The Need for Dignified Livelihood

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 November 2002, 16:48 GMT]
The livelihood of the population in the North and East depended mainly upon agriculture, livestock and fisheries. Some medium-scale industrial activities were in operation prior to escalation of the conflict. These along with a few large-scale industries like the Cement Factory in Kankesanturai, Paper Factory in Valachenai and a few others, provided unskilled and skilled employment. Most of these are presently not functioning.

The destruction to the economic livelihood in these areas covers a range of issues.

Damages to the infrastructure facilities such as roads, irrigation, and water supply reduced production and efficiency. Loss of equipment and direct war damages aggravated the situation. The service delivery to support the micro-economic activities and other production activities were disrupted due to constant displacement of people and institutions and acts of war. This directly affected the small and landless farmers, and small-scale business activities. Other income generation activities had little or no scope due to the constant restriction on movement of people and goods. These restrictions also led to difficulties in transportation and loss of market opportunities.

The situation described above applies at a general level, over the whole of the North and East. The northern part of the country has, however, been more severely affected than the east, where the same situation manifests itself in significant areas.

Ongoing Activities and Level of Support
GOSL, in co-operation with and funding from, ADB, WB, UN agencies, bilateral agencies and non-governmental organisations is actively involved in a number of projects aimed at improving livelihood and production capacity.

Of these, the two larger programmes are the ADB project "Northeast Community Restoration Project" and a WB financed project.

Northeast Community Restoration Project, in addition to assisting emergency rehabilitation of water supply and sanitation, also deals with agriculture, fisheries, power-supply and education. It further covers elements on human development (training and human resource development). The total commitment up to now is US$ 133 million.

The World Bank has focussed on education, irrigation and emergency infrastructure programs. The total commitment is US$ 77 million.

The above-mentioned programmes are of a magnitude that they must gradually be expected to meet significant needs in the areas they are expected to cover. They are also designed to cover the entire area of the North and the East. Other programmes are more limited in scope and generally concentrated to areas under the control of the government.

Priority Activities
SIHRN will assist in ensuring quick and effective implementation of ongoing activities particularly in the area of roads reconstruction, transport facilities, water for irrigation, equipment and plants for the fishing industry, power and communication. SIHRN further see a need to concentrate efforts on making credit and advisory services available for both primary and secondary production units. For the deprived youth – regardless of gender - opportunities must be created for the pursuit of relevant education.


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