Northern civilization back to old glory
Developing the A32 road
The new bridge over Aravi Aru
New cooperative shop at Kathankulam
The machinery donated by the Chinese Government
Assistant Government Agentís office in Adampan under renovation
Developing the Giantís tank
The Kathankulam village, located 1 1/2km away from the Uyilankulam
junction on the Madawachchiya-Mannar road, was dusty and looked dry as
usual. The abandoned ghostly village was returning to life. The
villagers were being resettled. The wind of change was blowing into many
parts of this legendary 'rice bowl' of the Mannar district.
During early 2008 the LTTE was strongly holding the areas North of
Uyilankulam with heavily fortified earth bunds and intense fire power.
Villagers were forced out by the LTTE as war was intensifying since the
last quarter of 2007. The villages were abandoned. The lives of innocent
civilians were mired in misery.
Today, the area holds no traces of terrorism. Earth bunds are
completely flattened; mines and booby traps pulled out and the villages
are made safe for habitation with all remains of terrorism got rid of.
Other than the natural constraints, the area holds no obstacle for the
people to rebuild their lives.
Back to their homes
Thirupathipillai (40) returned with his wife Saraswathi and three
children to Kathankulam hoping to rebuild their lives. His two elder
sons, aged 10 and 7, were running around with their friends while he was
speaking to us during the special meeting held in Kathankulam,
inaugurating the second phase of the Government's mega resettlement
program. He related his story in Sinhala without much difficulty.
They have suffered immensely in their efforts to save their lives. "I
was expecting my daughter while we were displaced," said Saraswathi. She
gave birth to her only girl child on August 24, 2008 at the Killinochchi
Hospital. Thirupathipillai, a farmer by profession, speaks good Sinhala
as his mother was from Matale. A few acres of paddy lands owned by him
is the only source of income for their family. Living under LTTE
tyranny, being driven from one place to another, the Thirupathipillai
family had only one hope, that was just to escape. They knew nothing
about what existed beyond those seven feet tall earth bunds. They did
not know that the Sri Lanka Army was there to welcome them and provide
everything for their well being.
"On last February 8, we were attempting to escape the LTTE and we had
to cross three waterways, carrying my five-months-old baby. On the first
attempt I drowned with the baby. Fortunately my brother-in-law who was
behind me came to my rescue.
I thought I lost my baby," said Saraswathi recalling their deadly
attempt to escape. They climbed a seven feet tall bund without getting
caught by the LTTE and crossed three waterways in their escape bid from
Iratumadu, the last point they stayed on. Many had died during such
"In 1987 LTTE killed my father, accusing that he helped the Sri Lanka
Army. Many villagers from Kathankulam were killed in a similar manner,"
Maria (61) escaped the ruthlessness of the LTTE, running away from
Iratumadu with her husband during early February 2009. The horrific
memories still haunt her mind. They were forced to move into such places
as Achchimotai, Paliaru, Wanneri, Killinochchi, Sugandipuram and
Iratumadu. Maria was one of the thousands who reached Omanthai by feet
during the height of the war. Today they have been resettled in their
Mary, a 36 year old primary school teacher was eagerly waiting with
her son and daughter to return to their old house. Her house without its
roof has stood the test of time. "I feel very lucky. See my house is
there," said Mary.
The teacher with eleven years of experience was teaching at
Arnimottai Government Tamil Mixed School which was 16 kilometres away
"Soon I will be able to go back to school. I never thought we will
ever be able to return home," Mary said with gleaming eyes filled with
hopes and dreams.
In the next few weeks the Government will be resettling over 40,000
people in many parts of the Northern Province. The majority will be
resettled in cleared areas in the Mannar 'rice bowl'. Scattered villages
with a considerable distance from each other remain desolate. Almost all
the villages are now safe for resettlement and with the passage of time
people will return to their homes.
Within a few years all traces of fierce battles will disappear and no
one will be able to identify it as an area where soldiers of the Sri
Lanka Army shed their blood, toil and tears in their efforts to save
At the dawn of this new era, living in peace and harmony in equal
terms as one nation would be the eternal gratitude we can pay for the
supreme sacrifices made by our valiant soldiers.
The development work is getting accelerated in the areas specified
for the resettlements. Areas south of Malwathu Oya where the previous
resettlements took place are completing its development activities
giving especial attention to access roads.
Two roads are under construction connecting Puttlam and Silavathura
including the A32 while the road connecting Silavathura with Mollikulam
is being repaired at a rapid phase. The road that connects
Mahawilachchiya with Silavathura is also under construction with a new
bridge at Kundachchikuda.
The Engineers of the Sri Lanka Army - 'sapper' - are making the paddy
fields of the Mannar 'Rice Bowl' ready for harvest. Being abandoned for
over a decade the lands have become fallow making it difficult to plough
with traditional means. With the heavy vehicles provided by the
Government, the 'Sapper' are preparing the lands to support the farmer
community who are being resettled in these area.
The Chinese Government has donated a fleet of modern machinery for
the second time in support of the efforts of the Government in
resettling the Internally Displaced Persons and developing the North.
The official handing over ceremony of the Rs. 2049 million worth of
machinery took place last week at the Galle Face green in the presence
of the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for Northern Province
Development, Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa M.P.
The Government has taken urgent measures to reconstruct and renovate
the irrigation system in the Northern Province on the recommendation of
the Northern Task Force.
The demining process is successfully carried out in areas surrounding
the Giant Tank and Iranamadu Tank. The demining work is expected to be
completed before the next paddy cultivation season.
Measures will be taken to ensure that the demining process is carried
out in such a way that no threat will be posed to the people and their
livelihood programs after resettlement.
Several irrigation tanks in the Vavuniya district including the
Pirappanmaduwa, Kanakkayagama will be renovated paving the way for the
Sinhala families, who were forced to flee due to LTTE threats and
intimidations, to be relocated
A new irrigation project - Varukkai Aru Scheme - has been initiated
at a cost of Rs. 103.99 million.
Construction work is afoot with Rs. 138 million being allocate for
irrigation projects in the Jaffna district, under the "Uthuru Vasanthaya"-
180 day accelerated development program. These areas have a great
potential for paddy and other crop cultivation. Over 357 vehicles and
machinery are made use of to develop the road networks, irrigation and
water works in the North.
The voluntary return of all Internally Displaced Persons is a salient
feature in the mega development drive in this postwar era. The Sri
Lankan Government is proceeding at an accelerated pace in implementing
its development priorities in the hope of restoring the Northern
civilization to its old glory.