Sri Lanka promises eastern economic revival

July 19, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse Thursday promised to wage an economic war to revive eastern areas of the country recently re-taken from the Tamil Tigers. “Economic freedom is as important as freeing territory,” the President said as the government held a televised ceremony to mark the fall of the last Tamil Tiger (LTTE) base in the Thoppigala area of the Eastern Province.

“We expect to launch an all-out development war giving priority to agriculture. I expect this economic war to bring back economic prosperity denied to the country.”

Sri Lanka’s eastern province, lined with miles of sandy beaches, was a tourism hotspot before the onset of hostilities in the 1980s.

The port in Trincomalee, regarded as one of the best natural harbours in the world, already has a flour mill, a cement plant and a petroleum storage terminal owned by the Indian Oil Corporation.

Plans are also afoot to start a coal power plant with another Indian state firm and the government has said incentives were available for industrialists to start factories.

“The east was considered the least developed region of our country,” the President said in the official