As No One Can Remove 13A, Try the Next Best Option of Merging Seven Sinhala-Majority Provinces into One Province
Posted on March 7th, 2020

Dilrook Kannangara

It has been the dream and demand of all those who love Sri Lanka since 1987 to abrogate 13A. But it is never going to happen. No one has the courage or patriotism to do it. The worst option is to dream of no-13A while living with 13A. Each year that passes with the current form of 13A, the island nation comes closer to dismemberment along new lines of separation.

The worst offenders are those who demand removing 13A just to prevent anyone from changing the situation even by a little by promising the impossible. This can be perfectly explained by the pithy Sri Lankan proverb – නොකෙරෙන වෙදකමට කෝදුරු තෙල් හත්පට්ටයක් (it is like sending someone to source seven drams of a non-existent oil to perform a medical procedure that is impossible to perform. The point is to distract the hapless person to maintain the status quo and also to save the practitioner from blame).

Having turned the North Tamil-only and giving them a separate administration and trying (but failing) in the East, India is now eyeing the Upcountry. Indian interference in the Upcountry has increased astronomically since 2009. India builds Tamil-only schools, Tamil-only hospitals and Tamil-only shrines in the Upcountry in a repeat of what it did to the north and east.

While the entire Upcountry cannot be turned into what India and Tamil separatists call ‘Malaya Nadu’, the entire Nuwara Eliya district can be made into it unless corrective action is taken now. District based devolution accelerates this destruction as it gives Malaya Nadu on a platter! It must never be attempted.

We can rationalize 13A as it is not going anywhere unfortunately. It was introduced to fix the devolution demand of Tamils. So northern and eastern provinces can remain as it satisfies the local and international devolution demand. All other 7 provinces can be merged into one. It is insane to have 7 separate provinces outside the north and east as people in these areas never wanted devolution. They always demanded unitary status and unity. Provincial Council elections must be held for the entire province as a single unit.

Sinhala majority parts of Ampara district and connecting corridors to Sinhala majority areas of Trincomalee district can be merged with Badulla and Polonnaruwa districts respectively. That will keep all powerful stakeholders under control despite some howling for a short time. It will split the north from the east permanently with the large province wedging them. Most importantly it will take away Trincomalee Port from the Eastern Provincial Council. Nuwara Eliya district will be unable to influence any provincial election.

Existing provincial council boundaries follow British colonial needs of divide-and-rule. It promotes division and stops unity. The three province structure promotes unity among those who are willing to unite and frustrates separatism. It also drastically reduces administrative costs. Instead of 9 provincial health, education, etc. ministers there will be only 3. That is a 67% reduction in provincial administrative costs and corruption.

Instead of anymore distraction tactics that feed on extreme demands that are not possible, this must be done as soon as possible.

One Response to “As No One Can Remove 13A, Try the Next Best Option of Merging Seven Sinhala-Majority Provinces into One Province”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    Good idea to investigate further Dilrook.

    Best of this proposal is the Wedge it creates between the North and East separatist groups and getting back Trinco to majority Sinhalese.

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