India stamps its presence here

Consulate in Jaffna, reconstruction and development of infrastructure, and rehabilitation of the North and East

India’s Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna, who opened a new Consulate office in Jaffna yesterday, said peace and normalcy have dawned in Sri Lanka, giving it the opportunity to create an unparalleled opportunity to solve all outstanding issues in a spirit of mutual understanding.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Krishna said India will assist in setting up a Cultural Centre and in the reconstruction of Duraiappa Stadium in the heart of Jaffna town, while it will also assist to renovate a major Hindu temple in Mannar district.

I have myself travelled this route 50 to 55 years ago. ... The time has come to forge closer links between the two countries. ...” -- India’s Foreign Minister, S. M. Krishna

The two countries have also signed an MoU for the resumption of ferry services between Colombo and Tuticorin, and Talaimannar, and Rameswaran”, he added. India is also involved in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of KKS harbour.

Mr. Krishna added that there were direct flights between Palaly and Trichy, and ferry services between Talaimanner and Rameshwaran. “I have myself traveled this route 50-55 years ago”, he added. He said the time has come to revive those links to forge closer ties between the two countries.

Mr. Krishna said thousands of people in South India listened to Radio Sri Lanka’s broadcast of many Tamil and Hindi songs which they could not hear on Indian broadcasts. The visiting Indian Foreign Minister said that Sri Lanka is faced with the challenges of resettling people displaced by the LTTE’s terrorist atrocities, as well as reconstructing the entire province, devastated by the conflict, and restore the livelihood of the people.India has always tried to contribute whatever it can to alleviate the grievances faced by the displaced people in Northern Sri Lanka, he said.

Meanwhile, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa thanked the Indian Government for its continuous assistance to the people displaced by the LTTE’s war of terror. The Minister was speaking at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of 1,000 houses for the people displaced by the ‘Eelam’ war at Ariyalai.

The Indian government intends constructing 60,000 housing units for the displaced people in the Northern province, and this project of 1000 houses began as a pilot project.

Minister Rajapaksa said that India has been providing much assistance for the displaced people in the North and East, and, on behalf of the people and the Government of Sri Lanka, expressed his gratitude to the government and people of India for their generosity.

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