Three sophisticated Mine Clearing
machines, which were purchased from the grant of Rs.177 million
by the Government of Japan, were handed over to the Prime
Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake yesterday.
The machines and other supportive de-mining equipments and
spare parts will be received by the Civilian Humanitarian
De-mining Unit in the Ministry of Nation Building and
According to the Secretary to the Ministry of Nation Building
and Development, M.S. Jayesinghe SriLankan government is
implementing a comprehensive Mine Action Programme with a target
of making the country mine free by 2008. The programme also
proposes to clear most of the high and medium priority areas by
the end of 2006,except in Jaffna and some parts of Vanni.
"According to the estimates, one million landmines are in
North East in about 730 villages and there are about 500,000
land mines in Jaffna. 50 per cent of these are already cleared
now," he said.
"This programme also supports mine clearance in agricultural
and commercial areas and for the reconstruction of
infrastructure such as damaged hospitals, drinking water supply
and many more," said the Secretary.
He said that Japan has been a leading donor for SriLanka
since the ceasefire agreement was signed in 2002 and Japan has
given 10 million US dollars regarding this throughout this time.
According to the Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, the
programme is fully owned, controlled and managed through the
Ministry of Nation Building and Development with the technical
support of the UNDP and UNICEF.The National Steering Committee
chaired by the respective Government agents.
"The Ministry established the new de-mining unit with about
400 army personnel who are trained in humanitarian mine
clearing. The three mine clearing machines gifted will be used
by the clearing unit," he said.
"Most lost of life and limb caused of land mines. As
responsible humanitarian government we acknowledge the State has
the primary responsibility to safe guard the people and land
from disasters. Though we work for a mine free SriLanka by 2008
hope would be able to achieve it before that," Prime minister
This asset could be utilized by the humanitarian de-mining
unit of this ministry and other organization for mine clearing
work when the International NGOs complete their activities in
about two year.The INGOs and the Sri Lanka Army.
Japan Ambassodor, Akiyo Suda Japan will continuously help
Srialnaka by 2008."Demining is one of the main tasks in our
assistance. Itís not easy to achieve this target. We appreciate
the target of SriLankan government to make mine free SriLanka by
"Implementing social and economic aspects are essential to
the normality of life. We provide a vast assistance regarding
rehabilitation and reconstruction with the goal of achieving
lasting peace in the country,"Akiyo said.