Northern Province Governor for changes in housing scheme

Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray has sought changes in the design of the contentious housing project in the Northern and Eastern Provinces that has proposed to build 65,000 houses in the conflict-hit region in four years.In an interview with The Hindu at his official residence, Cooray, who took over in mid-February, said: “Do not stop [the project]. Continue [the project] with various amendments.” Pointing out that a number of facilities such as cooking gas cylinder, cooker, computer and television had been planned to be provided to the beneficiaries of the project, the Governor said: “If you are going to oppose the project, people will feel you are jealous of them. My feeling is that people will like it [the project]… For those poor people, they also enjoy that type of life, which is good.” When referred to Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran’s complaint that elected representatives of the Northern Province were not taken into confidence while framing the scheme, Mr. Cooray concurred with him and added that “even the people” were not consulted. The issue of durability had to be addressed.On the issue of cost, “out of the money [of SLR 2.1 million for each house], we can build two houses. That will be a very good answer to the resettlement campaign.” Another 40,000 houses were required to be built in the North and the Governor would favour at least the number of houses to be increased to 90,000 under the present project.Emphasising that resettlement had to be given top priority, Mr. Cooray, who earlier served as Chief Minister of the Western Province twice and Central Minister, said that as part of the creation of livelihood opportunities, utilisation of the resources such as lagoons and palmyrah should be done to the maximum. Conscious of the growing trend of disinclination among youth to work in the farm sector, the Governor said greater focus should be provided on technical education. On various challenges faced by the Northern Province, he said that while it was “very difficult” to find people to teach Sinhala in Jaffna, the same was the case with skilled workers such as those engaged in plumbing, masonry and carpentry as such workers had migrated out of the country.As the province had been under the control of the Sri Lanka Army, Indian Army, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and many other militant groups in the last 30 years, staff in the provincial administration had “no practice” with civilian administration, he added. “They have to learn again to work in a peaceful society.” (Colombo Gazette) He refused to divulge details of his suggestion, but indicated that some of the facilities, proposed to be given to beneficiaries, “are not needed.” Asked whether he communicated his position to the Central government, he said: “In writing, I did it. My job is done.” read more

Womens volleyball Hoosiers upset Buckeyes in Bloomington

Members of the OSU women’s volleyball team during a game against Michigan on Nov. 14 at St. John Arena. OSU lost 3-0. Credit: Lantern file photoA third-set Buckeye effort wasn’t enough to stop the Indiana Hoosiers from swiping a win from the Ohio State women’s volleyball team on Saturday. Indiana took home the 3-1 victory on their home court, while No. 22 OSU fell to 15-11 overall on the season and 5-9 in the Big Ten. The loss tallies two in a row for the Buckeyes, dropping a match to Wisconsin prior to their faceoff with the Hoosiers. OSU has just six remaining matches in the regular season. The Buckeyes will see three of those teams for the first time this season. A week ago, junior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer said that allowing teams to go on three or four-point runs is ruinous for the Buckeyes. In the first set alone, the Hoosiers went on three three-point runs and created a hole for OSU. Near the conclusion of the first set, the Buckeyes pulled within two points but it was the deadly three-point deficit that came back to haunt them. The Hoosiers took the first set, 25-22. The second set was anchored offensively by sophomore outside hitter Audra Appold, who swung for 10 kills. Even with impressive statistics, the Buckeyes were doomed to play catch-up nearly the entire set. However, OSU rallied and tied the score at 23-23. Then, Indiana’s Deyshia Lofton secured a kill and an assisted block for the second Indiana set win. By the third set, the Buckeyes had had enough, and jumped out to an 8-0 lead, assisted by multiple attacking errors from the Hoosiers. It wasn’t long before sophomore setter Taylor Hughes set foot on the service line and led the team on another three-point run to make the score 14-4. The OSU kills kept rolling, as senior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe racked up three in a row, and junior outside hitter Ashley Wenz led the set-winning attack. The Buckeyes headed into the fourth set trailing 2-1. Down for nearly the entire set, OSU gained its first lead at 14-13. The advantage changed hands briefly before the score was mirrored at 22 each. It was the Hoosiers’ Allison Hammond who slammed down two attacks in the final minutes to take the match, 25-23. Appold and Sandbothe combined for 37 kills during the match, while freshman Madison Smeathers assisted with five blocks. OSU will have a chance to redeem its loss to the Hoosiers at the final match of the regular season in front of a home crowd. Before then, the team will first face Rutgers at 7 p.m. on Friday at St. John Arena. read more