Transparency International yesterday accused the government of giving a misleading picture of the ground realities of the tsunami development with the completion of three years of the tsunami disaster.
“TISL reiterates the duty of the Sri Lankan Government to guarantee and respect the right to housing of the affected communities in the North and the East, as the government statistics represent a misleading picture of ground realities,” the TISL said in a statement.
Last week, the government announced that 99,497 houses had been completed for Tsunami victims countrywide, exceeding the total requirement of 98,525 houses three years after the Tsunami catastrophe.
“There is an acute shortage of houses in the Eastern province of the country. For example, in Muttur only 422 houses were built through donor and owner driven housing construction programmes in place of 1249 houses destroyed,” the TISL said.
It also said that it was common to find a general level of dissatisfaction among the residents of newly built houses, particularly in the South.
It charged that the entire reconstruction process was lacking an inherent system for the survivors and beneficiaries to access information. People living in new schemes were given no information about financial expenditure and at times plans and legal documents of title of their new facilities. “It is a legitimate expectation on the part of the beneficiaries to seek information as to the process of building and financial cost of their house. However, few in the community were privy to such information,” it said.
The TISL also claimed that there were a number of systemic issues in various sectors which hindered the effective implementation of the recovery process. For example, “it is common to find allegations of bribery and corruption against Grama Sevaka Officers and Fisheries Inspectors who played a key role in both immediate relief and the subsequent reconstruction process at the ground level.”
The TISL urged the relevant government ministries to identify such systemic issues which fall within their purview and to derive remedial measures. “One such remedial measure TISL suggests, is for the incorporation of anti-corruption education into the initial Grama Seva officer training programs conducted by the Ministry of Public Administration,” it added.(SJ)