Cabinet reviews postwar socioeconomic development in North

Friday, 14 December 2012 00:54 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday reviewed the progress of socioeconomic development in the Northern Province following the end of the conflict in May 2009.

This is following the submission of the Presidential Task Force for resettlement, development and security – Northern Province – Report of the Presidential Task Force 2009-2012 ‘From Conflict to Stability’ to the Cabinet by Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development.

Cabinet observed that an action program has been formulated through a consultative process enlisting the cooperation from line ministries, Provincial Councils, the Armed Forces, UN agencies and INGOs. Many Police stations have now been re-opened and civil security is looked after by the Police.  Elections to local authorities in the Northern Province were held in July 2011 and 378 members to 32 Pradeshiya Sabhas in all five districts of the Northern Province were elected. Provincial Council elections in the Eastern Province were also held. Already, 142,230 families have been resettled in all districts of the Northern Province. Some of the projects undertaken in the Northern Province are as follows:

Restoration of health services:  Major hospitals in all the districts have been renovated. At present, 161 preventive care institutions and 102 curative care institutions are functional. Total expenditure for healthcare services from 2009 to 2011 amounts to Rs. 2,135 million and an investment of Rs. 9,254 million has been allocated for ongoing and future projects.

Revival of the education sector: Out of the 1,020 schools in the 12 educational zones in the Northern Province, 990 schools have been renovated and are functioning.

Housing: For the successful implementation of the resettlement program, 78,144 permanent houses are scheduled to be constructed, out of which 27,983 houses have already been completed.

Rehabilitation of roads and railways: All major highways are being rehabilitated with a total investment of Rs. 75,071 million. In addition, the rehabilitation of the Northern Railway Network is underway with assistance from the Government of India who has given $650 million for the project.

Water supply and sanitation: This work has been given high priority and already, Rs. 29.9 billion has been invested to improve water supply and sanitation in this province. A major water supply and sanitation project to relieve the water problems in Jaffna is underway at a cost of Rs.25 billion.

Restoration of electricity : Rehabilitation of the electricity network is underway, covering Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Chunnakam etc.

Revival of agriculture: 90% of the 180,000 acres of abandoned paddy lands have been brought under cultivation. Seeds, paddy and subsidised fertiliser have been provided. A production of 212,722 MT of paddy was recorded during this period.

Rehabilitation of irrigation networks: A total commitment of Rs. 6,333.9 million has been made by the Government for the rehabilitation of the entire irrigation network in the province.

Fisheries sector: The total fishing fleet has now been increased to 11,225 and fish production in the Northern Province has risen from 15,250 MT in 2007, to 48,520 MT in 2011.

Banking sector: 20 state and private banks now operate in the northern region. Loans amounting to about Rs. 614 million have been granted to 36,000 beneficiaries under different credit lines by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka up to the end of 2011.

Private sector investment: The private sector has already begun to move to the regions in the Northern Province. There are 23 projects approved by the BOI for a total investment of Rs. 68.28 billion. In addition, nine hotel projects consisting of 328 rooms have been approved for construction at an investment of Rs. 2.2 billion.