The government is planning to build around 50,000 new houses this year through the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA)
Q: What are your future plans for the Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Ministry this year to push forward Mahinda Chinthana - Vision for the Future?
A: In 2011 we were able to build around 30,000 new houses through the National Housing Development Authority. We were able to get the attention of the President on many important decisions on the construction field which led to the rapid progress of the field. The growth rate of the field is recorded as 17.3 percent. In 2012, we hope to build around 50,000 new houses through the National Housing Development Authority.
We hope to push forward the housing development activities with the assistance of other state institutions. We have made arrangements to re-establish the Institute for Construction Training and Development (ICTAD) as an authority to regulate, supervise and monitor the construction industry and train professionals in the field.
We hope to establish professional dignity through this new authority and also hope to protect the professionals in the field. The relevant act will be presented in Parliament early this year.
We will promote an eco-friendly construction technique through housing construction. The State Engineering Corporation is now making profits. All state institutions coming under the purview of the ministry is performing well now and their performance will be made more effective and productive in 2012 through a special programme.
Q: In the past, the dependent mentality had been continuously promoted by previous regimes with regard to housing. What are your plans to change this mentality?
A: The government never uses contractors and gives completely built houses for the people free of charge. The government obtains the contribution of the house recipients to build the house. When the government offers them a loan of Rs. 300,000, they build a house worth Rs.1.5 million or more. The loan is issued step by step after inspecting the progress of the construction and does not issue at once. Now they get the feeling that they built their own house and the house is theirs. The community builds houses and the authorities only assist the community by providing resources.
Q: What do you think about the JVP split?
A: The JVP had both sides such as the democratic way and revolutionary way. These were there from the beginning. The small group is waiting for the day of the struggle like the Benghazi Rebels and the majority is in the democratic stream contesting in elections and winning them. According to my knowledge, the rebel group is led by a foreign spy service. The same attacked me as a part of its attack on the national movement. They chased us away and wanted the party to get out from the nationalistic stand.
They wanted to turn the JVP into a political party similar to Nawa Samasamaja Party (NSSP). First they chased us away and secondly they tried to capture the power within the party. When those two groups were together none of them were able to drag the party to one side. Now the two groups have separated. The rebels fell out from the party and as a result they became a separate group.
Outsiders may see this as a plus point and something positive. But it is not. Since the Benghazi type rebels are together now they can work towards achieving their target (capturing power through an armed struggle) easier than before. This is what they think.
Q: What will be the future of the UNP with the ongoing internal conflict?
A: If the UNPers think that the UNP is suffering today because of the sins of its leader, it is the biggest mistake they are doing. It is not true. The anti-Ranil group does not identify the Opposition Leader's sins. For example, they got together and hindered the war in a very destructive manner. The public has strong displeasure on that.
The current problem in the UNP is originated due to such wrong and destructive decisions taken by it as a party. The mistake of anti-Ranil persons is that they identify this problem as one man's issue. All destructive stands taken by the UNP were not decided by its leader. They were collective agreements of the entire party. Therefore they have to reverse them. Without doing that changing heads will not do any good.
Q: What is your opinion on the ongoing unrest in state universities? Is there a hidden agenda?
A: There might be JVP rebel group members and their supporters in state universities. They may cause havoc. But the majority of ordinary undergraduates are not with them. What we should do is not to allow the rebel group to win this majority of students and win their confidence and support.
We should not follow strategies that push ordinary students towards the rebel group of the JVP. Some university administrations act wisely and implement strategies to win the majority of ordinary students while some universities implement strategies that push them towards the JVP rebel group.
The students' movement is something very strong and capable of causing vast political destruction.
One of the former Education Ministers Ranil Wickramasinghe had to withdrew 'the White Paper' even when he had 5/6 power in the then Parliament.
It was due to students' protests. Therefore, we have already held discussions with the President to win the hearts of undergraduates by not letting university administrators implement silly punishments.
Private universities are already functioning in the country and students attend them. There will not be an Act to introduce private universities. There is no need to put a black patch on President Mahinda Rajapaksa's era by doing something unnecessary.
Today there is no major issue for the government to intervene and solve. Therefore, even a minor issue can be staged as a major issue. Certain organized elements may lead 'issue campaigns'. Some issues occur because of misunderstandings and shortcomings of officials.
Q: The pro-LTTE elements active from foreign lands will continue to exist. The JVP rebel group says they have contacts with former LTTE cadres and heading for an armed struggle. What can the Sri Lankan public and the government do to prevent racism based terrorism and a possible JVP insurgency in future?
A: It is something positive that the former LTTErs are getting together with some sort of political movement than joining separatists. We have to find out why the former LTTErs are joining the JVP rebel group. It is possible that they use the rebel group as a cover to re-create the LTTE in a different face.
The rebel group may have already undertaken the contract to support them to re-build the LTTE. But it is good that they did not join with the racist TNA and decided to join with political parties that spread at national level.
The main objective of world and regional giants is creating a civil war in Sri Lanka. They can interfere and intervene if there is a struggle, conflict or problem.
Only then can they make the country dance according to their tune. The elements which shed tears when the LTTE was eradicated are now trying to make the country unstable without the LTTE. To do this they try to create a rebel group/groups similar to the Benghazi rebels. Only then will the NGOs have work again and persons such as Erik Solheim can come here and interfere with our internal affairs.
Now it is certified that we have natural gas and many other resources. In order to plunder all our wealth, they have to create a small Nigeria in Sri Lanka.
I request the public not to get caught to the groups which work to create this Nigeria. I appeal to the public not to assist them. They are trying to destroy this government and establish a pro-colonial government.Courtesy...DailyNews