United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison opened a public market and a bus station in Pullumalai, Batticaloa on recently, helping enhance transportation and livelihood opportunities of local communities in the Eastern Province.
Built under a grant of US$ 477,000 (Rs. 60 million) by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the newly constructed market and bus station will not only promote income generation opportunities and social integration among different ethnic communities resettling after many years of conflict, but will also boost economic growth in the region.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ambassador Sison said: “This new market complex will provide Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim farmers, fishermen and traders with a common place to sell their goods and establish a common forum for meeting and exchange. In addition, the new bus station will provide communities in Pullumullai and neighbouring areas with a swift transportation service for their daily needs.”
The market complex, with toilets and water supply, will allow the community to sell vegetables, fruits and fish as they did prior to the conflict, helping them rebuild their lives. The bus station, as well as the newly renovated access roads will improve transportation, and help children travel quickly and safely to school every day.
USAID has previously supported Pullumalai through improved healthcare improvements, psychosocial and counselling services, training for community based organisations, career guidance services, and rural road rehabilitation. The community serves as an example of the strides a community can make to rebuild after the conflict.