South Asia

  • 14/03/2005

tsunami Answerability: Sri Lanka's president Chandrika Kumaratunga has got an inquiry initiated into the government's failings in averting the destruction caused by the tsunami waves on December 26, 2004. She has appointed a retired Supreme Court judge to conduct the probe. The inquiry will try to find out if government agencies did all they could to warn the people about the disaster. According to government officials, it might also suggest measures to avoid or minimise the harm from similar natural disasters in future.

A few days ago, Priyantha Perera, a Sri Lankan tsunami survivor, had filed a case in the Supreme Court against the government for not saving his family during the disaster. Perera was travelling in a train that was swept away by the tsunami waves, killing 1,000 people, including his wife and mother-in-law. He says he had called up the police and other government bodies after the first wave hit the train, but this was of no avail. The second wave hit after another 30 minutes. "If the government had been efficient enough to inform the people through loudspeakers or stopped the train in time, my wife would still be alive,' he laments.

Dhaka-Yangon road: The construction of the much-awaited Bangladesh-Myanmar Friendship Road will begin in March 2005, according to a recently released press statement of the Bangladesh government. The decision was taken at a joint meeting of the Technical Task Force (TTF) of the two countries at Myanmar. The road will link Dhaka with Yangon.

Myanmar's TTF expressed the hope at the meeting that the 100-kilometre Tangboro-Kyauktaw alignment road on its side will help promote trade between the two countries. It will also facilitate communication with China and Thailand, it added. The selection of site for alignment on the Tangboro-Balibazar road, also on the Myanmar side, will also be finished next month. Bangladesh will provide financial assistance to Myanmar for constructing this road. Some foreign donors are also helping for the entire US $149.7 million project.

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