World Bank approves NEIAP-2 project for NorthEast

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 November 2003, 16:47 GMT]
Nn a request made by the North East Provincial Council (NEPC), the World Bank has approved in principle the implementation of the North East Irrigated Agriculture Project (NEIAP-2) under which five hundred more focal villages and two major irrigation schemes in the eight districts of the NorthEast province will be accommodated, sources said.

Under the NEIAP-1 about four hundred focal villages in the province had been developed, according to NEIAP sources.

A two-day preparatory workshop, which began on Friday at Nuwarawewa rest house in Anuradhapura, capital of the north central province, concluded Saturday, where project design, project objectives, project components and implementation arrangements for the proposed NEIAP-2 were formulated, sources said.

The Chief Secretary of the NEPC Mr.S.Rangarajah presided.

Representatives of the World Bank, Line Ministry officials, academics, provincial and district level officials attended the workshop, sources said.

The World Bank funded NEIAP-1 was launched in 2000 when the war was in full force in the northeast province. The objective of the project was to help conflict affected communities in the NorthEast province and adjoining areas to re-establish at least subsistence levels of production and basic community services. The project aimed to provide assistance to jump start agricultural and small scale reconstruction activities, and to build their capacity for sustainable social and economic reintegration, NEIAP sources said.

Sources further said the project interventions (rehabilitation of irrigation tanks, rural roads, construction of drinking water wells and community centres and introduction of livelihood support activities) have already benefited at least 35, 000 families. The project has brought back about 5,400 ha of agricultural land to production through the rehabilitation of about 80 minor irrigation tanks completed to date.

The NEIAP-1 has created employment opportunities in 249 focal villages through the engagement of communities in the rehabilitation works and restoration of agricultural production and wage labour employment opportunities under the rehabilitated tanks, sources said.

Self employment opportunities have also been enhanced through the 6540 individual income generating activities initiated to date through the livelihood support activity component of the project, NEIAP sources said.

New leadership especially amongst youth and women has emerged in a significant number of community-based organizations, farmer's organizations, and rural development societies, women rural development societies that have been formed or rejuvenated by the project.

Particularly, the women rural development societies play a major and an active role in implementing the livelihood support activities and managing associated finances at village level, a NEIAP official said.

The NEIAP-1 project is due to close in December 2004, sources said.

 

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