ERASING THE EELAM VICTORY PT 19 H
Posted on November 1st, 2021

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The government of Sri Lanka took much trouble over the development of the north after the Eelam war ended. The government called it development initiatives to improve the quality of life for conflict affected returnee communities in the North.”

Mahinda Rajapaksa initiated many improvements such as houses, roads and bridges. 15,000 wells were cleaned or renovated to provide safe drinking water. Major hospitals were renovated, provide with additional facilities at great expense. Families were given assistance to commence economic operations. Each family was given a package of assistance, of not less than Rs 35,000. Paddy cultivation, food crops, dairy farming, goat rearing and backyard poultry were encouraged.

In 2014 The Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) organized an Open Forum to share the findings of a 6-year research programme carried out by CEPA for the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC), exploring how resettled communities in selected areas in the North and East of Sri Lanka, have fared, during the ‘postwar’ phase in accessing basic services, social protection and livelihoods.

This essay looks at improvements after 2015. Yahapalana government greatly helped the north. First of all, Yahapalana government provided Samurdhi to north, which did not have it before. This was a   very valuable service.

In June 2016 Government allocated Rs 14 billion for high impact resettlement project in north and east for war affected families. This was to be implemented by the Prisons and rehabilitation ministry, under Minister Swaminathan. In August 2016 Yahapalana government said it had allocated Rs    8000 million for resettlement progamme, for those in camps as well as 10,000 more living with friends.

There were 31 welfare camps in Jaffna district and 936 families consisting of 3260 members.  682 families within this group did not own land or houses. Yahapalana stated that   it was going to close down the IDP camps and offer houses, land to build own houses and provide financial assistance to built houses.

 There is a housing programme to build 9000 housing units for IDPs, 630 for refugee returning families, 400 in former threatened villages. 3140 houses in Jaffna district, 1035 in Kilinochchi district, 1035 in Mullaitivu, 1140 in Mannar, 910 in Vavuniya. Also 2 lakhs per house was provided for repairing damaged houses. There were 729 damages house injaffna120 Kilinochchi, 170 Mullaitivu, 200 Mannar, 50 Vavuniya. Rs 480 million has been allocated for this. Rs 100 million allocate for water supply projects, continued Yahapalana.

The Ministry provided the following breakdown. in Jaffna they have constructed houses with toilets for IDPs 3140  houses,  renovation 720 houses, financial assistance worth Rs. one lakh each to   3000 families, construction or renovation of  around 200 wells,  over 5 million spent on roads in Jaffna. In Kilinochchi new houses and toilets 1035, renovation 120, livelihood assistance of Rs. one lakh each 1600 families, new toilets for 1000 families.  Also well and water connections, roads and assistance to  hospitals and  schools.

In Mullaitivu it was new houses and toilets 1035, renovation 170, livelihood assistance of Rs. one lakh each for  families, 1500, new toilets for 1000 families. Also roads, schools, medical care units, paddy store. In Mannar new houses and toilets 1140, renovation 200, livelihood assistance 1600, new toilets 1000, well, roads, school buildings, hospitals, electricity connections and other infrastructure facilities.  In Vavuniya new houses and toilets 910, renovation 50, livelihood assistance  1500, new toilets 1000  roads, school buildings.

Title deeds were handed over to 190 families who had been temporarily settled in Sidhamabarapuram IDP camp .They were now given deeds to the lands. Eleven new houses were handed over in Pookkulam, Wanathavillu district. The main road to Pookklum village was also developed.

In 2017 Ministry of national integration and reconciliation advertised proposal for 50,000 brick and mortar type housing programme for north and east for conflict affected families. Puttalam, Vanathavilluwa, Panadhurawatha Mangalapura area was given a new electivity connection.

