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Sunday, 28 September 2014

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Industrial resurgence in Jaffna

Before Sri Lanka talked and even drew plans to set up Free Trade Zones or set up industrial estates, Jaffna district soon after independence set up an area for industries. This was known as the Atchchuvely Industrial Estate.

Achchuveli Industrial Complex

With a rail link high quality items manufactured here were freely transported to the entire country and the earnings and opportunities that were offered through this helped the residents of Jaffna peninsula to have high spending power. Unemployment was unheard of and it was the LTTE that misled the youth and drew them to a 30 year old conflict which completely reversed this positive trend.

State property

With the bombing of the rail track and the blocking of the main road the peninsula was cut off from the South and even Industries and state property were destroyed making the North one of the poorest regions in the country.

However after the ending of hostilities the government spent several billions to help bring back glorious days of the Northern Province and thanks to these efforts today the North has again become a major player in the national economy.

One of the priorities under this restructuring program was the resurrection of Achchuveli Industrial Complex in Jaffna which was reconstructed under Uthuru Wasanthaya program.

The first phase was reopened recently by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the High Commissioner of India Y. K. Sinha. The Indian government provided assistance for the rejuvenation of this project by providing some Indian Rupees 225 million.

The Industrial Estate has been set up also through the cooperation of the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development of Sri Lanka. Necessary technical expertise and project management services were provided by the UNOPS. The Industrial Development Board of Sri Lanka will henceforth manage the Estate.

Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapakse speaking at the occasion said that since the conclusion of the armed conflict, the Government had been massively investing on the overall development of the Northern Province and the outcome was to the entire satisfaction of everyone. Overall, the Industrial Estate will help serve as a platform for industrial development of the region, for regeneration of livelihood in Northern Province and for optimal utilisation of local resources.

Welcoming Minister Basil Rajapaksa

The Achchuvely Industrial Estate in Jaffna district was inaugurated by Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa last month. Among the present were High Commissioner of India Y.K. Sinha, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda, Dy. Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Weerakumara Dissanayake, Governor of Northern Province G.A.Chandrasiri, Chief Minister of Northern Province C.V.Wigneswaran and Mayor of Jaffna Yogeswary Patkunarajah.

 
The gathering at the inauguration.

The targeted sectors for investment in the Industrial Estate include textiles, plastic and leather products, oil and fibre products, food processing units, and agro-based industries.

Once the Northern Railway Project being executed with Indian assistance rehabilitates the rail link up to Jaffna necxt month, access to the Industrial Estate would be enhanced, thus, providing further stimulus to the business activities therein.

Full capacity

Minister of Traditional Industries, Dougles Devananda said that Rs. 25 Million was contributed by the Sri Lankan Government to this project. "When once the project runs into its full capacity it could generate considerable number of employment opportunities to the youths in the Northern Region, added the Minister. He thanked the people of India and Indian Government for their generosity to help out the affected, on behalf of the people of the North and the Sri Lankan Government."

First phase

The Achchuveli Industrial Estate is spread on 65 acres of land and the first phase includes 25 acres from this extent. The infrastructure includes boundary wall, internal road network, service buildings, water supply system with treatment plant, power supply and external electrical work with street lighting, sewerage, waste water disposal system, fire protection system, and landscaping.

The Industrial Estate is expected to attract potential investors, from within and outside Sri Lanka, by providing suitable infrastructure and amenities.

Over 50 companies have positively responded to set up factories at the Achchuveli industrial estate in Jaffna. New Chairman of IDB, Nawaz Rajabdeen said they will help all industrialists who are planning to invest in Achchuveli to find raw materials, HR and even help in raising credit with DFCC Bank on special concessionary terms. "We also see opportunities for a bicycle assembly plant and openings for palmyra and fruit and vegetable sector,'' he said.

In Phase I of the Project, 25 acres of land have been developed, which will facilitate setting up of 22 industrial units and provide employment opportunities for approximately 2,000 persons directly and to approximately 10,000 persons indirectly.

Garment factory

MAS Holdings, one of the leading apparel companies intends to open a garment factory in the Achchuveli industrial zone in Jaffna as a Board of Investment (BoI) approved venture.

Deputy Minister Weerakumara Dissanayake, Chief Minister of the Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran, Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha, the Governor of the North Major General W.A. Chandrasiri, Ministry Secretary V. Sivgnanasothy, Chairman, Ceylon Industrial Development Board N. Rajabdeen, and a large number of people participated at the ceremony.

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