Saturday, May 1, 2010

India To Help Revive Sri Lankan Airport

AWIN First Apr 30 , 2010
Neelam Mathews

As Sri Lanka comes to grips with the vestiges of its violent past, India is stepping up to help with the resettlement program in the North of the country, including assistance with the development of Palali Airport, near Jaffna, following the end of a three-decade civil war. The nature of the assistance has not been announced. It is likely the private sector also may become involved, an official tells The DAILY.

A strategic plan outlined by the Sri Lankan government says Palali should be developed as a regional and international hub with a cargo center and a light aircraft flying club.

Jaffna is the northern capital of Sri Lanka. Palali, a small town near Jaffna, is one of the main transport connections from Jaffna Peninsula with the rest of the country, and its airport is the second-busiest in Sri Lanka. Palali served as the main lifeline to the Jaffna Peninsula, as there was no land supply route to the peninsula until 2009.

Given that the majority of people in North Sri Lanka have ties with Tamil Nadu in southern India, the plan projects developing Jaffna as India’s northern gateway to Sri Lanka.

A business and IT park, similar to Singapore Changi Business Park, is also envisaged close to the airport to provide easy links.

Indian envoy Ashok Kantha recently told a local daily that India was looking forward to reviving air transportation between Jaffna and points in India.

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