A new dawn for Kilinochchi

Monday, 16 September 2013 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

After nearly three decades of oppression due to LTTE terrorism, Kilinochchi was liberated through the Humanitarian Operation, bringing new hope for lasting peace and prosperity to the town. Since the liberation, the people of Kilinochchi have seen positive changes. The Government took immediate steps to clear landmines, resettle the displaced and establish democracy in the province. For the first time in nearly three decades, the people of the Kilinochchi District will be able to fully exercise their right to participate in the democratic process, a right which was denied to them by the LTTE. According to the Election Commissioner the election for the Kilinochchi District will be held 21 September. This will be the second time the polls will be held for the Northern Provincial Council since the provincial council system was established under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution introduced by the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord as a measure for power devolution. Kilinochchi is the main town of Kilinochchi District, Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Kilinochchi is situated at the A9 road some 100 km south-east of Jaffna. It was the administrative centre and de facto capital of the LTTE until 2 January 2009, when troops of the Sri Lankan Army recaptured the city. The LTTE first took hold of the town in 1990 when the Army withdrew its garrisons from Kilinochchi. Then the area was retaken by the Army during operations Sathjaya I, II, and III in September 1996. The town again fell into the LTTE’s hand in September 1998 who held their administrative hub there until evacuating during the Battle of Kilinochchi on 2 January 2009. Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman, a former commander of the LTTE, claimed that the town of Kilinochchi was important for the LTTE because it was the showcase of the organisation. The Kilinochchi town was established in 1936 as part of a colonisation project that sought to ease overpopulation and unemployment in Jaffna. This district has several Government Colleges such as Klinochchi Central College, Hindu College, Uruthirapuram Maha vidiyalayam, Vaddakachchi Maha vidiyalayam, etc. Kilinochchi is one of the major agrarian cultivation destinations in the island from the pre-historic times. Iranamadu (Ranamaduva) Tank, Kanakampikai Kulam (Pond), and Kilinochchi Kulam are the major irrigation source for paddy and various other cultivations. Four years since the end of the conflict, the Northern Province has seen massive development in all sectors. There is significant improvement in the civil administration, livelihoods of people, education sector, economy and infrastructure restoration as well as security in the region. After more than 23 years, direct train services between Colombo and Kilinochchi have begun with the opening of the newly completed 63-kilometre track between Omanthai and Kilinochchi. Railway transport occupies a significant role in the transport system of a country because the development of trade, industry and commerce of a country largely depend on the development of railways. President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the train service to Kilinochchi on September 14 and he also declared open the newly-built Kilinochchi Railway Station. Minister of Transport Kumar Welgama and other Ministers as well as the senior officials of Ministry and Sri Lanka Railway participated in the ceremony. The reconstructed railway track is designed with a speed potential of 120kmph. The last passenger train on this line ran on 19 January 1985. LTTE terrorists bombed the Yal Devi train at Kokavil on that day, killing 34 people and destroying the train tracks. The attack effectively ended north-south rail transport. The Northern Line from Vavuniya to Kankesanthurai was completely destroyed by the Tamil Tiger terrorists during the three-decade long conflict. The terrorists uprooted the rail tracks to build reinforced underground bunkers. The train line is now being reconstructed by the India Railway Construction International Ltd. (IRCON) with the assistance of the Indian Government. Currently the trains operate only to Omanthai. The construction of the whole Northern Line up to Kankesanthurai will be completed by the end of 2014 and all the previous railway stations which were destroyed during the conflict are to be re-established. The re-construction of the northern railway line and the return of the Yal Devi express train to Kilinochchi will not only see the resumption of the normal train services to the north after 20 years, but will also symbolise the liberation of the northern people from LTTE terrorism and return of democracy to the north. The end to three decades of terrorism has brought new hope to Sri Lanka with development activities speedily underway. Sri Lanka is now on an ambitious path not thought possible a few years ago when terrorism was at its heights. Soon all Sri Lankans will have equal benefit from the many development activities that the Government has now committed itself to.