In one calculated statistical blow the Sri Lankan Peace Secretariat, headed by Dr. Palitha Kohona, has blown apart the myth of the LTTE running a state of its own for the good of the Tamil people in the north and the east.
Statistics revealed by the Peace Secretariat confirm that the LTTE has not only failed to provide the Tamil people their essentials for survival and well-being but also steal 10 - 20 % of the public funds allocated by the Sri Lankan government to run its one-man regime.
The peace Secretariat states: "It is largely from these illegally acquired funds that the LTTE maintains its name-board structures and logistics, trains its child soldiers and places its armed cadres, both men and women, in a perpetual state of war."
In other words, the LTTE runs an efficient killing machine but not a state for the welfare of the Tamils, according to analysts. The Peace Secretariat has appealed to the donor countries engaged with the LTTE to look into this swindling of funds allocated to "address the deprivations of the people of the region and ameliorate their living conditions."
The common ploy of the LTTE agents operating in the diaspora, however, has been to collect millions of dollars from Tamil expatriates claiming that "the Sinhala-dominated" is discriminating against the minority Tamils without providing them health care, education, livelihood assistance, administrative facilities, development, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction projects, and other essential services, goods like subsidized food etc.
The latest statistics released by the Peace Secretariat reveal that the entire social structure of the LTTE-controlled areas in the north and the east is maintained by billions of rupees allocated by "the Sinhala-dominated government". Political analysts agree that the so-called "de facto state run by the LTTE" will collapse overnight if the Sri Lankan government withdraws the funding that makes Velupillai Prabhakaran look good. The illegally acquired funds from the locals and the equally illegal funding from the expatriates is just enough for the LTTE to oil its killing machine but not to run the welfare services provided by "the Sinhala-dominated" government.
Another revealing statistic is the miniscule amount of revenue collected by the government from the north and the east.
It amounts to less than 0.1 per cent. As against this the Sri Lankan government's expenditure for the north and the east runs into mega billions.
Examples: 1) In the North and East, the Sri Lankan government funds over 53 hospital institutions with more than 4427 hospital beds providing free curative healthcare. State hospitals and State run healthcare centres provide a totally free service - both preventative and curative. The State meets the recurrent costs of Doctors' salaries, drugs, dressings and maintenance of hospitals. Velupillai Prabhakaran's main mission has been to maintain the expanding cemeteries where thousands of Tamils, including children, as a memorial to his failed war to achieve Eelam.
(2) An estimated 1848 state funded schools provide free education to over 700,000 students. The State funded education system including schools, non-formal education institutions, technical colleges, provides free education. The salaries of teachers, administrative, clerical and elementary staff are met by state funds. As opposed to this Velupillai Prabhakaran abducts these children before they could complete their education to beef up his epleted cadres.
The irony is that the billions funding the welfare of the Tamils come essentially from the taxes paid by the majority Sinhalese who are being targeted daily by the LTTE killing machine.
Here is the full statistical report issued by the Peace Secretariat on June 14, 2006:
Contrary to widely held misconceptions, the administrative machinery and infrastructure facilities in LTTE controlled areas is funded and maintained substantially by the Government. In addition, the Government meets an overwhelmingly substantial part of the humanitarian and infrastructural needs of the civilian population living in the North and the East, including the LTTE controlled areas.
For instance :
* State hospitals and State run healthcare centres provide a totally free service - both preventative and curative and are funded by the Government. The State meets the recurrent costs of Doctors' salaries, drugs, dressings and maintenance of hospitals. In the North and East, there are over 53 Hospital institutions with more than 4427 hospital beds providing free curative healthcare and an estimated 1848 functioning state funded schools with over 700,000 students.
* The State funded education system including schools, non-formal education institutions, technical colleges, provides free education. The salaries of teachers, administrative, clerical and elementary staff are met by state funds.
* The district and sub-district administrative offices functioning in areas under LTTE control are funded by the Government - this includes the salaries of Government Agents, Divisional Secretaries, Grama Niladaris and administrative staff.
The Government provides these services and amenities from revenue collected from the public in the rest of the country as the revenue from the North and the East is less than 0.1% of the total revenue.
In addition, a significant number of small, medium and large scale projects have been completed with the assistance of the international community, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in many cases with funds borrowed by the Government. These projects cover a wide variety of sectors.
In the latest figures on ongoing projects in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, which include both tsunami and non-tsunami projects, there has been a total allocation of US$ 1283.10 Million comprising loans US$ 673.8 Million and grants US $ 609.3 Million.
State Investment in Development and Infrastructure Activities in Northern and Eastern Provinces (2002-2006) - A Summary
* Schools - Rs.3.721 Billion
* Universities - Rs.792 Million
* Skills Development, Vocational and Technical Education - Rs.1.044
* Healthcare - Rs.6.020 Billion
* Relief and Livelihood Assistance - Rs.14.735 Billion
* Roads and Bridges (Rs.38.674 Billion)
* Housing (Rs.1.582 Billion)
* Electricity (Rs.692 Million)
* Water Supply and Sanitation (Rs.21 Billion)
* Ports (Rs.460 Million)
* Telecommunication (Rs.600 Million)
* Irrigation (Rs.1.635 Billion)
* Institutional and Community Development (Rs.124 Million)
* Agriculture (Rs.133 Million)
* Fisheries (Rs.1.5 Billion)
* Livestock (Rs.60 Million)
Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction - 2002-2006
1) North East Housing Reconstruction Programme - World Bank US$ 75 M Rs.7500 M)
2) North East Coastal Community Development Project - ADB US$ 22 M (Rs.2200 M)
3) North East Irrigated Agriculture Project II - World Bank US$ 64 M (Rs.6400 M)
4) North East Road Rehabilitation Programme – EU
5) North East Community Restoration and Development Project Loan - ADB US$ 180 M (Rs.18000 M)
6) Rehabilitation of Bridges in the North-East – UK
7) North East Emergency Rehabilitation Programme WB/EU
8) Conflict Affected Area Rehabilitation Programme - ADB US$ 80 M (Rs.8000 M)
9) National Protection and Durable Solution for IDP's – UNHCR
10) Jaffna Water Conservation and Environmental Management Project – GTZ
11) Mannar District Rehabilitation and Reconstruction through Community Approach Project – JICA
12) UNDP Technical Assistance Programme – UNDP
13) Food Security and Reconciliation in Batticaloa District – GTZ
14) Agricultural and Rural Development in Trincomalee Districts – JICA
15) Recovery Programme for People Affected by North East conflict – WB
16) Emergency Rehabilitation for the Community in the Vanni and the East
17) Water Supply Scheme in Mannar District
18) Northern Rehabilitation Project NRP-GTZ
19) Pro Poor Economic Advancement and Community Enhancement Project - JBIC
20) Secondary Education Modernization Project – ADB
21) Teacher Education and Teacher Development Project – WB
22) General Education Project II - WB
More than 50% of the foreign funded projects are based on loans granted by international institutions and foreign governments to the Government of Sri Lanka, which is then required to repay these loans. It is the Government that bears the burden of funding the development of the North and the East and repaying these borrowed funds.
However, studies reveal that approximately 10-20% of these funds are siphoned off by the LTTE. It is largely from these illegally acquired funds that the LTTE maintains its name-board structures and logistics, trains its child soldiers and places its armed cadres, both men and women, in a perpetual state of war.
This is an aspect that the donor community needs to address while engaging the LTTE. It is an illusion to assume that the LTTE has the capability to provide even the minimum services to the people of the North and the East. The Government on its part will continue to do its utmost to address the deprivations of the people of the region and ameliorate their living conditions.