The newly appointed Northern Province Governor has prioritized to resolve the land issues faced by the people living in war-affected province; as there were many landownership issues, including the unauthorized occupation of both private and State lands, forged documentation, misplaced deeds, etc. Since all these are needed to be urgently resolved has appointed a three-member commission, headed by a retired judge, to ensure that land-related grievances were addressed expeditiously. With people notified to forward their land-related grievances to the commission for its members to visit by district to examine each of these cases. The commission has been given two months to report back to Governor.
The Governor has also initiated several new programs to uplift the livelihoods of low-income and vulnerable segments of the population by addressing the economic needs of these people. Further the Governor has identified two other areas that needed immediate attention in the education and health sectors. As there are lot of vacancies in rural schools and hospitals and some schools are functioning without a single teacher. These matters were promptly reported to the President, who has given a directive to ensure that these vacancies are filled as soon as possible.
With more and more people resettling back in the Northern Province, it is important is for the economy of the North to be connected to the South to open many new avenues for trade, marketing, etc. Thus there must be swifter land, sea and air connectivity to connect the North with other parts of the country. Further all business activities and trading happens in Colombo and better transportation between these areas is vital. At present, most people use bus or train to travel between Colombo and Jaffna that take between seven and nine hours. With only a single line railway track, that limits the number of trains that could daily operate the Northern Line. The Jaffna International Airport is to be upgraded further and the first direct flight from Colombo to Jaffna commenced today, to resume the much needed air connectivity after many years.
The Governor has said that the tourism industry in the Northern Province needs to be fine-tuned to attract more visitors and connectivity would be a key factor in developing the tourism sector in the province as it cannot thrive in isolation. People in the industry too must be connected, be they travel agents, hoteliers, tourist guides or restaurant owners. There must also be activities that connect local arts and culture, festivals, etc. to attract tourists, both local and foreign.
There are nice beaches and islands that are popular with the local people, but due to lack of proper maintenance of facilities are not popular with foreign tourists; there is a need to move from passive tourism to active tourism. For these days, foreign travelers want to engage in different activities like yacht racing or kite surfing, etc. than spending the day lying on the beach. According the Governor has notified the concerned authorities to encourage such activities in the region.
Also the Governor has said that the tourism industry in the Northern Province needs to be fine-tuned to attract more visitors and connectivity would be a key factor in developing the tourism sector. Among the plans under discussion is one to develop more air connectivity for tourists who come to the Jaffna International Airport they can visit areas such as Trincomalee or Dambulla and other popular tourist sites in the island.
The Governor has started to fine-tune connectivity between the province and the Executive, after witnessing firsthand that people in the province are so vulnerable, unable to cope with present trends and that they need lots of input from the outside and is prepared to present their plight on behalf of the people to the Executive. The President, who is very receptive to it, as it was for this purpose that the New Governor was appointed by him not so long after becoming the President.