The first major industrial development project will kick start in the Jaffna peninsula shortly when the 65 acre Industrial estate in Atchchuvely is developed bilaterally by the Government of Sri Lanka in partnership with the Indian government with a view to facilitate entrepreneurs to commence business ventures and generate economic growth and enable livelihood development in the area, said the Minister for Traditional Industries and enterprise development Douglas Devananda.
The Estate which is situated in Atchchuvely has two access roads one, from Chankanai and the other from Navakkiri and is central to the peninsula’s access points such as to Jaffna. It is only 10 miles; on Palaly Road it’s 12.20 miles; to the Palaly Airport it’s 4 miles; from Kankesanturai Harbour & station only 8 miles; from Point Pedro Harbour it’s 10 miles whilst to the Chunnakam Railway Station it’s just 6 miles making it central to the development agenda of the Small and Medium sector industries of Sri Lanka. The infrastructure facilities will be developed by the Industrial Development Board and Board of Investment.
In 1983 there were 745 industrial SMEs in Jaffna; but during the war it reduced to a meager 34 whilst in the fisheries sector the daily catch of fish exceeded 40,000 metric tonnes in the 1990s: during the war it declined to just 12000 metric tonnes. But now one year post liberalisation the economy has doubled in value and over two hundred companies operate out of Jaffna, whilst the daily catch of fish has once again touched the previous highs with relaxation of the fishing ban. The livelihood of the 4000 fishermen had been stunted for decades due to the war.
In the first phase of the development template, 25 acres will be developed with four large apparel companies wanting to operate with an investment of US$3 million each. Thereafter almost 48 Small and Medium Enterprises are very keen to develop their businesses which include the famous Nelli crush company Varadha, said Minister Devananda.
The industrial zone was operational in 1971 and ceased functioning in 1990 when the war broke out. The total development will include development of infrastructure facilities for the 25 acres which would include fencing, construction of guard room, quarters, gate, water supply scheme with treatment plant, electricity and power supply, approach and internal roads, telecommunication facilities, and administration buildings.
The total estimated cost of this project is Rs. 199 mn. The Indian government will provide financial assistance of Rs.174 mn to activate this project in 2011 and 2012. Another domestic fund of Rs. 25 mn will be granted by the Government of Sri Lanka said Minister Devananda.
The peninsula has a population of approximately 559,619 people as per the 2007 special census that was carried out, with those below 18 years being 188, 999 people. Households number around 130,000. The contribution to the national agenda is targeted to be at least 10 percent in the years to come so that a level of per capita income beneficial to the people of Jaffna could be realised. At completion of the reactivation of the estate, it is expected to generate 4000 direct employment opportunities in the area.