The Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms launched the second inter-ministerial programme on July 15 to assist conflict-affected people in the Ampara District. The programme was initiated to rebuild two villages which were severely affected during the conflict, namely Kanchikudichcharu and Thangavelayuthapuram, situated in the Thirukkovil Divisional Secretariat.
“The aim of the inter-ministerial programme is to develop a collective mechanism of ministries to rebuild the villages that were affected during the conflict,” Media Secretary of the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Mr. T.E. Pridhekumara, said. “Thirteen ministries have pledged their support for this inter-ministerial programme.”
The inter-ministerial programme is in line with Recommendation 9.92 of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) that suggests establishing an Inter-Agency Task Force that is mandated to address, in a comprehensive manner, the needs of women, children, elderly and other vulnerable groups such as the disabled who have been affected by conflict, and to provide necessary relief.
The first inter-ministerial programme took place in the Pallikuda village in the Kilinochchi District and consisted of various development activities, including resettling the villagers, rebuilding a place of worship, renovating a river and granting compensation to war-affected residents.
“The first inter-ministerial programme was very successful, and we have been able to restore normalcy to civil life,” Mr. Pridhekumara said. “The second inter-ministerial programme expects to benefit 268 families in Thangavelayuthapuram and 312 families in Kanchikudichcharu.”
Most of the activities planned for this programme were initiated at the inauguration event held yesterday. The Rehabilitation of Persons, Properties and Industries Authority (REPPIA) has allocated Rs. 10 million to reconstruct 100 houses for those families whose houses were destroyed during conflict. The villagers will also contribute to the project by providing labour. REPPIA has also made arrangements to provide agricultural loans up to Rs. 30,000 per family by allocating Rs. 9.7 million in total. The Hindu Kovil in Kanchikudichcharu is being reconstructed at a cost of Rs. 1 million. The total REPPIA contribution amounts to Rs. 20.7 million.
The Ampara District Secretariat has distributed a stock of bicycles, books and mats worth Rs. 300,000 among the villagers and allocated another Rs. 1 million to establish a unit called the “Sewa Piyasa” (or Service Booth) that “will serve the villagers as a hub for government services,” according to Mr. Pridhekumara.
“It will house various government officers including a grama niladhari officer, an economic development officer, a health officer and an agriculture officer,” he said.
Another major need in the area was public transportation, which has been restored with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB). The SLTB launched a bus service from Thirukkovil to the two villages covering a distance of 15km at a cost of Rs. 500,000.
“This is the first time in 15-years that a public transportation vehicle has reached the village,” Mr. Pridhekumara said.
The Ministry of Road Development, Irrigation, Housing and Construction, Rural Electrification and Water Supply of the Eastern Provincial Council has allocated Rs. 6.68 million to provide a water supply system and electricity to the two villages.
In addition to the above activities, several other government institutions are contributing to the development of the two villages.