During the Jaffna and Kilinochchi District Coordinating Committee meeting Yesterday (Jan.04), Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe addressed crucial issues concerning missing persons, land releases, and environmental conservation in the Jaffna district.
He emphasized the need for immediate attention and proactive measures to address these pressing matters.
The Head of State noted that the issue of resettling displaced persons cannot continue and that there should not be any displaced persons by 2025. He instructed the officials to devise a plan to resettle all those displaced.
Wickremesinghe acknowledged the economic hardships faced by the public and assured that public servants would receive economic relief after the Thai Pongal celebration this year. He emphasized that with the stabilization of the country’s economy, economic relief measures are being extended to the entire population.
Furthermore, he affirmed that all outstanding bills resulting from last year’s economic reforms have been settled. He highlighted the completion of necessary measures aimed at fortifying the economy throughout the upcoming four quarters.
Additionally, Ranil disclosed plans to elevate the economic growth rate to 3% by the end of this year, with a targeted increase to 5% in 2025.
Wickremesinghe inquired about the status of missing persons, emphasizing the urgency of the situation. The registered number for the missing persons is 1,788, encompassing all 15 divisional secretariats in the Jaffna district. A total of 1,289 families have been interviewed, but as of now, no reports have been received from the district secretariat.
He directed officials to expedite the process, aiming to conclude the remaining 500 cases swiftly. Additionally, He proposed contacting the missing person’s office for a resolution, setting a target to complete the task within the next six months.
Political authorities from Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts, along with government officials, actively participated in this meeting. The discussions covered a comprehensive review of ongoing development projects, plans, and the challenges faced in these districts.
Wickremesinghe specifically addressed key areas such as resettlement, education, health, land, fisheries, agriculture and forest conservation during the meeting. He extended a special invitation to all Members of Parliament representing the Northern Province, urging them to actively participate in the development program.
Emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts, the President stressed the need for a concerted plan to expedite the Northern Province’s development and urged everyone to accelerate the collective program for building the country’s economy.
Ranil Wickremesinghe additionally stated that following the establishment of the new economic commission, individuals will have the opportunity to come to Sri Lanka and present proposals. He expressed the intention to extend invitations to the diaspora abroad to participate in these opportunities.
The President further highlighted the country’s strategic focus on energy export. To achieve this, he mentioned plans to secure energy resources in the north, with Poonaryn envisioned as an energy centre for this purpose.
He also expressed his commitment to transforming the Northern Province into a prominent agricultural centre in the country through the modernization of agriculture in the region. He directed officials to expedite land release in the Northern Province and indicated that a definitive decision on the required land for the Palali Airport and security forces would be reached by February.
The President also instructed the officials at the Ministry of Lands to visit Jaffna and urged them to take immediate steps to address the land problem in the north.
Highlighting the allocation of funds in this year’s budget for two water schemes, aiming to resolve the water problem in the north, he further noted that measures have been initiated to disburse funds for previously executed water projects.
The President also affirmed a commitment to resolving these issues promptly for the well-being and progress of the North.
During a meeting with professionals in Jaffna, the Head of State stressed that Sri Lanka should learn from countries like Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and France on independent regional economies.
Putting emphasis on devolution through laws, President Wickremesinghe noted that only the Western Province has financial independence.
He also urged that each province actively use the 13th constitutional amendment powers for development, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.