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Sunday, 17 February 2013





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Sri Lanka on the threshold - hope and promise

Sri Lanka’s forward march since the eradication of terrorism almost four years ago has set new world standards and need better attention and recognition from the international community.

SriLankan Airlines has long-standing ties with European countries

Instead of talking about the human rights of the terrorists killed in action during confrontations with a legitimate army of a sovereign state, the UN Human Rights Council and the Western politicians must have a closer look at the significant developments made by Sri Lanka and the new lease of life given to the people in the North and the East.

They should not live under the illusion that had been created by the LTTE that the country’s Tamil population is confined to the North and the East. More than half of the country’s Tamil population lives outside these two provinces, mixing with the Sinhalese and the Muslims. Moreover, the Sinhalese have now become a minority in the capital Colombo, which is an ideal example of the peaceful coexistence among different ethnic groups in Sri Lanka.

While investing the bulk of the development expenditure on these two provinces, which have shown an unprecedented growth rate of over 22 percent, the Government has also given enough attention to development projects at national level.

The European Union Heads of Mission who visited Hambantota last week, along with representatives of their trade teams to explore trade and investment opportunities for their countries, have expressed optimism about development in the Hambantota district.

French Ambassador Christine Robichon, German Ambassador Dr. Jürgen Morhard and British High Commissioner John Rankin visited Hambantota recently, stated the British High Commission in Colombo.

Foreign investments

Commenting jointly on their visit, the three Heads of Mission said over 200 European companies are currently investing in Sri Lanka. The development of Hambantota into a logistics hub will open many opportunities for companies to invest and partner with Sri Lanka. “Our ties with the people of Hambantota are deep. Our three countries contributed substantially to the post-tsunami reconstruction. We wish the people of Hambanotata well and hope our respective countries can be part of its success story”, they said.

The three Heads of Mission expressing their views said, “we were pleased to tour the Hambantota district, a hub of promising economic development in Sri Lanka. Europe is Sri Lanka’s major partner in trade and tourism. In 2012, France, Germany and the UK accounted for nearly 25 percent of the total number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka. We hope to see these figures increasing with the opening of the Mattala International Airport and welcoming of international flights”, they further said.

The thermal power plant at Chunnakam

“SriLankan Airlines has a long-standing relationship with our countries. Its fleet is made exclusively of Airbus planes. Airbus planes are state-of-the-art in particular for their fuel and cost efficiency”, they further said.

“We look forward to this relationship growing even stronger in the future. The EU is Sri Lanka’s largest export market with over 30 percent of all exports in 2011 going to the EU. Exports to the EU have been increasing steadily for six consecutive years,” the Heads of Mission said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s second international airport at Mattala in Hambantota is nearing completion and is ready to begin operations next month.

Construction work is 99 percent complete and the airport will be opened with full facilities for air traffic operations on March 18. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has insisted that development projects should be in place only after realising the true meaning of development initiatives being carried out by the Government aiming to develop rural areas of the country.

He instructed officials to identify young and talented youth in villages and train them to find lucrative employment opportunities in the naval and aviation fields.

The officials were also instructed to implement a pragmatic policy and proper mechanism to purchase agri-products directly from the rural masses to be used for aviation and naval services.

President Rajapaksa pointing out the possible cultural changes when undergoing mega-development projects of this calibre, warned officials to be vigilant and alert on the country’s cultural values.

New airport

A woman being trained in demining

The airport, built on a 2,000 hectare land according to the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization, has a 1,000-square metre cargo facility with the capacity of handling 45,000 metric tons of cargo per year.

The new airport will support both international and domestic travel and air-sea cargo transshipment in conjunction with the Hambantota Harbour.

While the development projects in the South are going on schedule, the Government continues to further strengthen infrastructure development projects in the North and the East. Last week, the President opened the Central Functions Building Complex of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital.

The Government of Japan provided funds through JICA amounting to Yen 2,298 million (Rs. 2,900 million) towards the Project for Improvement of the Central Functions of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital for the construction of a new three-storey building complex equipped with operating theatre, intensive care units, central laboratory complex, central facilities for diagnostic imaging and provision of medical equipment for the smooth functioning of the hospital.

