In the wake of recent military victories, the Government is venturing on a crash development programme in the newly-liberated Kilinochchi town, with the objective of getting civilians to return and begin a new life.

Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa presided over a meeting on Friday in the wake of the security forces’ victory in Elephant Pass – a victory that helped the troops take full control of the strategic A-9 highway – to explore ways and means to restore facilities in Kilinochchi town.

Among those who attended the meeting were Kilinochchi District Secretary N. Vedhanayagan and senior officials from the Health, Education and Housing departments and the Road Development Authority.

Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad was invited as an observer. A team of government officials will visist Kilinochchi next week to assess the damage and requirements once security clearance is given, Resettlement Ministry secretary A.C.M. Razik told The Sunday Times.

He said immediate priorities would be improving schools, hospitals and developing roads and the transport sector. “The aim is to get civilians back into these areas as soon as possible. One way would be to develop the town so that people can return,” he said.

The Kilinochchi project is the first such attempt to get the civilians who fled from the northern war zone back in their own area. Since August last year, troops have secured areas in Mannar, Madhu, Pooneryn, Kanakarayankulam, but civilians have not been allowed to return to their homes due to security reasons.
On Friday government officials also discussed arrangements for the displaced persons who are expected to arrive in Vavuniya from the uncleared areas.

Rs. 30 million was allocated to improve facilities for the displaced persons, officials said.

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