Lankan Prez opens new bridge to Jaffna

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha inaugurated a new bridge connecting the mainland with the Jaffna peninsula, which was earlier the stronghold of the now defeated LTTE.

Updated: Jan 16, 2011, 20:00 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lankan president Mahinda
Rajapaksha on Sunday inaugurated a new bridge connecting the
mainland with the Jaffna peninsula, which was earlier the
stronghold of the now defeated LTTE.

The 288 metre-long Snaguppiddy Bridge has been
commissioned by President Mahinda Rajapksha as a Thaipongal
gift to people of Jaffna, government information department
said.

Strategically important areas along the road were
secured by the Sri Lankan forces before they start the final
assault on LTTE, the rebel outfit eliminated in May 2009.

The newly opened bridge built along the A 32 road will
reduce the travel time to Jaffna by about three hours.

Sri Lankan military captured the Jaffna peninsula in
1995, which was earlier the stronghold of the LTTE.

The bridge was built by the Sri Lankan engineers ahead
of scheduled on a loan obtained by the United Kingdom with a
view to provide better transportation to people in Jaffna,
information department said.

Meanwhile, the president will be the chief guest at
the National Thaipongal festival to be held tomorrow in
Jaffna, the cultural capital of the minority Tamils.

The Thaipongal festival which fell on Saturday is a
widely celebrated festival by the Hindu Tamils where they pay
gratitude to the Sun God.

Sri Lankan authorities released 78 rehabilitated
former LTTE cadres yesterday to mark Thaipongal.
Officials said 48 females and 30 males have been
handed over to their families in Vavuniya, after they had
undergone rehabilitation.

Earlier in the month, rehabilitation officials said
that nearly a half of former combatants who successfully
completed the comprehensive rehabilitation process left the
detention centres.

At lest 5,586 former LTTE carders out of 11,696 left
rehabilitation centres after receiving vocational training
during the rehabilitation process,media reported early this
month quoting commissioner general of rehabilitation Brigadier
Sudantha Ranasinghe.

PTI