The Government of India is undertaking a project to set up Handicraft Villages in Hambantota and Jaffna at a cost of Rs. 40 million, on the basis of a project proposal received from the Ministry of Traditional Industries, Government of Sri Lanka.
Accordingly, the Government of India will be setting up infrastructure for the Handicraft Village in each of the identified sites at Hambantota and Jaffna under full grant assistance.
In the first phase of this project, the Handicraft Village at Hambantota will be set up over the next four months.
Following the conclusion of the tendering process, the ‘Contract Agreement’ was signed with Hewage Constructions on 17 July 2013 in the presence of High Commissioner of India Y.K. Sinha, Ministry of Traditional Industries Secretary Sivagnanasothy, National Crafts Council Chairman Buddhi Keerthisena, Deputy High Commissioner P. Kumaran, senior officials of the Ministry of Traditional Industries and the High Commission of India.
The project is expected to assist a large number of craftsmen in Hambantota and Jaffna districts who produce traditional handicraft items using raw materials from palmyrah, sea shells, cane, pottery and wood carvings but do have not adequate opportunities and facilities to market their produce. The project would bring together traditional craftsmen and their produce on one side and purchasers and tourists on the other, for mutual benefit.
The revival of employment opportunities and restoring the livelihoods of the people has been an important priority of India’s development assistance projects in Sri Lanka. In order to revive farming in the Northern Province, 500 tractors were gifted to agrarian centres and 95,000 agricultural tool kits comprising farming tools and high yielding variety seeds were distributed to IDP farmers immediately after the armed conflict.
A project to supply boats, fishing equipment and cold storage units to fishermen of Vaharai and another to supply boats and fishing nets to old IDPs of Mannar was implemented, benefitting about 1,000 fishermen in the region. A project for strengthening the fishnet factory at Jaffna by equipping it with the latest machinery was completed recently, to increase the fishnet manufacturing capacity of the factory, with the objective of meeting the growing fishnet needs of the fishermen of Northern Province.
The Government of India is also implementing a project through the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka to assist the renovation of 1,230 small business premises in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi, which were damaged during the last phase of the conflict. The restoration of the Atchchuvely Industrial Estate at Jaffna is expected to help revive the economy of the Jaffna peninsula and generate employment for the people of Northern Province.
The Government of India also implemented a Project for artificial refitment of limbs (Jaipur Foot) that benefitted 2,563 people to regain mobility, dignity and sustenance. A separate project for distribution of 10,000 bicycles to IDP families in the Northern Province to assist their livelihood was successfully completed.
India’s assistance to the Sri Lankan people has evolved taking into account the immediate needs and requirements as articulated by the Government of Sri Lanka. India’s assistance, which focused on emergency relief assistance towards the end of the armed conflict and in its immediate aftermath, gradually shifted focus to the resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and revival of their livelihoods through a variety of Small Development Projects (SDPs).
The subsequent requirements of reconstruction are being addressed through the flagship Indian housing project, the Northern Railway reconstruction project and other infrastructural development initiatives. The Housing Project and the Railway Project being executed in the Northern Province are expected to generate about 50 million man-days of employment to unskilled labour of the region.
[Via Daily FT]