How many people in this country know that Land powers in the Northern and Eastern provinces were already given on a silver platter in 1992 by the UNP Government even without activating the 13th Amendment.
Posted on September 17th, 2023

Dr Sudath Gunasekara. Mahanuwara

How many people in this country know that Land powers in the Northern and Eastern provinces had already been given on a silver platter even without activating the 13th Amendment to the enemy by subtle political manipulations in 1992 by the Premadasa Government without the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, virtually marking the EELAM map on ground under the guise of Taking Administration to the people. Accordingly, the provisions of Act 58.1992 and PA circular 21/92 became effective throughout the Island with effect from the due date it was gazetted under this Act and the date given in the PA circular 21/92.

But the real dangers of granting land powers under this Act and Circular will come in to effect only in the EP and NP as explained below in more details. But the irony of this story is none of the 225 MPP had admitted this in Parliament.  Those representing the NP and EP must be keeping mum because if they say so, then there will be no issue for them to talk about to deceive the people by making a big noise in Parliament. Others maybe keeping silent because either they are not concerned about it or they don’t know about it as it is not a priority item in their private agenda.  

All powers hitherto exercised by the government Agents under statutes, gazettes and circulars from the beginning of colonial administration within their districts were transferred under the provisions of Act 58 of 1992 to Divisional Secretaries within their Districts of authority and such Divisional Secretaries thereafter shall exercise, perform, and discharge, within such Division, any power, duty or function conferred or imposed on, or assigned to, him/her by written law. The PA circular 21 of 1992 Taking Administration to the people” had laid down the details of its implementation and ended the long and illustrious record of 177 years of colonial Kachcheri Administration in this country. Further the 16th Amendment to the constitution provided the required administrative, legal and language facilities as explained in detail below.

As such the demand by Separatist Tamil politicians for the full implementation of the 13th A with land powers is only a political slogan just to rouse up the extremist communal elements.  In this context both the Sinhala and Tamil politicians on either side of the political divide know that jointly they have deceived the Sinhala Buddhist electorate. Therefore, this in short is the bitter but the gospel truth.

Because, all administrative powers including land alienation, and administration and connected subjects like irrigation, crown lands, irrigation, not only in the North and Eastern provinces but in reality, in the whole country have already been transferred with the full implementation of the Act no 58 of 1992 Transfer of powers (Divisional Secretaries) and the PA circular 21/92. As such there is no need to transfer them any more under the 13th A, as agitated by the Tamil politicians now.  This has been already done by legal and administrative arrangements by the treacherous UNP government under Premadasa by transferring all powers with regard to land and allied subjects that were formally with the Government Agents under various statutes to the Divisional Secretaries under the guise of taking administration to the people thus striping the GAA completely and thereby denying the people the only independent, impartial and nonpolitical source of administrative justice that was available at the district level.   

Delivery of Services as it was highlighted by the politicians at the time to people was not the real objective of these measures. This was done mainly to weaken the GAA whom the politicians’ envy as they formed a major barrier in their districts to violate rules and regulations for political needs. These new methods were invented only to deceive the people and to consolidate their power and get cheap popularity at the same time. Third they also knew it is easier to influence junior inexperienced officers of the divisions than the more experienced senior Civil servants at the district level who are less dependent on local politicians. The architects of Act no 58/92 and PA circular 21/92 had no idea as to the damage that is going to cause to district administration as a result.

What is even more dangerous is the provisions of both the Act 58/92 and the PA circular 21/92 will continue to be effective and irreversible damage will be done meanwhile and the formation of the EELAM will be a reality before long even if the 13th A is abolished in future by a patriotic government, if these two legislative and administrative devices are not abolished at least now. As such it will be a big threat for the territorial integrity and the unitary status of this Island State as they generate divisive and uncontrollable separatist tendencies among the minorities.

