Over 100 houses in Phase 2:
New houses bring fresh hopes to Keppapilavu
The first step was 50 houses in 90 days. And that was in 2013.
|A row of new
houses in Keppapilavu Model Village
welcoming the guests
Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa handing over ownership of a house
to a villager
Today the Keppapilavu has 101 houses more, which were handed over to
the owners last Thursday (April 3) by Defence Secretary Gotabaya
Keppapilavu model village, located a few kilometres from the
Mullativu town, is a progressing fishing cum agricultural village.
It is a multi coloured village with rows of houses painted in a light
blue, reddish brown soil, bright green foliage and yellow flowers
fluttering in the wind in the scorching heat of the sun. Many banana
trees of different heights, one old mango tree, a sweet potato plot
running in one corner were common among many of these clean and neat
Yet one still cannot figure out why these people keep the temporary
shelter they built immediately after resettling - is it just another
store room or a mark to remind them of the horrible past?
Wrinkle lines on older people's faces tell many stories of the
hardships these people faced as they were the last to come from the
Vavuniya Cheddikulam Welfare Centres where they were sheltered as
Internally Displaced Persons. Today, this developing village has become
a model of rural development, not only to the Maritimepattu DS Division
to which it belongs in the Mullaitivu district, but to the entire
Many houses have been built in his village by the soldiers of the Sri
Lanka Army deployed under the Mullaitivu Security Forces Headquarters
with funds from the Government. A resettling family receives around Rs.
350,000 to build a new house from the Ministry of Resettlement.
The main problem in these villages has been finding the man-power to
build a house and transport material. Today, the Army personnel deployed
in areas where people are resettling, assist the villagers to build
their houses and to those civilians who are not physically fit, the
soldiers take the total responsibility of building a house.
There are 262 families comprising 868 persons in the village,
according to President of the Rural Development Society Rasaiah
Parameshwaran, which even the villagers call as RDS. The Grama Niladhari
Division has four villages - Sooriyapuram, Keppapilavu, Seeniyamotai and
After resettling, the villagers have formed a Rural Development
Society to effectively coordinate the development work of the society.
Most of the villagers here were either fishermen or farmers over
generations. Apart from the RDS the village fishermen have formed a
Keppapilavu Fishing Society last year and has become a leading
coordinator in the fast growing fishing industry in the Mullaitivu
S. Balakrishnan is the secretary of the fishing society and had many
things to say. He was eloquent in both Sinhala and Tamil. “I'm from
Trincomalee. More than thirty years ago I came here as a businessman
trading dried fish, prawns, crabs from the Nanthikadal lagoon,”
Balakrishnan said. He fell in love with a pretty Tamil girl in the area
over three decades ago and settled down in Keppapilavu, her native
place. He raised a family and lived happily and peacefully with the
entire village until the terrorist threats emerged. “As I could speak
good Sinhala the LTTE did not permit me to visit my parents or my
siblings. So for 30 years I didn't see them,” he said.
Today his three sons-in-law carry on the fishing business in the
lagoon and Balakrishnan works full time as the secretary to the fishing
society. These fishermen get higher rates from Mudalalis coming from
different parts of the country.
- specially from Chilaw and Colombo.
“There are 150 families as members of the Fishing Society and 75
fishermen actively involved in fishing,” Balakrishnan said.
All houses have electricity
The fishing community is facing a different sort of a threat at
present. Explaining the present situation Balakrishnan said that certain
other fishermen use the illegal fishing net with a small space and with
that even the younger shrimps get caught. “But there is no market demand
for small shrimp and these fishermen throw those shrimps away in large
numbers,” he said. As Balakrishnan explained traditional fishermen use a
larger fishing net so that they are able to catch fully grown shrimp.
“We see a drastic decline in the harvest of tiger prawns compared to
last year. We believe that it may be due to these illegal fishing
methods,” he said.
The RDS chairman Parameshwaran works in a leading school in
Mullaitivu. There are 24 people working in government institutes, 150
paddy farmers and another 44 villagers doing work for daily wages. One
area of paddy lands of these people were needed for security purposes,
yet when the villagers discussed the issue with Mullaitivu Security
Forces Commander Major General Jagath Dias, 84 acres got released. Thus,
according to Parameshwaran today the village cultivates more than 200
acres of paddy lands.
Since last week a bus has started operating up to Mullaitivu
following a long-term request from the people to the Government. It
starts around six o' clock in the morning plying to Mullaitivu. From
Mullaitivu it starts coming back to the village by 11.30 am and then
again plies to Mullativu by 2.30 pm.
The bus reaches Keppapipilavu by 6 pm. Many of the school children
use the bicycle.
For the primary education students attend the Wattapplai Maha
Vidyalaya and for further studies - Advance level onwards - they go to
Vidyananda College in Mullaitivu.
At present there are 34 school children studying for GCE Ordinary
level and 15 for Advance level. 10 youth from the village are
Irrespective of race and religion we all must unify under one flag -
Under the second phase of the Keppapilavu model village, newly
constructed 101 houses were handed over to the beneficiaries at a
function held at Keppapilavu village by the Secretary to the Ministry of
Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa on April 3.
The Defence Secretary symbolically handed over the keys of a new
house to a beneficiary inaugurating the event. Commander of the Sri
Lanka Army Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, District Secretary N.
Vedanayagam, Mullaitivu Security Forces Commander Major General Jagath
Dias and many governments and military senior officials were present at
The financial allocations for the houses were provided by the
Ministry of Resettlement and the labour and the civil engineering
expertise had been provided by the troops serving under the Security
Forces Headquarters Mullaitivu.
The Defence Secretary also laid the foundation stone for the third
phase of project which will be launched soon. Accordingly 66 houses will
be constructed in the third phase and those will be vested on public in
the near future.
Speaking at the event Secretary Defence stated, “Since the dawn of
peace the President's intention was to resettle displaced personnel with
Accordingly, majority of them were resettled in their own land
successfully,” he said. Emphasising on the duty of the government agents
in the area he said, “the officials must expedite the ongoing projects
and should facilitate the people by paying attention into their issues.
Terrorism would be reorganised and reactivated if ignored.
The mutual relationship and understanding between the military and
the civil society should be strengthened by diminishing the language
barrier,” he said. He added that economy of the villagers will be
upgraded by enhancing career opportunities and allowing more room to buy
their products in the market such as raw vegetables and fishing harvest.
“People's faith in the government and the armed forces is vital in
view of the fact that they brought everlasting peace to the country.
Irrespective of race and religion we all must unify under one flag”,
Secretary Defence said.