Highlighting the significance of this event, Japanese Ambassador Hobo said, “Japan is extremely happy that the three- storey building complex which was a gift from the people of Japan to the people of Sri Lanka will enable the people of the Northern Province to have access to quality health care services and ensure their well-being.”

The Government of Japan has continuously supported the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the Northern areas with assistance for social and economic development.

A 24 MW thermal power plant at Chunnakam in the Jaffna Peninsula too was commissioned by the President last week. The Janani Power Plant which was linked to the main grid will provide an uninterrupted power supply to the Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts and surrounding areas.

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) constructed the power plant at a cost of US$ 30.5 billion within 14 months. The power plant will employ 150 people directly.

Construction of the Kilinochchi-Chunnakam transmission line also took place along with the establishment of the Janani Power Plant.

According to the Ceylon Electricity Board, 85 percent of households in the Jaffna district now have electricity, compared to 65 percent in 2009. Eighteen percent of households in the Kilinochchi district and 30 percent of households in the Mullaitivu district now have electricity compared to no services in 2009.It was also reported that the Ceylon Electricity Board has been able to provide free electricity connections to more than 23,000 resettled families.

The Australian parliamentary delegation led by Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop that visited Sri Lanka recently has commended the work done in the North since the end of terrorism.

Attending CHOGM

Considering the progress made in the period, Australia should attend and encourage Commonwealth countries to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka later this year, she said.

“We visited Jaffna and Kilinochchi in the Northern Province which was held by the Tamil Tigers for so many years and we were struck by the amount of reconstruction work that is going on. Billions of rupees have been invested in major infrastructure projects such as roads, and this is all quite self-evident when you travel to Jaffna. New highways and roadworks are everywhere, so are water and sanitation projects and electricity transmission. You have to remember that much of the North has never had electricity and now a majority of the North has electricity. There’s still some way to go,” she said.

“The mobile phone coverage was superb. Indeed, I got better mobile phone coverage throughout the North of Sri Lanka than I do driving through Kings Park in Western Australia”, she said.

The parliamentary delegation was accompanied by Shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Border Protection Spokesman Michael Keenan. The group visited the North and the East and also met with Government officials and Opposition Parliamentarians to hold discussions on a range of issues including illegal people smuggling.

Addressing the media at the conclusion of the visit to Sri Lanka, she said, “We have to remember that Sri Lanka is emerging from 30 years of terrorism. The Tamil Tigers, the LTTE was in fact a proscribed terrorist organisation in a number of places around the world. The Sri Lankan Forces defeated the LTTE, and we must remember that the LTTE had a navy, an air force and had essentially occupied northern Sri Lanka. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced as a result of terrorism which ended three years ago”.

Speaking with regard to the resettlement of the displaced civilians, she said the majority of them have returned to their homes. Some who were displaced because of military camps being established in the North in the last few years of terrorism have not yet returned to their homes, but they are being provided with land and temporary accommodation and in some instances, more permanent accommodation, pending decisions about the military withdrawal from the North.

“We, in fact, saw a number of housing projects under way, the Indian Government is providing housing, the Australian Government through AusAid is providing permanent housing and we also saw housing that was being built by the Sri Lankan military”, she said.

Commenting on rehabilitation of the former LTTE combatants, Julie Bishop said there is a rehabilitation process under way. “After the conflict, clearly a number of people were detained, but we have seen evidence of the steps being taken to rehabilitate people. For example, we visited a landmine site, the Australian Government through AusAID is supporting a private sector organisation to de-mine agricultural areas so that it can be productive and used for agricultural purposes once more.

“A number of women, in particular, are being employed by this private sector organisation to carry out demining work. It’s painstaking, detailed work. We had an opportunity to speak to these women. A number of them were former Tamil Tiger combatants. Indeed, one was in the Sea Tigers and her job was to be part of an effort to send explosives in small boats to blow up Sri Lankan Navy personnel. She’s now working to get rid of landmines.

They are paid well and they want to finish this work and with the money that they have saved, start small businesses. The Tamils are very enterprising, hard-working people and we were heartened by their aspirations to set up small businesses throughout the North, she said.