Under the powers given in terms of Act 58/92 each Divisional Secretary shall exercise, perform, and discharge, within such Division, any power, duty or function conferred or imposed on, or assigned to, him/her by written law. Furthermore, the fact that almost all officers attached to Divisional offices in the North and East will be Tamils or Muslims and the majority of Divisional Secretaries in the whole Island will be women as the current trend has proved, I foresee a serious breakdown in fair play and social justice, impartiality, efficiency and also the quality of public service in future due to the absence of supervisory and advisory authority at the district level, as the present GA. There will be no checks and balances on these junior divisional level officers. The quality of justice and fair play to the general public will also suffer in future as there is a likely hood of increasing pressure from local politics which the relatively junior and inexperienced Divisional level officers might find it difficult to withstand. The local ethnic and religious considerations will also affect the independence and the quality of service under this system.

My most pertinent question to those who voted this Act in Parliament and became a party to this treacherous national crime is what the hell they were doing without exposing this national crime and withdrawing these two treacherous acts. Who were the traitors who have voted this 58/92 and why the hell they did, while the Ministry of public Administration issued this death sentence Circular on district Administration. These two incidents alone bare evidence as to how our politicians have messed up this country for political gains during that period. Wasn’t there at least a single civil servant who had a wee bit of brain to point out this criminal act to the Cabinet. The Secretary M/PA Junaid who has singed this 21/92 death warrant of the nation was my Junior by 2 years and was a person who has never worked outside Colombo other than his training period as a cadet at Nuwara Eliya Kachcheri for few months. So obviously he could never have known what a village or an understanding as to what kachcheri administration in this country is. So, it is no wonder this type of tragedies happens when you appoint such persons as the Secretaries to the Ministry like Public Administration.

Fortunately, by providence for the SLAS, I was the President of the SASA at that time. Accidentally one day I saw the cabinet paper to amalgamate the Divisional Secretariates and the Pradhesiiya Sabhas and appoint Divisional Secretaries as Secretaries of Praadhesiya Saba Chairmen on the table of the Chief Secretary to Uva province at Badulla in Nov 1992 on one of my circuits. I got a copy and after I returned to Colombo, immediately I summoned an emergency meeting of SASA at the BMICH and invited President as the chief guest. That was the first SASA meeting held at the MBICH and well attended. Almost about 2300 out of our strength of 2500 at that time were present. Almost all Div Secs, in the Island, GAA, Heads of Departments and 22 Ministry Secretaries out of 25.  Were there. In my opening address I explained to the President the dangers of that proposal. I told him thatwe as Members of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service numbering about 2500 who man all the key positions of the entire machinery of governance at the National, District and Divisional and village levels of public service who are in charge of the implementation of the policies and programmed of any government. strongly oppose this new proposal. I also told him that in the event of this proposal being implemented there will be no governance either at the center or in the periphery and there will be utter chaos and confusion in the whole country. I also paused the question to him as to what guarantee he has that these Pradesiya sabahas will be UNP at all the time. What is more is it appears to us to be a big coup detach to destabilize the government and sent it home, I told him. Therefore, I requested him to withdraw the Cabinet paper to be taken up next day and urge the President not to appoint any outsiders to Scheduled post of SLAS as well. The said Cabinet paper proposed to Amalgamate the two and appoint the Div Secs as secretaries of the Pradheisiya Sabaha. Had that been allowed, that would have been the end of the SLAS in Sri Lanka. I am happy that I could thereby prevent the demise of the top civil Service in this country. Had any one brought to my notice the above two cases, Act 58/92 and the PA circular 21/92. I could have included them too to my list and definitely stopped them been implemented.  As I came back to my seat that day President Premadasa turned towards me and said Sudath my congratulations. You made an excellent speech”.

 Then he got up to his feet and said, Gentlemen I did not know the dangers of this proposal until your President brought up it to my notice. I thank him and your association for bringing this up to my notice. I allow all the five requests he made on behalf of your Association, he concluded.

Nex morning my friend Wijedasa called me and said My congratulations Sudath. President wanted me to inform you that you have been appointed as the State Sect to the Ministry of Health with immediate effect.  That was how I was appointed as a Ministry Secretary on 1st Jan 1993 straight away from the pool. 

This was how I got him to drop that proposal that was to be taken up at the Cabinet meeting scheduled to be held next day. At that time, I was in the pool having been transferred to it by the same Premadasa due to political interventions for the resurrecting a dead project called NADSA with a 12.5 million  US$ package from WFP as the Executive Director of the newly created HADABIMA Authority of Sri Lanka at that time having created a 250, 000 farmer family  project covering the Central, Sabaragamuwa and UVA provinces, thus expanding a small mid-country farmer development project that was confined to few small pockets in Kandy and Kegalla Districts.

