The TNA in parliament yesterday said the government had not tabled any proposals to solve the ethnic problem and justify the war, which would cost the country over Rs. 166 billion next year according to budgetary estimates of the 2007 Appropriation Bill.Speaking on the first day of the committee stage debate of the Budget, TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said the Tamil people wanted the right to internal self determination in the areas of historical habitation of the Tamil speaking people in the North and East.
Mr. Sampanthan charged that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not honest in his approach to prevent a political solution which satisfies the aspiration of Tamils for self governance. The MP said that in 1983 the Defence expenditure was Rs. 1.7 billion, and now it is Rs. 166 billion.
He stressed that even if the government military campaign destroys Prabhakaran and defeats the LTTE, the Tamil struggle would continue.
He said that the 1981 census showed that 73 percent of Tamils lived in the North and East of the country, while noting that it was `worrying` that President Rajapaksa says that now 54 percent of Tamils live outside the North-East.
Mr. Sampanthan said that only one nine-hundredth (1/900) of the total budget estimates of Rs. 925 billion had been set aside as Capital Expenditure for Social Welfare Minister, Douglas Devananda.He added that only Rs. 2 billion had been set aside for resettlement and disaster relief services, in the Budget.
Mr. Sampanthan said that according to the country`s GDP Defence expenditure ratio, Sri Lanka had the highest relative Defence expenditure in the world, higher than Sudan, Sierra Leone and Myanmar.
He added that Sri Lanka was the most militarized state in South Asia with 8,000 forces personnel per 1 million civilians.