Oct 09, Colombo: The Government of Japan has extended an additional US$ 737,575 (approximately Rs. 96 million) grant aid for humanitarian demining in the North of Sri Lanka, the Japanese Embassy in Colombo said in a statement Tuesday.
The funds have been granted through Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony Sri Lanka (DASH), a Sri Lankan Mine Action NGO, to expedite the Sri Lankan government's efforts to rid the country of mines.
Nobuhito Hobo, Ambassador of Japan and Ananda Chandrasiri, Demining Programme Manager of DASH signed the Grant Contract on October 9, 2012 at the Ambassador's Residence in Colombo.
Chandrasiri has said that the Japanese support to DASH between 2010 and 2012, has ensured the safe return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) including a part of the finally returned people from the now closed Menik Farm, who were resettled last month in their homes and lands cleared by DASH.
During the Japan-funded programme DASH has cleared and released nearly 2 million square meters of land and in the process more than 2,000 mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) have been recovered and destroyed.
This new project will enable DASH to continue its assistance to clear agricultural lands, access roads to fishing areas and other essential facilities as well as new areas for development.
The money will further assist to ensure safe reestablishment of sustainable economy for the returnees which is an essential requirement for the peace-building process.
According to Chandrasiri, the employment of returnees that includes female single-parents and young people, who never has had any regular means of income due to the prolonged conflict, will help the economy to grow from the reinjection of their earnings through the employment with DASH into the cash-flow of the newly resettled areas.
"What they earn through the employment with DASH is injected to the cash-flow of the newly resettled areas, thereby supporting the reconstruction and reestablishment of a viable economy," Chandrasiri has said.
In addition to demining assistances, Japan has extended assistance for development in the North through projects such as improvement of central facilities of Jaffna Teaching Hospital, construction of Vavuniya-Kilinochchi Transmission Line, and urgent rehabilitation of resettled communities in Jaffna and Mannar districts.
Japan hopes that these assistances would holistically contribute to sustainable peace and development in Sri Lanka and promote the livelihood of the people.