Had I been a Secretary of a Ministry at that time or had anyone brought up these 2 issues (the Act no 58/92 and 21/92) to my notice as the President of the SASA, I would have definitely brought up the issues at the BMICH meeting and stopped them as well.

Both the 58/92 and 21/92 national betrayals were done during the Presidency of R. Premadasa. As such he was singularly guilty of this betrayal and is fully responsible for the disaster that was brought about to district administration in this country resulting from these actions thereafter. Additionally, the 16tth Amendment to the Constitution that was passed on 17th Dec 1988 by the same government had already provided the required administrative, legal and language infrastructure for the easy implementation of these powers in the respective two provinces in addition to implementing the Act 58 and PA/21 Circular though out the Island.

The nominations were accepted for the Presidential Election on 10th Nov. 1988 and the elections held on 19th Dec 1988 and Premadasa became President on 2nd Jan 1899. Meanwhile the 16th amendment was certified in Parliament on17th Dec 1988. Now you see how much Premadasa was involved with these disasters.

 These two instruments operate like this. By virtue of the provisions of 58/92 and 21/92 powers of the former GAA over land and all other subjects such as irrigation Ord etc that were exercised by the then GAA hitherto (see attachments) were transferred to the Divisional Secretaries, the Divisional Secretaries became Divisional GAA overnight although they were designated Divisional Secretaries. With these new powers they became the sole authority within their divisions on the subject of land and all other subjects transferred under this Act reducing the former GAA to ceremonial figures as coordinator only for election work without any authority over the transferred subjects as the PA circular 21/92 says. They are now designated as District Secretaries and are expected to mark time until they disappear with the completion of the full implementation of the PA circular 21/92 as the curtain will fall over the Kachcheri system.   

Coming back to the Northern and Eastern provinces all politicians in these areas are Tamils. Governors are Tamils. All the so called key public officers like District Secretaries, Chief Secretaries are also Tamils all functions pertaining to the subject of land in these two provinces come under the Divisional Secretaries. Divisional Secretaries, Gramasevakas, Heads of all government departments, and all public officers in these two districts are Tamils. The working language of all public Officers has now become Tamil under the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. Thus, it is more than clear that not only mono Tamil administration but even the EELAM   is already established in these two provinces while yelling ethnic discrimination and genocide at international fora. What is left is only to declare cessation under the banner EELAM, with the blessings of the Indian government.

A survey superintendent working in that area told me that he has got orders to give land permits to all lands occupied by Tamils and Muslims in the eastern province without limiting to 20 p for residential and 40 p for agricultural purposes as it is done in other provinces. This was how then government have discriminated the Sinhala majority against the minorities following the same principle the colonial rulers did. Thanks to President Premadasa, it is a free for all operation within those two provinces without a word about the 13th Amendment, all our patriotic ancestors fought for and died in tens of thousands for two and half millennia is betrayed with single stroke of one self -seeking power hungry unpatriotic politician.

Therefore, unless a patriotic Sinhala government one day withdraw the Act 58 of 1992 and PA Circular 21/92 immediately, within one year all the land in these two provinces, comprising 1/3 the area of the Island with about 4% of the total population of the country will be occupied by Tamils only. Then whether the 13th A is empowered or not the de-Sinhalization of these 2 provinces will be a foregone conclusion, with legal plans prepared by the Survey Department of Sri Lanka. In the process, now that the President has already directed to give all Mahaweli lands and even archaeological reserves and temple lands to Tamils and Muslims living in these areas contrary to current land alienation Laws and the provisions of the Antiquities Ordinance. It is only a matter of time to declare the EELAM.

So, what Prabahakaran could not do for 30 years by the gun and terror will be done within 2 years thanks to these two treacherous instruments and the 16th amendment to the Constitution by Premadasa. In the process these short sighted  self- seeking politicians have simultaneously achieved two things. The Act 58/92 and PA Circular 21 /92 first, destroyed the once well-established district administration in this country, one of the best in the East, that exercised the authority of the Central government both in administration and development and second, given land powers to the NP and EP without implementing the 13th A. All Sinhalese and Muslims in these provinces will either be murdered or chase out within in a very short time, perhaps with the help of the same governments in exchange for their vote.

