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Indian private traders to Jaffna's rescue

Given the delays in sending essentials from Colombo to Jaffna, private traders from Jaffna and India will be bringing the stuff from India, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 19:14 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

Given the delays in sending essential commodities from Colombo to beleaguered Jaffna by land, sea or air, private traders from Jaffna and India will be bringing the stuff from India, says the Sri Lankan Minister for Social Welfare, Douglas Devananda.

He told the media here on Tuesday that the essentials would be brought from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to ports in Jaffna through the established private trade channels.

Traders from Tamil Nadu and Jaffna have been having links for a long time, even at the height of the war in the Northern peninsula.

Stocks in Jaffna were running low but they would last another two or three days at least, Devananda said.

"The situation is not desperate," he added.

Private traders would be able to bring in goods from Tamil Nadu in about three days, he said.

"They have enough resources to bring them," Devananda said when asked if private traders had the resources to handle such a big emergency.

He said that he had privately inquired if India would be able to help on a government-to-government basis and the response from his Indian contacts was good.

Meanwhile, a supply ship with 1,200 mt of supplies was awaiting fair weather to do the journey from Colombo to Jaffna round the island.

And the ship could leave on Tuesday itself, weather permitting, the minister said.

45,000 people displaced in Jaffna

According to Devananda, the war which began on August 11 in the Jaffna peninsula had displaced about 11,000 families or about 45, 0000 people.

Of these, 5,798 families are in public places like schools and temples and 5,578 families are staying with relatives in places of relative safety.

Air link with Jaffna resumed

Meanwhile, the Palay airport in Jaffna became operational in a limited way with two flights operating per day in the evenings, the Tamilnet said on Tuesday.

The airport was closed for fixed wing aircraft on August 12, after the LTTE began shelling it with long-range artillery. The shelling had continued for several days.

However, it would be a while before day time flights could begin.

Claymore mine discovered in Colombo

A claymore mine, weighing 15 kgs, was discovered in the heart of Colombo and defused by the Army bomb disposal squad on Tuesday.

The army said that the mine was planted in a box on a bicycle parked in the busy Young Mens' Buddhist Association building at the crowded Borella junction.

When there was no claimant to the bicycle, the local police called the army bomb disposal squad, which found that under a heap eggs and coconuts in box, there was a claymore mine which would have gone off minutes later.

First Published: Aug 22, 2006 19:14 IST