Saturday, May 07, 2005


I spoke to someone at the Treasury last afternoon. I wanted to know why the 5000/2500 Rs compensation that was supposed to be handed out to displaced people each month had not been handed out for April (and for some people not even for March).

Now this is how the warped system works. If you're a displaced person who lost your whole family, if like you're the only person left you get 2500 Rs from the Government. If there's more than one person left then you get 5000 Rs for the whole family. I don't know how that makes sense for a family where no one died but they lost everything. Go figure...

But that's not the problem right now.

The problem is that a few weeks ago the Treasury said they can't give the people the money for April because they don't have any funds. But then, the Treasury was never releasing money for compensation directly from their coffers. They were always taking aid money directly from the WB and handing out to the people.

So why did the WB stop giving this money to the Treasury?

Well, this is all very very off the record boys and girls, like our friend at the Treasury told me, but it seems during the first 2 months of payments (January and February) the compensation has been paid out to 50% more people than were displaced!

What the fuck?

For instance in Galle, the overpayment figure is 150% the number of people who were affected. To be very honest I don't think that a lot of Government officials made a profit or lined their pockets or anything. What is most likely is that in the mad rush to give the money out (mile long queues at the People's Bank) they just gave a lot of money to every T D & H who came along with a sob story.

So at the end of February when the WB wants to see where their money went they Treasury gives them a proper audit. But the problem is someone at theWB takes a good hard look at the figures and says 'What the fuck? There aren't this many affecetd people. We're not going to the Treasury any more money till they sort out their distribution methods.'

So that's where it's at now. The Treasury and the People's Bank are trying to sort out the lists of the deserving. And to make matters significantly more complicated the guy at the Treasury who's in charge of all this compensation and has to sign a lot of the documents is not even in the country. I don't know if he's off on work or on holiday. But the fact is that he's not here, and the people in the camps have to go by another month without their compensation.

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