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LTTE airstrip to be converted into aviation complex

world Updated: Mar 27, 2010 16:46 IST

The airstrip at Iranamadu in North Sri Lanka, earlier used by LTTE to launch attacks, will be soon converted to an aviation complex as a part of development plans for the region that was once a stronghold of LTTE.

The makeshift airstrip, built by LTTE in the jungles of the north Sri Lanka, will be renovated as an aviation complex under government's post-war reconstruction plans, the official website said today.

L H Indrasiri, the Director of Geographical Information Systems of the Urban Development Authority, said at a seminar organised by the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council here this week that the complex would come up at the abandoned airstrip. It will also be equipped with a training and research institute.

On January 16 last year, Sri Lankan ground troops discovered the 1 kilometre long runway used by LTTE in the eastern edge, opposite the famous Iranamadu tank bund.

Just a day prior to that, troops captured an LTTE tarmac of 1100 metre from the eastern side, parallel to the Iranamadu tank bund.

Another former Tiger stronghold in Mullaitivu, on the northeast coast, has been earmarked as a centre for fisheries-based engineering equipment industry and sea-based eco-tourism, the website said.

During the last phase of three decade long civil war in May, 2009, the Sri Lankan security forces seized as many as seven air strips built by the LTTE.

The 2-kilometre long seventh and apparently the last LTTE runway that was located in the hinterland of Puthukudirippu, was captured on February 3, last year.

The tarmac had been divided into sixteen sections, most probably to use it as a hangar after return on completion of clandestine aerial bombing operations, said the army website.

The entire airstrip has been surrounded by earth bunds from the north and east. On December 24 last year, troops walked into another 350-meter long LTTE runway in the Ampakam north, a further setback to the LTTE airwing.

Earlier, on November 20, 2008, the forces overran a separate LTTE runway on Pooneryn-Paranthan road. Another LTTE built runway was seized in Wannivilankulam, about 7 kilometres northwest of Mankulam on September 30, 2008.

On September 10, the security forces found 2.5-kilometre long runway with a few hangars in Mullaitivu.

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