Defending the North
It was very encouraging to see President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing
the United Nations General Assembly in our own languages, not just in
Sinhala but in Tamil as well. It symbolizes to the global community that
we are confident of a solution ending terrorism in our own way.
Devotees bathing in the holy waters at Keerimalai.
The North of Sri Lanka includes cleared, newly liberated and
non-liberated areas - i.e. Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Mulaithivu
districts as well as the Tiger bastion, the Kilinochchi district.
Separated from India by a narrow strip of sea, Jaffna is the home for
546,673 men, women and children. Out of a total area of 983.6 square
kilometres, 955.7 are cleared leaving only 27.9 as uncleared areas. Only
Vadamarachchi East is not fully cleared.
Jaffna is a unique set up. Since its liberation from the Tiger
clutches the Sri Lanka army is in charge of the total security of the
Though the totally liberated Mannar is getting ready for the
development activities the partly liberated Mulaithivu and Kilinochchi
districts are facing a volatile situation at present.
With the current military operation taking place in the Wanni Forward
Defence Lines, if the civilians trapped inside can arrive at the
Government controlled areas, they will be truly well taken care of.
The Government, in association with the renowned International Non
Governmental Organizations such as the UN agencies and the Sri Lanka
Army have set up the necessary assistance to these innocent people
coming in seeking for help, safety and above all a ray of hope for their
"We are ready to assist these innocent people on their arrival. Food
stocks, shelter, water and sanitation and other health facilities are
available without any room for shortcomings," the Secretary to the
Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services, A. C. M. Razik
told the 'Sunday Observer'. According to Razik the Government has
allocated a total sum of 1760 million rupees for resettlement
programming, maintaining welfare camps and providing facilities. Under
the instructions of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen the Resettlement Ministry
is conducting the lengthy process of resettling displaced people in the
One would wonder where would be those so-called 'Humanitarian
agencies' demanding respect for human rights all over the world? Aren't
these innocent Tamil people creatures of this planet? Why can't they
pronounce louder so that the Tigers can hear what they are saying
instead of the dull statements calling the attention of 'concerned
parties'? Does the Sri Lanka Army forcefully keep those people in the
LTTE target spots? At times it is hilarious how these international
organizations are unable to understand the mere fact that these are
Tiger held areas and no other activity can than nourishing and watering
terrorism can take place within these territories other? What liberation
does the LTTE seek for their own people by forcefully keeping them under
their control? Aren't they are the culprits who should free these people
to go to safety? What safety can they assure when they are losing
heavily day by day?
With immense gratitude to the Sri Lankan Security Forces let us keep
in mind that the entire Mannar district is now under Government control.
The initial ground clearing processes are going on under the Sri
Lanka Army. Under the Jathika Saviya program operated by the Ministry of
Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure the required heavy equipment
to clear the land and level down the huge bunker lines made by
excavating the fertile soil of the 'Rice Bowl' are already handed over
to the Army.
Pix: Thilak Perera
The key policy objective of the Government with regard to development
is to develop all villages in the country so that they emerge as micro
centre of growth on modern lines. The village should be able to retain
its decent and comfortable nature for people to live, work and engage in
their cultural and communal activities.
Remember, for a long time we were a nation of village communities.
The large majority of the population live in the rural areas. If it to
be successful, any development initiative should give due recognition to
According to the 2007 performance report of the Ministry of Nation
Building a total of 132.7 million rupees was allocated for the Jaffna
District for many community infrastructure development and
rehabilitation programs. Out of which 77.24 million rupees were
allocated for a Housing scheme for people living below the poverty line
in all DS divisions and another 14.334 million rupees for the repairs
and rehabilitation of rural roads in Delft Island south, Valikamum East,
Nallur, Kopay and Thennamarachchi DS divisions.
Though the implementation is difficult, the Government has allocated
38.5 million rupees for the development activities in the Kilinochchi
A total allocation of 22.64 million rupees is for the Mullaitivu
district for many infrastructure development activities in the district
including repair and reconstructing road networks, building libraries
and public halls and developing livelihood development programs etc.
