Jaffna alleges unofficial economic embargo
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Jaffna alleges unofficial economic embargo

The Tamil National Alliance MP for Jaffna district has alleged the Govt has imposed an unofficial economic embargo, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2006 16:12 IST

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP for Jaffna district, Suresh Premachandran, has alleged that the Sri Lankan government has imposed an "unofficial economic embargo" on Jaffna.

He told Hindustan Times that at the check point in Omanthai, north of Vavuniya, defence personnel were not allowing lorries carrying essential civilian goods like food and building materials to pass through, insisting on Ministry of Defence (MOD) permits.

"The worst affected are building materials. MOD clearance is not required for building materials," Premachandran said.

"Normally 175 lorries pass through Omanthai every day. For weeks now, only 25 are allowed to go," he said.

"There seems to be an unofficial economic embargo on Jaffna" Premachandan alleged.

Appeal to President of no avail

On May 26, The Jaffna Chamber of Commerce (JCC) had petitioned President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking his intervention, but to no avail, the President of the JCC, R Janakkumar said.

According to Janakkumar, the daily traffic of lorries through the A9 highway to Jaffna was 200 to 250 lorries.

Sometime it is as high as 500. But in the month of May, it had come down to a mere 25 lorries.

This had resulted in a severe shortage of cement and other building materials in Jaffna district, he pointed out.

"We cannot comprehend why Defence personnel at Omanthai demand MOD permit for transport of building material to Jaffna even though Jaffna too is under your control," the JCC told the President.

"At present there is a short supply of essential food items in the North and there is a severe shortage of building materials which is required for development works in the Tsunami affected areas," the petition said.

If 200 to 250 lorries were to be held up in Omanthai daily, that would lead to a shortage of lorries in Colombo, which in turn, would lead to a hike in hire charges and to high prices of essentials in Jaffna, the petition warned.

Essential goods, including food items, are supplied to Jaffna by private traders from Colombo and other places in South Sri Lanka.

They take the A9 highway through the LTTE- controlled Wanni. Omanthai is on the border between the government-controlled and the LTTE-controlled areas.

First Published: Jun 08, 2006 16:12 IST