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India chalking out reconstruction package for Lanka's north

delhi Updated: Feb 08, 2009 14:36 IST
Ajay Kaul
India chalking out reconstruction package for Lanka's north

As Sri Lankan forces are on the verge of recapturing last of the LTTE-held territories, India is chalking out a reconstruction and developmental package for the northern parts of the island nation.

The package, which is expected to include a number of power and infrastructure development projects besides capacity-building activities, will be implemented in association with the Sri Lankan government in the region that is being freed from LTTE clutches after 23 years.

Details like the number of projects, their volume, the exact format are being worked out, sources told PTI here.

"The aim is to enable the people of northern Sri Lanka, who are in an impoverished condition due to two decades of war, to stand up on their feet," they said.

The intent is to lay strong and sustainable foundations of peace in Sri Lanka's north and provide for comfortable conditions for the people there to live in, the sources said.

The reconstruction package could be on the pattern of activities being undertaken by India in Afghanistan and various other countries.

India has many projects in Afghanistan which cover power sector, infrastructure, social empowerment and capacity building.

The package will be undertaken in association with the Sri Lankan government, the sources said while indicating that its implementation could begin as soon as the military offensive against LTTE gets over.

India will also work closely with Sri Lankan government in the political field, like implementation of devolution package of empowering all communities and holding elections in north of the island nation, the sources said.

The devolution package is based on the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord.

India had helped Sri Lanka in conduct of elections in east which was liberated from LTTE over two years back.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, during his recent visit to Colombo, conveyed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa India's keenness to work with Sri Lankan government to enable all Sri Lankans, particularly the Tamil community to lead normal lives as soon as possible.

"An early restoration of normal democratic life in the areas affected by the conflict would be a major contribution to peace and stability. India will do all that it can to bring this about, working with all those who work for this goal with us," Mukherjee had said.

India has already supplied relief material for the affected civilians in the north.

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