Diaspora Lanka Report : 28 September to 31 December 2013 – Part 8

4.4 “Kulam” (pond) rehabilitation

Nedunkulam Pond

Nedunkulam Pond

Mannar Island had more than 70 ponds (“kulam”: sizeable water bodies) that were the natural drainage system for the low-lying island. Successive governments and residents encroached upon the ponds, filling them in for the construction of housing. The result has been serious annual flooding throughout the urban area. The remaining dozen or more ponds are mostly polluted and disused. The proposal was to rehabilitate the ponds and transform them into attractive recreational precincts in a town with little open and recreational space.

In partnership with the Urban Council, the volunteers conducted several community meetings with the many pond and foreshore project stakeholders. For the pond these were: St Xavier’s Catholic Boy’s School principal, staff and students, Hindu residents, Muslim mosque members and local residents. For the foreshore development these were: local traders, fisheries officers and fishermen, and Mosque trustees.

Several meetings were held with the staff and engineers of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) resulting in an agreement that Diaspora Lanka’s planners will be responsible for designs for the Nedunkulam Pond based on community wishes and that UNOPS will fund and undertake the earthworks, drainage and landscaping. If successful, this partnership will be extended to cover the rehabilitation of two additional ponds.

Consultation with Moor St Mosque community

Consultation with Moor St Mosque community

Reflections

The planners completed their pond designs, which were welcomed by most of the community. Regrettably, late in the piece, the school, which borders the pond, withdrew its support as it wants to capitalize on any lands nearby for future school expansion. The Government Agent of Mannar has decreed that all ponds in Mannar come under the jurisdiction of the Urban Council which wants the ponds project to proceed. The Lands Officers of the District Secretariat are willing to ensure the project goes ahead. Further negotiations are now needed.

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Foundation stones laid down in Atchuveli Industrial Zone – 16 April 2014

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“The project will be implemented under full grant assistance of the Government of India with an estimated outlay of Sri Lankan Rs. 192 million (US$ 1.7 million). The completion of the project is expected to provide a boost to economic activities in the Jaffna Peninsula and generate local employment, both direct and indirect, for about 2,000 people.
It is also expected to lead to flow of significant investments to increase production capacities in the sectors of textiles, plastic and leather products, food processing, agro-based industries, oil and fibre products, etc., thereby resulting in better utilisation of local resources.

The project will be implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development of the Government of Sri Lanka. Necessary technical expertise and project management services will be provided by the United Nations (UNOPS).”

An event to lay foundation stones for three factories in the Atchuveli Industrial Zone was held on 16th April 2014. Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda and Governor of the Northern Province GA Chandrasiri participated as chief guests and laid down the stones. Indian Consul General, Jaffna V.Mahalingam also participated at this event.

A plastic pipe factory, a fishing net factory and a factory of Hemas are to be constructed in the zone. This industrial zone is being established with the 225 million rupees financial support of Indian Government and 50 million rupees financial support of Sri Lankan Government.

This project is expected generate many job opportunities which will benefit the local residents at various categories.

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http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2890:foundation-stones-laid-down-in-atchuveli-industrial-zone-16-april-2014&catid=85:min-gs&Itemid=20