Development programs similar to the ones launched in Sri Lanka were not found in any other country in the South Asian region since the island’s rural population was reaping the full benefits of infrastructure development, according to the Indian media team currently visiting the country. The visitors expressed confidence that the island would be a fully developed country within the next decade. The journalists promised to brief the Indian people on the development programs Sri Lanka has undertaken regardless of ethnic and religious differences.
The journalists gave this assurance when they met Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa at his Ministry Office on Tuesday (Sep. 9). The team comprising 30 media persons representing 24 newspapers and television channels in 14 Indian States was headed by Paramanand Pande, General Secretary, Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ). The visitors toured a number of areas in the island, including Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Trincomalee.
The Indian journalists told Minister Rajapaksa that Sri Lanka’s environment was very favorable tourism and said the pleasant experiences they had in the island were not found in any other country they visited. They stressed that the Indian people were very pleased with Sri Lanka though a minority due to their ignorance was opposing Sri Lanka for narrow political gains. Their opposition did not reflect any problem in Indo-Lanka relations, according to the visitors who appealed not to have any misunderstanding over the matter. IFWJ General Secretary pointed out that Tamil Nadu’s 60 million was only six percent of the total Indian population.
The Indian visitors appreciated Minister Rajapaksa’s keen interest in the 50,000 houses coming up in the North and in the Plantation areas with Indian assistance and the development programs in the North and East including the reconstruction of the railway line to Jaffna.
The Minister requested the visiting journalists to keep the Indian people informed of the tourism and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. He explained to the media team several programs launched in the island with Indian assistance and about steps taken to develop people’s livelihood and infrastructure in the North and East.
General Secretary Pande promised that the IFWJ would take steps to counter anti-Sri Lanka propaganda carried out in his country. He thanked the Sri Lanka Government for giving people the opportunity to learn the facts through Tamil Newspapers and TV channels launched in the North and East after the war.
Mass Media Ministry Secretary Charitha Herath, Industry and Commerce Ministry Secretary Anura Siriwardena and Sri Lanka Foundation Institute Director Professor Ranjith Bandara and Sri Lankan media personnel attended the discussions.