President considers polls in the east
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is considering an appeal to conduct elections to the eastern provincial council and other local bodies in the province, a minister said.
Minister Abdul Majeed, a Trincomalee district parliamentarian told The Sunday Times, he and other Muslim MPs made the appeal when they met the President a few days ago.
They said the government forces had now taken control of more than 90 percent of the Eastern Province and the time was right to hold elections so that civilian administration could be restored while resettlement of displaced people was speeded up.
The move came as the government stepped up its resettlement programme in the Eastern Province by settling at least 2,500 villagers a week in the newly-liberated areas. Some 90,000 displaced have been resettled already.
The government has also started the resettlement programmes in the Trincomalee district by moving some 1,100 displaced to the Verugal area. More civilians are to be moved into the district within the coming week.
Some 70,000 displaced people are due to be resettled and the government has set July 31 as the deadline to complete the process.
Simultaneously the government has stepped up development activities in the Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts. Yesterday the foundation stones were laid for three new bridges to be built at a cost of Rs. 1,800 million. Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa and several ministers were among those who took part in the ceremonies.