Don’t transfer “grama niladaris” (GS) before voter registry revision is completed Hold disciplinary inquiries against those with allegations
Posted on April 25th, 2017


CaFFE requests secretary to the ministry of Home Affairs and Elections Commission

Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) urges the ministry of home affairs to stay its order issued on 7 March 2017, to transfer all grama niladaris who have served in the same station for more than three years, until the voter registry revision is completed.

Although the transfers were to be implemented by 7 April, Neil de Alwis,  secretary to the ministry of home affairs, has sent a letter to district secretaries informing them that the transfers were halted till the end of the Vesak Week. Thus after the Vesak week, those who have worked in grama niladari divisions that have ‘popular’ schools for over two years and others who have been in the same place for over three years, are to be transferred.

The voter registry revision is to commence in June. By transferring thousands of grama niladaris a month before the voter registry revision process will create havoc. The voter registry revision process can smoothly and properly run if grama niladaris who know those who live in their respective areas are a part of it.

It is true that some grama niladaris, who are stationed at divisions which have popular schools, are engaged in corrupt and unlawful activities. However the grama niladari is only a part of a systematic operation, to enrol students into these schools, and a number of other officials are involved in this. Thus it is obvious that transferring grama niladaris will not address the issue of preparing false documents to enrol students to popular schools.

Most of the grama niladaris who are stationed at the same place for a long time have direct links to senior government officials and are protected by them. If action is not taken against grama niladaris who face a number of allegations, that is a problem which lies with divisional secretaries and district secretaries. Thus changing thousands of grama niladaris, when only a handful of them are accused of corruption is not judicious, especially at a moment when local administration is in chaos due to the decision to postpone the local government election.

As mentioned earlier CaFFE is aware that some grama niladaris are involved in a number of corrupt activities, from preparing forged documents  to helping businessmen obtain contracts although there are more competent bidders. However addressing this is a task for senior administrators and not something that can be achieved by blanket transfers.

CaFFE urges the ministry of home affairs and Elections Commission to halt these transfers until the voter registry revision is completed.

Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon

Executive Director –  CaFFE

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