For the development of the health services in the north, Rs. 5 billion in 2016 and Rs. 33 billion in 2017 was allocated. 68 primary health care facilities in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Mannar and Mullaitivu, including OPD, MOH offices, were provided by 2017. These were funded by the Global Fund. Global Fund also spent Rs. 33 million to construct the new MOH office at Maradankerni. elanai Rural Hospital and Chankanai Divisional Hospital in Jaffna were upgraded at the cost of 6.8 million rupees.

Yahapalana government also planned to provide a new accident and emergency care hospital, a fully-fledged child and maternity hospital and a new kidney hospital for the north.  A new cancer hospital will be constructed at Thalippalei and a rehabilitation hospital at Mankulam.

In 2016 the government planned to develop about 15,000 km of road in the north and east and of which 700 km will be for Jaffna district. In 2017 The Cabinet of Ministers granted approval for the rehabilitation and upgrading of 66 roads in Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Cabinet Memorandum submitted by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. This was a long-felt need of the Northern and Eastern Provinces which were affected by conflict over a period of 30 years.

Under this project in the Jaffna District, roads such as Valukkaiyaru Punguduththivu – Kurikadduwan Road, Jaffna Manipai- Karainagar Road and Punnalai – Point Pedro Road, Eluthumadduwal – Nagarkovil Road including many Road Development Authority, Road Development Department  and rural roads. Nainathivu and Kurikadduwan Jetties are to be rehabilitated. In the Kilinochchi District, roads such as Murikandi Kanagapuram Paranthan Road and in the Mullaitivu District the bridge across Kokkilai lagoon, Vadduvaikal bridge, and Vattapalai main road and in the Mannar District, Mahilankulam Pallamadhu Road, Peramanalankulam Road, and Periyapandivirichan Road – Mullikulam Road and in Batticaloa Kiran bridge, Santhiveli Thikiliveddai bridge and Marine Drive Batticaloa – Kalkuda Road will be rehabilitated and upgraded.

Private social services organizations also moved to help the north. In 2016 Sarinda Unamboowe and Nathan Sivagananathan started cross-country fundraising walk from Dondra in 2011 to raise funds for USD one million to build an extension to the Tellipallai Jaffna hospital as a cancer treatment unit.  They got much support. Now they are doing this in reverse to raise USD 5 million for built a cancer treatment unit at Karapitiya teaching hospital, Galle, reported the media in 2016.

The Foundation of Goodness has worked relentlessly in 2011 to make a difference to the lives of people in the Northern Provinces of Sri Lanka, which were devastated by the 30 year civil war. Working in the Mankulam, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Jaffna and Eastern areas of Sri Lanka since January 2011, the Foundation of Goodness has positively affected over 25,729 beneficiaries through a variety of projects and programmes including the gifting of 7,816 essential school packs, 3,722 bicycles and the betterment of countless lives through livelihood programmes, sports workshops, agricultural provision, essential food package distribution, school infrastructure projects (library, computer and sanitation), and the gifting of essential household items, clothing, computers for girls, musical instruments for school children and sports equipment. The Foundation set up the North Learning & Empowerment Institute’ in Panikkankulam in the Mankulam Region.

Appé Lanka is a project which aims to help the people of Poonekary achieve sustainable development Poonekary, is a small village west of Kilinochchi With a population of about 19,000. Many of the villagers earn their living through farming or fishing. After suffering from years of devastation following three decades of war, they face many challenges in rebuilding their lives.

A rural development project which began in 2015, Appe Lanka has been endorsed by the Ministry of Resettlement and Reconstruction. The programme was initiated by Shaan Corea. The project has four main goals – providing renewable energy, psychological empowerment, raising awareness and improving livelihoods. As a part of their first goal, a pilot project providing renewable energy to 28 households has already been successfully completed. They plan to provide renewable energy to all the households in Poonekary.

Appé Lanka organized a bike drive to raise the money for 150 bicycles to help such students stay in school, with people having already pledged enough funds for the bicycles. There were many people ready to support the project including Bishops College, S. Thomas’ College and Ladies’ College that joined as the school partners. Appé Lanka is here to stay in Poonekary , reported the media in 2016.

