Govt. rejects Caritas claim on IDP funding
Government sources said that there was absolutely no truth in a recent claim that Caritas Sri Lanka had spent Rs. 9.7 million a day in support of ongoing rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the Vanni region.
Sources said that Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC aka the social arm of the Catholic Church carried a front-page lead story in its official organ, Gnanartha Pradeepaya, claiming that money had been spent on food and other essential items. Sources said that the Government had set up welfare centres in the Vanni early this year to accommodate the war displaced though the NGO could not claim credit for funding to the tune of about 290 million a month.
Sources said that this claim was made in the November 29 issue of the Sunday paper close on the heels of Rev. Damien Fernando visiting the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts, where he met Major General Jayawardena, to explore ways and means of helping the war displaced.
Rev. Father Fernando was not available for comment. A spokesman for Gnanartha Pradeepaya yesterday told The Island that it was a genuine mistake on their part. According to him, they had spent about Rs.9.7 million on a monthly basis over the past several months though none of the funding was made through the Government. "We are carrying out several projects in the region," he said.
Earlier the Government, too, was caught lying regarding public funds allocated to feed the displaced after the international community revealed its heavy involvement in the humanitarian operation.
Ministerial sources acknowledged that the Government could not have looked after the war displaced without the support of the international community and the INGO, particularly the World Food Programme (WFP). Several politicians, including SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena, MP and Commerce Minister Bandula Gunawardena, MP are on record saying that the government had to spend a staggering amount for the welfare of the displaced.