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* Sri Lanka Navy to assist pilgrims to Kachchativu Island for the annual feast
Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 12:27 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 19, Colombo: The annual feast of the St Anthony's Church in Kachchativu island of Sri Lanka will be held from February 23rd to 25th.

Sri Lanka Navy is providing assistance to thousands of devotees expected to attend the annual festival of St. Anthony's church dedicated to St. Anthony, the patron-saint of seafarers.

The Navy, under the direction of the Defense and Urban Development Ministry and the supervision of Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, has taken steps to provide the islet with necessary facilities for the feast in addition to the security for the festival.

The Navy says it has provided all infrastructure facilities, including development of all by-roads and installation of sanitary and drinking water facilities in the island under the instruction of Northern Naval Area Commander Rear Admiral Shirantha Udawatte to conduct the feast in a grand scale.

Also, jetties have been made ready for people to secure their boats conveniently. The Navy has renovated and newly painted the Church for the Feast.

The navy will deploy special lifesaving and medical teams to ensure the safety of the devotees attending the annual festival.

The Jaffna District Secretariat has decided to operate a special boat service for the Sri Lankan devotees.

Fishermen of both Sri Lanka and South India participate in the feast of the St Anthony's Church in the uninhabited island ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974.

The devotees from India continued to attend the festivities of the St. Anthony's Church which was established in 1905. The practice was interrupted during the three-decade long conflict during which the public was not allowed to visit the island due to security situation.

Around10,000 Indian devotees are expected to attend the feast this year.

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