Northern Province Governor Palihakkara on the way out

PalihakkaraThe Northern Province, where Tamils constitute a predominant section of the population, may soon get a new Governor, The Hindu newspaper reported.

The incumbent, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, has conveyed to the government about his willingness to leave the post. Enquiries made in Colombo and Jaffna reveal that the government is expected to make an announcement shortly in this regard.

Asked about his possible exit, the Governor, who has held the post for a year, told The Hindu that at the time of his appointment, the understanding was that he would be there for six months.

“I have completed the agreed time. In fact, I have overstayed,” he said, quipping that “there is no story [about his leaving the job].” He emphasised that he would like to “resume my retirement”.

Palihakkara retired as Foreign Secretary in December 2006. He assumed charge as Governor of the Northern Province in February 2015.

Mr Palihakkara’s immediate predecessor as Governor was Maj. Gen. (retired) G.A. Chandrasiri, who was in office since mid-July 2009. He had earlier served as the Security Forces Commander, Jaffna.

Gen. Chandrasiri’s presence in the post-conflict North, which was the centre of the 26-year-long civil war, was a subject of controversy. The Tamil National Alliance and other parties had made his ouster one of their major demands. Palihakkara replaced him immediately after Sirisena had won the 2015 presidential election.