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DateLine Tuesday, 3 March 2009

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Government Gazette

A-9 opening

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 enemy.

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 with celebrations.

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 years.

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 solidarity.

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 North.

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 North.

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.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas
Donate Now | defence.lk
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka

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