Therefore, the urgent need to withdraw Act 58 0f 1992 and PA circular 21 /92 to stop the elimination or evacuation of all Sinhalese and even Muslims from these two provinces and declaring the EELAM.  Over to you the government, elected by 19.5 % of the people of this country with whom the so-called sovereignty is supposed to be vested, perhaps only on the election day.

These two instruments the above 58/92 and 21 /92.and the 16th A to the constitution marked the death of the District Administration and the birth of an era of absolute anarchy with separatism raising its ugly head on a better footing underscoring the 16th Amendment and these three legal and administrative instruments mark a turning point in the complete breakdown of administration in the countryside of this country.

The GAA who happened to be the kingpins and commanding officers in their districts when it comes to district administration under the previous system have now got reduced to mere spectators looking like outdated antiques with no power and authority over the Divisional Secretaries and even over the Grama Sevakas, once happen to be the steel foundation of a superb mechanism of District Administration in this country.  The Government agents under the previous system were public servants and senior professional SLAS officers who knew their job. But under the new system Governors command over the provinces (A system rejected even by the colonial Administrators long time ago as inefficient and not people friendly in the delivery of services.). They are not professionals either. Almost all are rejected politicians or relatives and friends of either the President or Ministers except in very rare instances most of them know next to nothing, other than attending ceremonial and political functions not only in their Provinces but all over the Island at public expense and enjoying princely privileges with Cabinet Minister status for no work done to the country or to people of their own provinces.

An excellent example of gross misuse of executive political power heavily misused in pursuance of personal interests is the recently appointed EP Governor Senthil Thondaman who started his new job by burning his fingers by getting a Divisional Secretary to ban the construction of a Buddhist Temple on an archaeological site for which he had no judicial power as the Governor. This man is an estate Tamil of Indian origin from the hill country, who knew next to nothing about administration, public service or governance. He also did not have any other distinguished record of service to the country rendered, for him to be considered for such high public post. 

Obviously, the President has appointed him as Governor EP to fulfil two of his personal objectives. Objective one is to woo the plantation vote in the hill country as he is the President of the CWE and objective 2 is to canvas the EP Tamil vote for the next presidential election, both of which he will never get. If the President was really interested in the development of the EP and honestly concerned with the overall welfare of the people including the  security of the  country in view of the long coastal line extending from Kumana in the down South to Kokilayi in the north (nearly 200 km) open to the Indian ocean, to in my mind,  he  should have never removed the former Governor Anuradha Yahmpath, purely on representations made  by Tamil, Muslim and even local half Sinhala idiots  (as she is a Sinhala Buddhist who was the best governor we ever this area had, going by her performance during the short time she was there as Governor, in any province for that matter, since the inception of the PCC in 1987)  with a separatist ethnic Tamil labour leader in spite of  his well-known Indian affinities and anti -Sinhala Buddhist attitudes as already openly displayed by the Trico Buddhist temple issue.

He is a man who always think he is an Indian. His all affinities are with his mother land India and all his gods both spiritual and political are also in India. His allegiance just like those of his boss are all ways with India and never with Sri Lanka. So how can one expect such a man to protect the Interest of mother Lanka and its people. His first adventure of banning construction on Boralukanda Rajamaha Viharaya is ample testimony for his anti- Sinhala Anti Buddhist and anti -Sri Lankan attitude. In this back drop the President must call him back and appoint a Sinhala Buddhist Scholar conversant in history, geography and archaeology of this region as the new governor if he is unable to reinstate the previous Governor Anuradha Yahamapath in the broader interest of the security of the country and the broader interests of the native Sinhala Buddhist people in that province[S1] .

I pause this question to the President. What distinguished service this man has done to the county or what positive contribution you expect from him for the good governance, the development or the welfare of the people of that province, besides your vested self interest in his vote base, which I will vouch, you will never get at any election. You take it from me, their entire vote base will openly support Sajith Premadasa as they had done it last time as well.  In this back drop I think you will re-think about your mistake at least now and try to rectify it.


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