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C. Sameer Raja asked: What is the role being played by India in rebuilding Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the civil war?

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  • Gulbin Sultana replies: India is committed to assisting Sri Lanka in its effort to rebuild the country in the post-war period. India has allocated Rs.500 crore from the Union Budget for the rehabilitation and resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and for reconstruction projects in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. The assistance was provided in three phases.

    First Phase
    In the first phase, India provided immediate relief and assistance to the IDPs from the war zone. The assistance included 2.5 lakh family relief packs, medicines worth Rs. 225 million; an emergency field hospital in Pulmodai which treated over 50,000 displaced people from March to September 2009; artificial limb refitment camps in Northern Sri Lanka; three consignments of shelter material each weighing 2600 metric tonnes; and, four lakh cement bags (20,000 metric tonnes) for construction of temporary shelters.

    Second Phase
    In the second phase, India extended resettlement and livelihood assistance which included deployment of seven de-mining teams in residential areas from August 2009 to December 2011; assistance by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research to help revive agricultural sector in Northern Sri Lanka; 95,000 packs of agricultural implements (including 48,500 kg of high yielding variety of seeds) for resettling IDP families; 500 tractors; 55 buses to Northern, Eastern and Central Provinces; 10,000 bicycles; boats with outboard motors and fishing nets for the IDPs in Mannar; assistance to fishnet factory in Jaffna; and a project led by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) aimed at ensuring sustainable livelihood for destitute women in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.

    Third Phase
    The reconstruction and development assistance being provided by India in the third phase include construction of 50,000 houses for the IDPs in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. It is the flagship project of the Government of India. As of November 2015, 39,500 houses were completed. Other projects include reconstruction of two northern railway lines, from Omanthai to Kankasanthrai and Medwachchiya to Talaimannar; reconstruction of the damaged southern railway corridor from Colombo/Galle to Matara; rehabilitation of Kankasanthrai Harbour; construction of a Cultural Centre in Jaffna; renovation of Alfred Duraiappa Stadium in Jaffna; renovation of 79 schools in Northern Province; technical assistance to the ten-year presidential initiative to steer Sri Lanka towards a Trilingual Society by 2020; setting up language labs in all the nine provinces of Sri Lanka; scholarship for the Sri Lankan students; setting up vocational training centres at Hatton, Puttalam, Batticaloa and Nuwara Eliya; providing equipments to Palmyrah Research Institute in Jaffna; rehabilitation of the Industrial Estate at Atchchuvely near Jaffna; construction of a 150-bed Hospital at Dickoya, Hatton in Central Province; and restoration of Thiruketheeswaram Temple in Mannar.

    Some of these projects have already been completed successfully. However, two projects - construction of Sampur coal power plant and renovation of Palaly Airport – are yet to take off due to some opposition at the local level.

    Posted on April 29, 2016