Would be economic nerve centre:
North developing at rapid pace
sector has been developed on an unprecedented scale.
|A market place
Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri
With several mega development projects now in the pipeline for the
North, the province will transform as an economic nerve centre of the
country before long, Governor Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri said with
optimism. Speaking to the Sunday Observer on the Government's
development programs from 2009 until end of 2012, on the resettlement,
rehabilitation and livelihood of the large number of displaced people
and the programs now under way for the overall development of the
province, he said that the Government is spending a bulk of the funds
obtained from the ADB, WB and other international monetary organisations
for the development of the North aimed at the socio-economic uplift of
the people and their empowerment.
For 25 long years the LTTE terrorists and their stooges had instilled
a communally-based anti-government sentiment in the minds of the Tamils
to keep them in their grip with ulterior motives.
With the major development work that the Government is doing in the
province, the people are beginning to realise that they have been
hoodwinked. Gradually, their thinking pattern will change and within the
next five years they will change completely to work hand in hand with
the government, a confident Governor said.
Entrepreneurs from many countries are visiting the province to
explore its investment potential. One entrepreneur has decided to
develop the island sector as a tourist destination under a mega project
which will offer direct employment opportunities to 25,000 and
indirectly, to many more.
He will develop the Kayts, Mandativu and Karativu offshore islands
with golf courses, big tourist hotels and facilities for the passenger
ships to come direct to the tourist sites.
The Mandativu offshore island which has one of the best bird
sanctuaries in the region will also be developed to form part of the
tourist attractions, the Governor said. It is a mega project to be
completed at a gradual pace in 10 years, he said.
The Government is already working on partnership projects with the
private sector - with local companies and overseas investors. In five
years there will be a big change and the province will generate its own
funds. The people's economic status and standard of living will improve
There will be five industrial zones, each 25 acres or more in extent.
The Achchuvely Industrial Zone is already nearing completion and has
many industrial complexes.
These will ultimately be entrusted to the people, through their
organisations, Governor Chandrasiri said. President Mahinda Rajapaksa
and Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is in-charge of the Presidential Task
Force for Northern Development, are concerned and committed towards the
development of the terrorism-ravaged Northern Province. If everybody
worked with dedication and commitment under President Rajapaksa's
directions, seeing the province as an economic nerve centre with major
changes everywhere will not be far away, the Governor said.
The process of starting vast rice mills, in Mannar and other places,
is under way. While being a blessing to the paddy farmers they will also
offer employment opportunities to a large number, the Governor said.
Under the vision of the newly appointed Sugar Industries Minister
Lakshman Seneviratne, sugar factories will be started initially in
Vavuniya and Kilinochchi, to be expanded to other districts later on.
The provincial administration will fully support and coordinate on
the project. Sugarcane will be grown on a 2,000 hectare land (10,000
acres) and at least 20,000 persons will get employment opportunities
directly and indirectly. Individuals will also be encouraged to grow
sugarcane. All planning for the project will be completed within the
next two months.
Newly built houses
Road construction under way
The Northern Province had recorded the highest paddy yield
The first phase of the Kankesanthurai harbour development project is
already completed and the second phase has started. With the completion
of the third phase, the Northern Province will have an international
standard harbour and ships will come direct, contributing to the economy
of the province.
Until the beginning of this year, the government focused mainly on
the resettlement, rehabilitation and livelihood programs for the
displaced people. Since the resettlement is now completely over, the
government is now focusing on major development projects encompassing
all areas and all potential. Food processing industries, crab processing
for export, asbestos sheet industries and many more have already been
started and many more are in the pipeline.
In the agricultural sector, cooperative societies of the farmers are
working closely with similar societies of the South, mutually marketing
agricultural products. In the educational sector too, the Northern
Province has done extremely well. According to information, the North
has performed much better in A/L exams compared to last year. All
schools have been opened other than the schools where there are no
children to attend or where de-mining is in progress. Where there is no
school in close proximity for the students to attend, the provincial
administration constructs a temporary school premises spending in the
tune of Rs. 500,000 to be developed gradually, the Governor said.
The PC got Rs. 1,200 million last year for development work from the
central government and a similar amount this year as well. This amount
is spent to the last cent on development work which include construction
of buildings, reservoirs, irrigation canals and other important
The Secretary, Directors and all officials are expected to work
according to the government's existing rules and regulations and also
the policy of the government. If anyone is found deviating I take
immediate action to remove them, he said. The money flowing from the
different ministries for development work is unprecedented and huge, he
said. The Northern Province is going through the development process on
a level unequalled in any other province. The fisheries sector too has
been developed on an unprecedented scale.In terms of productivity in the
paddy sector, the Northern Province had recorded the highest yield in
the country in 2011 and 2012. Agriculture, including fisheries and
animal husbandry, which is the mainstay of the economy has shown
positive growth after 2009.
The growth rate has now reached a slight positive phenomena,
recording a per capita income of Rs. 200,000 in 2011 as against Rs.
159,000 in 2010. Thus, the agricultural sector contributed 24.2 percent
of GDP composition to the provincial economy in 2011. Huge amounts have
been spent on infrastructure development, construction of roads in the
new settlement areas. Rs. 1,530 mn has been invested for the
rehabilitation of 785.42 km of provincial roads under Government funds
for the period 2009 - 2012.
Under the Ministry of Economic Development (Northern Roads
Connectivity Project) 141 km of provincial roads in Vavuniya and Mannar
districts have been reconstructed at a cost of Rs. 2,759 Mn. Under the
same Ministry's Provincial Roads Project (PRP) 74.26 km of provincial
roads in Vavuniya and Mannar districts have been reconstructed at a cost
of Rs. 2,310 Mn. The same Ministry spent Rs. 4,378 mn under the Conflict
Affected Region Emergency Project (CARE) for the reconstruction of 75 km
of Municipal and Urban Council roads at a cost of Rs. 4,378 mn.