of the diplomatic community in Colombo to explain the parity's stance with regard to land and police powers to the provinces.

The party would emphasize the need to allocate land and police powers to the provinces as outlined in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, a spokesman for the TNA said.



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