With the end of the conflict in the Northern Province, many concerted and coordinated efforts are being made by the Government to move forward the reconciliation process to ensure sustainable peace in the country.
In this context, the Government, in consultation with the Northern Provincial Council, identified and decided to implement a high impact project which could significantly contribute to improving the quality of life of resettled people and enhance their livelihood and income generation opportunities, said V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary of the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs.
In this context, 10 high impact generating projects were identified by the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs in close consultation with the governor, chief minister, ministers and planning authorities of the Northern Provincial Council. The total cost of these projects amounted to around Rs. 2,000 million. A Cabinet paper was submitted by D.M. Swaminathan, Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs to obtain approval from the Cabinet of Ministers to proceed with these high impact targeted projects to uplift the living standards of the resettled people in the Northern Province.
The Cabinet Paper was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on 18 November 2015 and an additional provision of Rs. 2,000 million was allocated under the medium term budgetary framework, said Sivagnanasothy.
The 10 high impact projects include the construction of a bridge and causeway across the sea between Kayts and Karainagar town; the construction of a new passenger boat with a 100-passenger capacity like the kumudini boat; the construction of a jetty in Delft and the restoration of a jetty in Elluvaithivu, Kayts; the renovation of roads from Velanai to Kayts; the establishment of a clinical waste management system in five districts of the Northern Province; the establishment of the disposal system for human excreta in Vadamarachchi, Thenmarachchi and Valikamam in the Jaffna District; systematisation of the collection and segregation of solid waste in the Jaffna Municipal Council area; seaweed farming in the coastal areas in the northern Province; livelihood and income generation projects covering value addition and marketing of milk products, Vathiri leather industries and Karmarchi Ambal light engineering industries in Kopay.
The Jaffna peninsula is surrounded by over 15 islands comprising Kayts, Delft, Punkuduthivu, Nainathivu, Analaithivu and Mandaithivu. These islands are out of the reach of many people due to poor inter-connectivity with the mainland due to inadequate infrastructure facilities.
Nearly 75% of the islanders are engaged in fisheries, agriculture, livestock and palmyrah based products for their livelihood. Moreover, these targeted projects will also help to achieve inclusive development in the Northern Province while supporting the resettled communities to achieve durable solutions as envisaged in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’s (LLRC) Report.
The Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs is formulating a mechanism to implement the above projects with the active involvement of the Northern Provincial Council. The 10 special projects will be steered and monitored by a committee co-chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs and Chief Secretary, Northern Provincial Council with the active involvement of District Secretary, Jaffna and other district and provincial officers, said V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary of the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs.