Sri Lanka to invest $4 bn in conflict-hit northJanuary 12th, 2010 - 2:25 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, Jan 12 (DPA) Sri Lanka plans to invest $4 billion to develop infrastructure in the war-torn northern part of the country, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said Tuesday.
Rajapaksa said electric power projects, road development and restoration of the railway line to Jaffna, 396 km north of the capital, were high priorities.
“We are getting foreign aid from countries like Japan, India, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and from donor agencies like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to be invested this year,” Rajapaksa said.
The president is running for a second term in the Jan 26 election. His chief opponent is retired General Sarath Fonseka, the former army commander who defeated the Tamil rebels last year.
The northern part of the island has been neglected for the last 30 years, mainly due to fighting between government troops and Tamil rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The final military offensive against the rebels left over 300,000 people displaced. Most of them are still in refugee camps or living with friends or relatives. Some have returned to their villages, but most houses are damaged.
Rajapaksa said the priority would be to resettle the displaced people in the north. He said he was trying to meet a government deadline to close the camps by Jan 31.
“We want to close the camps, but some are not willing to go as they find that there are more facilities in the camps, than their villages,” Rajapaksa said.
Rajapaksa said that he would discuss a political solution to the issues concerning the Tamil minority after the election.
He said he hopes to hold long-overdue provincial elections in the north soon after the presidential campaign, while continuing talks on reaching a political solution.
The last northern provincial election was held in 1988.
Tamil rebels waged a long war against government forces for a separate state. The conflict claimed more than 100,000 lives and caused extensive damage to the economy, including tourism.
- Rajapaksa has given firm commitment to empower Tamils: Krishna - Jan 20, 2012
- First visit to northern Sri Lanka by a president in 30 years - Jan 10, 2010
- Ex-Tamil rebel supporters back ex-army leader in presidential race - Jan 06, 2010
- Krishna brings healing touch to Tamils (Lead) - Jan 18, 2012
- Sri Lankans flock to vote despite blasts, violence (Second Lead) - Jan 26, 2010
- Polling opens in Sri Lanka presidential election - Jan 26, 2010
- EU wants fair trail for Sri Lanka detainees - May 06, 2012
- Rajapaksa gets nod to free jailed ex-army chief - May 17, 2012
- Krishna heads to Lanka, hopes for solution to Tamils' problems (Lead) - Jan 15, 2012
- Krishna to visit Sri Lanka Jan 16 - Jan 07, 2012
- Sri Lanka polls end with 70 per cent turnout (Third Lead) - Jan 26, 2010
- Sri Lanka to free more Tamil rebels - Nov 17, 2011
- Rajapaksa orders release of jailed ex-army chief - May 20, 2012
- Sri Lanka's ex-army chief released from jail - May 21, 2012
- Sri Lanka strives to recover after end of civil war (Yearender) - Dec 11, 2009
Tags: army commander, asian development bank, chief opponent, donor agencies, government deadline, government troops, india china, jaffna, liberation tigers of tamil eelam, mahinda rajapaksa, north colombo, political solution, president mahinda rajapaksa, provincial election, provincial elections, railway line, refugee camps, sarath fonseka, tamil minority, tamil rebels