Monday, March 8, 2010

Development - Trincomalee district: WHAT ABOUT THE TAMIL IDPs SITUATION..!!!???

Five years of development - Trincomalee district:

Heralding a new era

by Shirajiv Sirimane in Trincomalee

The latest attraction in Trincomalee the Kinniya Bridge

The Trincomalee’s administrative complex
Pix: Shirajiv Sirimane

Thirty years of conflictwould leave a region underdeveloped with damaged buildings, lack of facilities and people fighting for survival. Access would be limited due to poor road conditions and tourists would shun the area as they would not want to visit due to lack of infrastructure facilities and more importantly would not see any smiling faces.

However, with the government’s development agenda Trincomalee is fast developing and tourists local and foreign are flocking the area in their thousands everyday.

New star-class hotels are being built while most of the houses have allocated a room or two to cater to families that come to the region daily from other areas. Shops that were opened for two to three hours are now open even late night and agriculture and fisheries products are sold at a high price while peace followed by development has opened new vistas for the youth.

One of the biggest development projects in the area would be to construct a 500 MW power plant in Trincomalee to generate electricity at a low cost for the newly developed Trincomalee district. The total cost for the project would be Rs. 60,000 million, and is expected to be completed in two years.

One of the priorities for the Trincomalee district was to develop the road network and today all main roads leading to Trincomalee are being carpeted through funds allocated through the Infrastructure Development Ministry, the Ministry of Nation Building, and the Ministry of Estate Infrastructure, the Maga Neguma program. The Ambepussa-Trincomalee Road via Kurunegala is now 95 percent completed and Rs. 2,450 million has been invested.

Today a person would travel to Trincomalee within six hours and Colombo bound buses operate regularly even in the mid night. The government will also launch two new rail-bus services between Gal Oya and Trincomalee and Gal Oya and Batticaloa in the Eastern Province under the Nagenahira Navodaya project. All the major roads in the district have already been renovated and reconstructed. On the Trincomalee-Pulmuddai Road for the reconstruction of 7.10 km to 27.5 km stretch, Rs. 665 million has been allocated and work amounting to Rs. 375 million has already been completed. This amounts to 68% of the project. In the same road, for development from 27.50 km to 47.50 km, Rs. 654 million was allocated and of which work relating to Rs. 315 million, amounting to 55 percent of the project has been completed.

Over 60 percent work on the Bogahawewa-Pulmuddai Road which was in a dilapidated state has been completed utilising Rs. 320 million from the Rs. 562 million allocated by the Ministry of Highways. The Highways Ministry also spent Rs. 250 million for the reconstruction of the first 7 km of the Trincomalee-Pulmuddai Road. A further amount of Rs. 220 million has been spent for the reconstruction of the road from 47.5 to 55.23 k.m.

Some of the projects undertaken by the Ministry of Nation Building

In addition to traditional tourist attractions such as the Fort, Lovers’ Leap, the Koneswaran Temple and the hot springs, the Kinniya Bridge on the Batticaloa-Trincomalee Road is an attractive agenda to visitors.

Built at a cost of Rs. 790 million Sri Lanka’s longest bridge across a lagoon, the Kinniya Bridge will link Trincomalee with Kinniya, enabling people to cross the Kinniya lagoon to reach Kinniya and Muttur areas.

The 396-metre long and 10 metre wide bridge with 7.4 metres and 1.5 metres for pedestrians was built by the China Auto Caiec Ltd with financial assistance from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In addition, the Irakkandi Bridge, linking Trincomalee with Pulmodai constructed at a cost of Rs.713 million was opened recently.

The Arugam Bay Bridge connecting Pottuvil, Arugam Bay and Panama in the Eastern province was open last year. The state-of -the-art bridge constructed at a cost of US $ 10 million, replaced the old bridge over Arugam Bay which was severely damaged by the Tsunami.

Urban development work from Kantalai to Trincomalee is under way under the New Town Plan of Trincomalee. From the Rs. 395 million allocated for the re-building of the Trincomalee District Secretariat Office, more than 50% of the work has been completed expending Rs. 224.4 million.

The Fort Fredrick was built by the Portuguese in Trincomalee, in 1624. It was built from the debris of an ancient Hindu temple that was destroyed by the Portuguese. This was captured by a Dutch fleet under Admiral Westerwold in 1639.

Not until 1665 was a new fort built here by the Dutch to defend against the advancements of the British and the French.

Due to its international reputation as a tourist destination the Ministry of Tourism with the relevant line Ministries has also decided to move out all the government buildings to this new office and make the Fort a 100 percent tourists area.

The Trincomalee vegetable market built at a cost of Rs. 135 million has been completed and work on the Kantale Bus Depot and the Trade Complex amounting to Rs. 134 million too is in progress.

Under the Ministry of Nation Building rehabilitation and improvements to Allai Extension Irrigation Scheme under the reawakening project is now in progress with an allocation of Rs. 385 million.

Electrification in Trincomalee is far behind the national level with only 55 percent having access to electricity. Electrification in the province is confined mainly to the coastal belt because commercial activities and urbanisation are concentrated along the coastal areas. Electricity to interior areas will be provided shortly.

Project Director, Re-awakeing Project, P.H. Sagathadasa said that the Allai Extension Irrigation Scheme would benefit people in Muthur, Seruvila and Eachchilampaththu.

The Allai Extension Irrigation Scheme, located about 35km south of Trincomalee commenced with the restoration of Allai tank in 1890 followed by augmentation system in 1928.

The Allai irrigation scheme irrigates 17,413 acres [7,050 ha] of fertile land in the estuarine delta of Mahaweli river, by a network of canals and reservoirs. Flows in Verugal Aru, an estuary of Mahaweli River are being used to augment the irrigation scheme.

He said that many similar projects are in progress to provide benefits to the agricultural sector. The existing water supply schemes do not cater to the present demand as the need for water is increasing due to the growing economic activities. Several new projects have come up to find solutions for this.

The expansion of the jetty and other development of the Trincomalee fisheries harbour would solve all the problems faced by the fishing community today.

Trincomalee has one of the world’s finest natural harbours and can accommodate the largest vessels. It operates day-to-day activities in the Eastern province. It serves mainly regional trade.

This port has storage facilities for cement, fertiliser, rice, and tea and food cargo. Further, it has storage facilities for fuel. The Trincomalee harbour too is in the pipeline of development.

The private companies such as Mitsui, Prima and the IOC too have made investments and the proposed Board of Investment Zone would bring more foreign direct investment to the district.

The Trincomalee airport too is now being re-developed and it would also provide the much needed air link to the area.The Minister of Nation Building, Susantha Punchinilame in a bid to provide sports facilities will construct an international cricket stadium in the area with modern facilities bringing in more investment and visitors to the area.

Development along with recreation would bring in prosperity to the conflict affected Trincomalee.

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