Sri Lanka celebrated the third anniversary of the armed forces’ triumph over the LTTE with a glamorous military parade on May 19 at Galle Face Green. It seems obvious that all Sri Lankans irrespective of race or religion enjoy the dividends of peace after the eradication of terrorism from the country.
Terrorism had been the major cause that hindered Sri Lanka achieving its development goals. However the government has allocated billions of rupees to develop the once war-torn north and east in par with the development taking place in the rest of the country.
Post war development in Sri Lanka is amazing and there is virtually no trace that Sri Lanka had fought a 30-year-old war. One cannot believe that a country could attain an eight percent economic growth just after three years of an arms struggle and its achievements towards development within this short span of time are remarkably impressive.
As soon as the war ended, the major concerns were the maintenance and welfare of the thousands of war displaced people, Tamil Tiger surrenders and LTTE terror combatants arrested by the security forces. Statistics show that there were about 280000 IDPs and 11700 LTTE combatants surrendered or arrested by the security forces.
The government with the assistance of some NGOs and UN agencies immediately established welfare centres, equipped with basic sanitary facilities to accommodate the large influx of IDPs. Later schools, medical centres and other required facilities were established within these welfare centres.
Next, steps were taken to rehabilitate the thousands of ex-combatants and to make the area free of land mines and expedite the resettlement of all IDPs. The defeated Tamil Tiger terrorists had covered an area of over 6200 Square Kilometres haphazardly with land mines and booby traps.
As for now, only 6031 IDPs remain in Kadirkamar and Anandakumarasawami welfare centres and the government is planning to resettle them all before the end of this year. The government has reintegrated nearly10, 375 former combatants from the North and East into the society following the successful completion of a rehabilitation programme conducted by the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation. Also the reintegrated cadres were given vocational training as a part of the rehabilitation process to enable them to be self-employed. And 80 percent of the identified minefields have been cleared off of danger paving the way for a speedy resettlement process.
Transition from war to peace
The conflict has seriously affected three generations of this country. Anyone can find ample of examples all over the country and many are still suffering from the loss of lives, limbs and material due to the war, no matter what race or religion they belonged to. But, what has been more realistic is that, the way the government is managing the post war Sri Lanka without leaving any room to the emergence of any anti-peace pro LTTE agendas within the country. Thus, had achieved a strong sense of confidence in the hearts and minds of the people that the war has ended once and for all and there would be no chance for another war within this soil. That guarantee has deeply reached the people living in every nook and corner of this country allowing the facilitation of establishing lasting peace and reconciliation between the communities.
Eradication of terrorism doesn’t itself mean that the long awaited peace has dawned in this country, but certainly has paved the way towards it. There is no doubt that after years of war, the people in this country long for lasting peace. That’s why the people have given a second chance to this government with an unprecedented two third majority to keep the momentum in the drive towards lasting peace and prosperity.
Amidst many critics the world over, Sri Lanka managed to stand firm and do what is appropriate for the benefit of its countrymen, and the results, so far achieved tell the world that the government didn’t just take a leap in the dark but did everything with a purpose. It seems the government has already taken the lead, and is confident enough to continue with its strategies until satisfying the peoples’ desires.
Success at a glance
As far as some of the other highlights regarding development in the North and East are concerned, the government has rendered assistance to renovate over 24,500 houses and also to build new ones. Also, the government with the assistance of other organizations plans to build 73,044 houses there.
During the last ‘Maha’ season, farmers have been able to cultivate over 80 percent of the paddy lands which were abandoned in the north due to the conflict. Accordingly, farmers have cultivated 145,000 acres out of 180,000 acres which remained abandoned when the conflict ended.
Among the most impressive progress made have been witnessed in the health and education sectors. The government has spent over Rs. 2.6 billion to repair hospitals, build new ones and provide equipment and drugs. Almost all the major hospitals and small and medium scale medical centres have been renovated. New ones have been built at identified locations.
In the north, over 900 schools out of 1020 are already functioning. However, arrangements have been made for students in schools that are not functioning to follow classes in alternate locations. The government has invested over Rs. 1.2 billion in the education sector so far.
The government has invested the most on road development in post war Sri Lanka. In the north too, the government has invested nearly US $ 490 million to construct over 500 Km of major roads.
In the rehabilitation of northern railway, the government has invested US $ 652.4 million to construct 252 km of railway tracks to resume the Jaffna-Colombo ‘Yaal Devi’ train service.
On the rehabilitation of reservoirs and large and medium scale irrigation schemes the government has invested nearly Rs. 01 billion to supplement over 100 schemes.
Impressive growth rates have been recorded in food crop cultivation and livestock development too.
Reconstruction of major bridges such as Sangupiddy, Mannar etc and the construction of Kokavil transmission tower have now been completed. Renovation of the KKS harbour, KKS Cement Factory and the Palali airport runway etc. are nearing completion thus allowing the people to reap the dividends of lasting peace which has dawned in this resplendent island nation.
Original Post | Department of Defense | May 26 2012