Item in Daily News. 3 September 2018
Batticaloa and the adjoining areas which were devastated by war and the tsunami will gain a major economic transformation when internal air flights are started soon linking Colombo Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Sigiriya and Palali. “This will be a major boost to the tourist industry in particular, which will provide ample job opportunities and income avenues to the people,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
The Prime Minister said the Batticaloa airport has already been rehabilitated by the Civil Aviation Authority and talks are underway with two local companies for launching internal air flights.
The Prime Minister was addressing a meeting after opening the MJF Centre at Kalkudah on September 1. The Prime Minister said Batticoloa and other areas in the East are now on the fast track of development through Information Technology to cater to the needs of educated youth belonging to all communities in the region.
The Prime Minister said Merryl J. Fernando of Dilmah fame had volunteered to help the Batticaloa district and improve the living standards of the people. Steps were being taken to help children with special needs launch Kadju cultivations, help small scale business ventures through the centre opened that day.
“It was common to see areas are lagging begind in development. But, the government has decided to fast track development in those areas. Merryl Fernando and the M.J.F. Foundation had launched a special programme and we all should appreciate these endeavours,” the Prime Minister said.
“The government had paid special emphasis on the eastern Province by creating the Trincomalee Development Plan. Infrastructure facilities had been developed in the region steps had been taken to develop industries in the areas,” he said.
The cashew crop derived from plantations in the area could be sold in the Batticaloa district itself at a profit in the region. The hotel school set up at the centre will provide training to youth in the area people would be able to earn an additional income by providing accommodation to tourists in their homes.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that eventhough he would like to implement the envisaged future development plan within a month or a year, it was a difficult task which would consume time. The government was aware of the difficulties faced by the people in the past few years. But, now the task has to go ahead to implement the plans which the government could not implement single handedly without the assistance of one and all.
The programme launched through the Dilmah Group was a farsighted one reaching the rural sector. It would provide assistance to every home. When such institutions initiate programmes of this nature, they could be included into the Enterprise Sri Lanka programme.