“What was also heartening was the reconstruction work being carried out in schools. We visited a school for which AusAID has funded the rebuilding and one of the young students told us that at the end of terrorism, after the schools had been closed, only 36 students returned to that school. Today, there are 2,000 young students at that school. There are some impressive statistics about teacher/student ratios and the number of students attending schools. Likewise, in the health area, new hospitals are being, built and hospitals closed during the conflict have been reestablished,” she said.

Expressing her views regarding the presence of the military in the North, she said in a number of instances, the military have been deployed for civilian purposes and they were involved in building houses. “We visited what’s called a model village where military personnel were building permanent housing of the same standard that AusAID was building elsewhere in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces.

“We saw that the Navy has been deployed to build a golf course at a would be tourist area around Trincomalee. And the military who has been sent back down South are involved in the beautification process of Colombo and that is quite evident. The city of Colombo has improved dramatically in terms of the beautification, the heritage building restoration and the like”, she said.

Bishop also said that Australia should attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November and also encourage member countries to do so.

“As far as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting later this year is concerned, I’m satisfied that Australia should attend and should encourage other Commonwealth countries to attend. The Sri Lankan Government is not perfect, but it is making inroads into the challenges facing the country and should be encouraged to continue to do so,” she said.

The Government is taking every possible effort to provide what is required for the people liberated from the clutches of the LTTE. The Government is providing what is needed for the people irrespective of the remarks made by the Opposition and is in the process of rebuilding everything destroyed by the terrorists over a period of three decades.

The newly opened Jaffna hospital building complex comprises eight surgical theatres, an ICU unit, laboratory, early cancer detection centre and many other facilities.

The main objective of this project is to upgrade and reconstruct the health facilities in the Jaffna district. Around 550,000 people in Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts will benefit from this project.

Sri Lanka, under the leadership of President Rajapaksa, is rapidly moving forward to a new era of economic prosperity and stability. The general living standards are improving as the economy expands at an unprecedented rate.

The underlying indicators continue to be positive despite the downturn in the global outlook. Sri Lanka will continue to move ahead and all its people will reap the benefits of peace and stability.

Unparalled opportunities

As Dr. Palitha Kohona has pointed out recently, Sri Lanka now has an unparalleled opportunity to leave behind the uncertainties, the lack of confidence and the bitterness of yesterday and embrace a new era of hope and promise - an era of certainty and prosperity.

“Sri Lanka must achieve higher goals as a nation together. The expatriate community has a critical role to play in this respect. We who have prospered in distant lands should keep in mind those whom we left. It behoves us to lend a helping hand to those whom we left behind and, in particular, the families of those thousands who sacrificed their lives and gave up their today so that we could have our tomorrow.

“As the economy improves, the government will also continue proactively to put in place mechanisms to ensure an environment of dignity and equality to all Sri Lankans.

“All Sri Lankans will have equal opportunities to achieve their highest aspirations and their individual dreams. Those who have been to Sri Lanka recently, would have observed the tranquility and lack of tension.

“The North and the East, long ravaged by LTTE terror, have been described by international observers as major construction sites as the Government continues to pump in billions of rupees to restore infrastructure and improve the lives of ordinary people.

The private sector, including SMEs, have become a major player in the rejuvenated and rapidly expanding economy.

“The opportunities continue to expand, whether in the hospitality industry, in agriculture, in fisheries, in high-tech or manufacturing. Tourism is booming, opening up extensive opportunities for investment.

“The USA, Sri Lanka’s biggest export market, purchases over 20 percent of the country’s exports, and the potential of this market remains excellent. New investment opportunities are opening up. I invite those of you, who are in a position to do so, to grab these opportunities for the benefit of Sri Lanka, as well as your own selves. The US has provided us over US $ 2 billion in development assistance over the years, including after the tsunami.

Sri Lanka needs true friends in its ambitious forward march to become the Wonder of Asia. The progress shown by Sri Lanka in every sphere is an ample testimony that the goal of becoming the Wonder of Asia is not that distant.”



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