Vision Mannar is a district-wide business initiative that aims to develop boutique businesses based on Mannar’s famous products for tourist and export markets: mainly rice, dry fish, salt and palmyrah. Although Mannar was once famous for such products, the district did not benefit from this because of a lack of product development; branding and packaging; a reluctance to embrace new technology; and low standards in all stages of manufacturing and production. This project has many objectives – to value add to existing Mannar products, develop and promote high quality items for external markets, build the capacity of small and medium enterprises to produce export quality goods and to reduce regional poverty and high levels of unemployment (particularly for vulnerable groups). External funding of this project is essential.
Activities summary from the last visit to Sri Lanka
• Reviewed the extensive “Vision Mannar” proposal and budget completed by Diarne Kreltszheim, Diaspora Lanka volunteer, and Chamber staff in June last year. Also developed a modified and less funds-heavy version.
• Held several meetings with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to seek funds for the “Vision Mannar” proposal.
• Worked closely with Chamber staff to develop new projects and find funding.
• Wait for UNDP feedback. The Government and UNDP are currently in negotiations about project and funding guidelines so until the outcomes are known, local resourcing decisions cannot be made.
Some more houses and lands in Vadamaratchi East, Pachchilapallai and Valikamam areas, hitherto occupied by the Army, were released on Friday (23) after shifting those camps to government lands.
Commander Security Forces – Jaffna (SF-J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe delivered the documents related to the release of 51 acres and 7 houses in Uduththurai, Mamunai, Champiyanpattu and Pullopallai to the Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development Mr. Douglas Devananda who subsequently handed them over to Civil Administrative Authorities. Camps were established in those areas by the Army in 2009 after defeating the LTTE terrorists in Humanitarian Operation.
Divisional Secretary Vadamaratchi East Mr. S. Saththiyaseelan, Administrative Officer Pachchilapallai Divisional Secretariat Mr. T. Suntharamoorth, General Officer Commanding 55 Division Brigadier Ajith Wijesinghe and a large crowd attended the handing over ceremony held at Thalaiady Central College. The 55 Division had arranged a donation of dry ration packs, each worth of Rs. 2000/=, for 75 low income families in the area on the same occasion.
Ten houses and twenty nine acres of lands used by the Army in Jaffna were released to owners at a ceremony held in Eluththumadduval on Monday (26) with redeployment of six Army camps at Varani, Manthuvil, Iyaththalai, Ketpeli and Eluththumadduval including 522 Brigade Headquarters at Mirusuvil, Security Forces – Jaffna (SF-J) handed over those lands and houses to respective Civil Administrative officials.
Chief Priest of Ushan Hindu Temple, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Mr. Douglas Devananda, Commander SF-J Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Divisional Secretary Chavakachcheri Ms S. Shanthaseelan and General Officer Commanding 52 Division Brigadier Anura Sudhasinghe were present on the occasion.