Colombo: Sri Lankan government will pay incentives to state employees who will learn additional local languages, including Tamil, to reduce the communication gap with people of Tamil origin in the Sinhalese-dominated nation.
The move aims to reduce the communication gap between those in the Tamil-dominated northern and eastern parts and the rest of the Sinhalese-majority country.
"Most of the problem we have been facing today, could have been avoided if everyone communicate in an additional language" Prime Minister DM Jayaratne said.
Many blame the Sinhala-only policy of 1956 for the escalation of ethnic tension, which erupted into a full-blown Tamil separatist war in the early 1980s.
However, Tamil was also recognised as an official language on par with Sinhalese in 1988, a year after the Indo-Sri Lanka peace accord which sought, but failed to end the separatist struggle.