The Yahapalana government did not forget economic development . Karainagar was to gets a new     fishing boat yard costing 285 million.  There was to be a coconut rehabilitation programme. Over 18500 acres of coconut land in north will be rehabilitated and 25400 new coconut lands this will be done by the Coconut Cultivation Board of the Coconut Development Authority. Treasury will provide 650 million and balance 2650 million be will foreign investments said the media in 2016

Firms were encouraged to move into the North. Hirdramani open Rs 450 million factory in Puthukkudiyiruppu. Buddhi batiks conducted a CSR project for war widows in Batticaloa and Vavuniya to design woven shawls. Sustainable Green Energy a  Sri Lanka company  was to start a bamboo cultivation project in north in Vavuniya.

Pelawatte dairy planned to  invest Rs 1.5 billion in three fresh milk processing plants in North, there are several abandoned milk producing factories in the north east which could be developed with employment for 200 persons, said Pelawatte.

The Sri Lanka Export Development Board  launched the first in a series of awareness programmes in Jaffna in March 2017 to  enable regional exporters to explore new opportunities, set up and develop new enterprises to enter global markets. The Northern region with an abundance of natural resources in terms of minerals, agricultural produce, fisheries, offer innumerable opportunities for export development in agro based industries, fisheries, lifestyle product, IT and Tourism sectors.

The government encouraged foreign firms to invest in the north. The 1st ever Northern province investment forum in 2016has attracted over Rs 3315 million dollars investments in 2016. This has led to a 209 billion solar power in Vavuniya, apparel factory in Kilinochchi 

Vinay R. Sharma, Chairman, Exhibition Council Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) said that Indian entrepreneurs are keen to set up joint ventures and revive sick industries in the North.  The main draw in the North is that the area offers plenty of virgin land and unprecedented business opportunities.

The Pohottu government of 2019  is continuing the good work. The Second Phase of construction of 100 Rural Townships programme in the country was intiated in the Velani DS Division in the Jaffna District in 2021. 182 title deeds for houses constructed by the Re-Settlement Ministry were handed over and the construction work of another 32 new houses under the housing programme was started in July 2021.

In 2021, the water needs of the north were attended to by the Jaffna-Kilinochchi Water Supply Project” of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board with the financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank.  the scheme consists of Nagadeepa Seawater Treatment Plant, Thalaiyadi Seawater Treatment Plant and Jaffna Town Distribution System.

The Nagadeepa Drinking Water Treatment Plant will provide safe drinking water through pipelines to 6,000 beneficiaries belonging to 1500 households in the Nagadeepa, Iluvativu and Analathivu islands. The cost for this is Rs. 187 million. The second phase of this project that is, laying of 25 Kilometer length pipeline system for transmitting water to the islands of Nagadeepa, Iluwathivu and Analathivu from the Nagadeepa Treatment System will also commence parallel. The estimated cost for this is Rs. 34 million.

Thalaiyadi Seawater Treatment Plant which is being constructed at a huge cost of about Rs. 19,000 water to a population of about 60,000 living in 12,000 households. Thalaiyadi Water Purification System will also be constructed parallel to this which provides pipe borne water for the Jaffna City Limits and suburbs and the cost of the project is Rs. 3,160 million. It has been able to provide safe piped water facilities to a population of about 60,000 people belonging to 28,000 families. The length of this system is 271 kilometers.

There was a lack of Post Offices and Sub Post Offices in the Northern Province, including the Kilinochchi District. This would be resolved as soon as possible said Pohottu government. The required number of Post Offices and Sub Post Offices for the Province including Kilinochchi have not been established.

Drinking water problem of the Jaffna Peninsula will be solved by more than 50% and this will benefit about 300,000 families only in the first phase. ONUR gave rainwater harvesting tanks to Jaffna and Kilinochchi   ( Continued)

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