Priority areas marked for N & E development | Sunday Observer

Priority areas marked for N & E development

The National Unity Government has laid special focus on developing the war-ravaged Northern and Eastern Provinces and increased fund allocations for development in the different districts in the two Provinces. Fund allocations for development work in the different sectors in the Batticaloa district were considerably increased in the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 compared to previous years.

A report compiled by the Director (Planning) of the Batticaloa Government Secretariat states, the total allocations for 2015, 2016 and 2017 amounts to Rs.39,494.20 million as against the total allocation of Rs.26,793.86 million in the previous three years.

Priority areas for development are road/bridge construction and housing for the displaced people, Secretariat sources told the Sunday Observer. For the current year, in addition to the regular allocation of Rs.6,610.20 million, special Cabinet approval was obtained for a special additional allocation of Rs.15,973 M, the report states. Year-wise allocations for 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively were Rs.11,204.48 M, Rs.8,623.65 M and Rs. 6,965.73 M.The allocations for 2015, 2016 and 2017 were respectively Rs.7,492.57 M, Rs.9,418.43 M and Rs.22,583.20 M.

Development works in the agricultural sector in the district, known as the Granary of Rice, has contributed to an increase in rice production from 10 % - 12% of the Gross National Production. In the district, a sum of Rs.143 M was paid as compensation to farmers for losses suffered by them during natural disasters while Rs.160 M was spent on constructing 8 new houses.

A sum of Rs.80 M was spent on establishing an Agrarian Training Centre, according to the report. In the animal husbandry sector, a total sum of Rs.200 M was spent on the disbursement of funds to farmers ranging from Rs.100,000 each, for poultry, cattle and goat farming.

In milk production, the contribution of the district has increased from 20% percent of the national production to 25 %. For the development of the fisheries sector, a Fisheries Training School has been established in Navalady at an expenditure of Rs.40 M and a hatchery at Pudukudiyiruppu at a cost of Rs.125 M. Rs.33 M has been spent on the preservation of tank dams.

The contribution of the fisheries sector to national fish production will increase from 6 % to 8%. In the irrigation sector, 63 major projects at an expenditure of Rs.1,100 M are nearing completion.

For the dredging and rehabilitation of 50 minor and medium range tanks and the rehabilitation of Kitul and Rugam major tanks a staggering amount of Rs.9,742 M has been allocated.

When these programs are completed an additional 17,552 acres will be brought under the plough. Under these projects, paddy production will increase by 30 percent, fresh water fish production too will increase and drinking water will be provided to an additional 200,000, thereby increasing it from 6 % to 32 % About 58,000 new water supply connections have been provided from the Unnichchai Drinking Water Project.

Under the educational development program, physical resources to 31 schools have been increased, 32 preschools started and 20 playgrounds developed at a cost of Rs.38 million. A Technical Training School has been started at a cost of Rs.98 million.

A total of 6,143 houses have been constructed – 4,605 for the war-affected families, 1,073 for widows, 124 for families of differently-abled, 296 for ex-combatants and 45 for families whose members had disappeared. Over 12,000 houses have been renovated, and the number of families having permanent houses increased from 60 % to 70%, according to the report of the Director (Planning).

To develop the tourist sector Rs.50 M has been spent on the beautification of the Kallady beach and Rs.30 M spent on beautifying and renovating the Batticaloa Fort.

Another Rs.52 M has been spent on the beautification of parks and children’s parks, and Rs.200 M on carpeting city streets.

A development plan for the district for 2030 include a wide range of projects costing several billions of rupees. They include, the Metropolitan Area Development plan for which US $ 50 M has already been allocated and the establishment of the Brandix Garment Factory in Thalankuda at an expenditure of Rs.1,450 M that would offer employment to 5,000 people.