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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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."
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
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.
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