A total allocation of 35.46 million rupees to serve number of sectors
which includes reconstruction of roads, development of rural hospitals
and school buildings, reconstructing irrigation systems as well as
drainage systems etc.
Rupees 5.43 million allocated for the Mannar district in year 2007
for supply of electricity, constructing multi-purpose buildings,
improving school facilities and many other infrastructure development
(Source - Performance report 2007 of Ministry of Nation Building and
Estate Infrastructure Development)
Power plant at Chunnakam in Jaffna under construction.
Pic: Prabhodi Lanka
Jaffna - The Ministry of Resettlement awaits the final report from
the Jaffna District Secretary (GA) on the eligible people to be
resettled in Jaffna High Security Zone.Following two fundemental rights
applications that were filed in 2003 and 2004 in the Supreme Court, a
five member speical committee was set up on the directive of the Chief
Justice Sarath N. Silva on June 23, 2008 under the chairmanship of the
High Court Judge, Jaffna.The Committee comprises Government Agent Jaffna
K.Ganesh, Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General G.A.
Chandrasiri, Rear Admiral T.S.G. Samarasinghe and the D.I.G. Police (Jaffna)
W.F.U. Fernando. Applications received are being scrutinized by the GA.
According to the Jaffna GA's report, as of 18th July 2008, the
Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services provide relief
items to 19,905 families and assisted by the Ministry of Samurdhi and
Poverty alleviation 53,636 families are supported. Under the Ministry of
Nation Building as a World Food Program project 43,103 families are
supported. With the completion of the Chunnakum power generation plant
which will provide 30 mega watts to the national grid under the Ceylon
Electricity Board, Jaffna will be benefited with round the clock power
supply in 2-3 months.
Mannar - "The plans are already finalized in resettling people in the
Musali area of Mannar," Advisor and the former Secretary to the Ministry
of Nation Building M. S. Jayasinghe said explaining the past and present
development programs taking place in the Mannar district of the Northern
Province. The MNARECAP program that commenced in 2004 with funding and
technical assistance from JICA has already been completed. In 2004 March
the MANRECAP program commenced with a number of MoUs signed between the
Government of Sri Lanka and JICA on Japanese Technical Cooperation and
Japanese experts were sent to commence this program in Mannar. By early
2008 the program finalised its scheduled development activities.
"Such development measures will continue for these people with the
liberation of the un-cleared areas," Jayasinghe added.In addition the
Ceylon Electricity Board is providing electricity to the areas in Mannar
under a grant provided by the Asian Development Bank. The Gama Neguma
and Maga Neguma programs are taking place in the area.
"Our effort is to make the returning more sustainable," UN
Development Program Senior Program Manager Wuria Karadaghy told us when
we met him at a discussion held at the Ministry of Nation Building. The
UNDP provides the technical and management services. After the Ceasefire
Agreement the UNDP had built 2300 permanent houses for returnees from
Mannar, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Jaffna, Trincomalee - jointly assisted by
the respective district Secretaries and UNHCR.Housing is part of the
integrated package for the returnees, Wuria said.
Along with it livelihood development for farmers, fishermen,
businessmen and even small scale entrepreneurs is provided - both
financial and technical support as required. The main target is a
sustainable livelihood development.
"When the people are strengthened, especially in terms of economy and
socially, it directly affects the country's stability in a very positive
manner. I have witnessed this even in many other countries as well," he
"Initially in a post-conflict situation the early recovery is
essential. The people need quick impact projects," he said further
explaining their plans in resettling the Musali area.
"These programs will not be stopped hereafter. When more areas are
liberated by the Government we are ready to continue these development
programs with the assistance from the Government," he noted.Under the
reawakening project for Mannar under the World Bank funding worth of 300
million rupees the gem of the Rice bowl - the Giants' Tank - will be
reconstructed along with the main irrigation canals of the system.
Government servants, religious leaders or any person can reach the
relevant authorities of the Army whenever they need their services. We
are not paying more attention to the voices of terrorists than those of