Dec 21, 2009 (LBO) – A highway to Sri Lanka’s north is seeing free movement of people and goods for the first time in decades after the final restrictions on traffic were removed from Monday. Following a ceasefire with the Tigers in 2002, the road was opened but the Tigers collected tax on goods moving along the road.

The government has been progressively, relaxing controls on the road. Earlier a number of vehicles with prior clearance were allowed to move in convoys along the road.

The increased demand for agricultural goods produced in the area from the South pushed up farmgate prices steeply giving better incomes for farmers. More than 1,600 people and 90 vehicles moved along the A-9 highway to Jaffna peninsular after the government lifted all restrictions on the route, military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said.

Traffic on the arterial highway was restricted for more than two decades as an internal conflict raged with Tamil Tiger separatists, until they were defeated in May 2009.

The Jaffna peninsular itself which was wrested from the Tigers earlier, was supplied by sea and air.