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Sunday, 3 February 2013

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Would be economic nerve centre:

North developing at rapid pace


The fisheries sector has been developed on an unprecedented scale.
Infrastructure project
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.

Bird sanctuary

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 considerably.

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.

Provincial administration

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.

Central government

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 development-related work.

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.

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