The opening of
the Jaffna-Kandy A9 road after a lapse of twenty four years
could be considered as a landmark victory in the three decades
long ethnic war.Much blood had been spilled in the quest for
control of this strategic artery that provided the main land
route into the peninsula.
It is through this route that transportation of soldiers and
logistics took place until the fall of Pooneryn in 1993.
Although the A9 was opened following the CFA in 2002 vast
stretches of the road was under LTTE control with the forces
unable to make full use of it.
The A-9 was also the scene of some of the bloodiest battles
fought at the height of war resulting in large loss of lives
among the security forces and the ceding of territory to the
Therefore the opening of the road at long last would also
serve as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by these
valiant men at a ceratin stage of the war, which ultimately
paved the way for final victory that the country savours today
Thus today’s ceremonial opening of the A-9 would have more
than a symbolic value. It would be a stark reminder of the
sacrifice made by our heroic solders not just in securing a
stretch of road but in ultimately uniting two communities to
live as brothers and sisters once again in a country united.
Their sacrifices certainly had not been in vain with the
ultimate goal now within the grasp of their colleagues who are
moving in for the final kill.
The opening of this main artery to the North would be
symbolic in other ways too. Hopefully it would serve as a bridge
of unity to bring together the estranged communities who had
been separated by a wall of bitterness and rancour all these
The link will also symbolise the firm binding of the
country’s territorial integrity with the route traversing the
landmass linking the North with the South.
The Government should now take steps to make this vital link
to the North a means of cementing the tattered relations between
the two communities. Time should not be lost in developing
people to people contact and commencing the healing process.
The road should be turned into a highway of peace and harmony
a symbol of unity and brotherhood and a bridge into the hearts
and minds of Tamil community.
To symbolise this and to display our good-will and the spirit
of reconciliation a peace walk should be organised from the
South along the this main land route to the North ideally led by
the Sangha and other clergy. This should be followed by other
visits preferably by our popular artistes as an expression of
The road will initially be used for the transport of soldiers
and logistical support but hopefully before long it would be a
hive of activity reminiscent of the old times when both
communities interacted freely.
The opening of the A9 no doubt will open up many vistas and
potential in time to come which would be of immense benefit to
the country as a whole.
There is no denying the country’s economy suffered greatly by
being deprived of the abundant harvests and the bounties of the
North over the years. Now with the prospects of unrestricted
travel there is bound to be revival of trade and business
transactions as in the past between southerners and their
industrious counterparts of the North.
The people of the North who had been undergoing immense
hardship due to high cost of essentials as result of sea
transportation of goods will now have their burdens eased
considerably as a result of the opening of the A9.
In fact both the people of the North and South would also be
able to reap the full benefits of the opening of this main land
route in time to come with the stabilising of the Northern
economy and a steady arrival of goods and produce from the
It would be an ideal opportunity to link the economies of the
North and South. There is no knowing the economic loss to the
country as a whole as a result of breakdown in the links with
the North due to the bloody conflict.
The old timers may remember the famous Jaffna delicacies,
fish, vegetables, fruits particularly the famous Jaffna mangoes
that were popular with the people of the South. There is no
knowing where this road could lead to in economic terms.
The rich produce of the Jaffna farmer, the abundance of fish
that were denied to the South could all now be transported along
the newly opened A9 giving the opportunity to the people of the
South to once again revive links with their brethren of the
This will open up the age-old links between the entrepreneurs
of the South and the North which flourished in the past
contributing immensely to the national veal.
The Government should now set its goals towards a complete
revival of all the abandoned industries in the North
particularly the fisheries and agricultural sectors which was
the mainstay of the Northern economy.
A collective harnessing of these resources would also mean
stepped up production and an impetus to the food drive
spearheaded by the President.
It would also lead to an overall drop in the prices leading
to the easing of the cost of living.
It is hoped that yesterday’s opening of the A 9 would herald
the road to progress not only for our brethren in the North but
the country as a whole.