A post-war milestone was achieved yesterday when the first investment zone in the north, the Atchchuvely Industrial Estate, was opened by Economic Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
The Industrial Estate is expected to attract potential investors, from within and outside Sri Lanka, by providing suitable infrastructure and amenities. The main focus will be setting up eight ventures in the zone, which have been selected from 61 applicants.
“During the first phase we hope to provide 2,000 jobs,” Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda told the gathering, which included Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran.
“Under the second phase the zone will be expanded by another 42 acres of land,” he added.
In Phase I of the Project, 25 acres of land have been developed, which will facilitate setting up of 22 industrial units and provide indirect employment opportunities to approximately 10,000 persons.
Overall, the Industrial Estate will help serve as a platform for industrial development of the region, for regeneration of livelihood in the Northern Province and for optimal utilisation of local resources.
Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha, in his remarks, emphasised that India and Sri Lanka share a dynamic and multi-faceted relationship, rooted in history, language, culture, religion and trade These relations have matured and diversified with the passage of time, encompassing all areas of contemporary relevance.
The High Commissioner congratulated the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development of Sri Lanka and the Industrial Development Board of Sri Lanka for facilitating the completion of the Project and hoped that this project would promote industrial development in the Jaffna peninsula.
The targeted sectors for investment in the Industrial Estate include textiles, plastic and leather products, oil and fibre products, food processing units, and agro-based industries. Once the Northern Railway Project being executed with Indian assistance rehabilitates the rail link up to Jaffna by September 2014, access to the Industrial Estate would be enhanced, thus providing further stimulus to the business activities therein.
The estate has been set up through grant assistance of Rs. 220 million by the Government of India, and Rs. 50 million from its Sri Lankan counterpart. Necessary technical expertise and project management services were provided by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). The Industrial Development Board of Sri Lanka will henceforth manage the Estate.