Madhu road opened for civilian use
[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 September 2003, 19:28 GMT]
The Madhu road in Mannar district was opened Thursday for the use of over 13,000 villagers living in 11 villages around the historic Madhu church by the Sri Lanka Army after several years, with restrictions on the type of vehicles that can travel on the road, civil sources said.
The Rehabilitation Minister of Sri Lanka, Dr.Jayalath Jayawardene, the Mannar government agent, security officials including Major General Susil Chandrapala, the Vanni SLA commnader, the Mannar district political head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Mr.Amirthab, and parliamentarians participated in the opening event held Thursday morning, sources said.
The SLA has still restricted the use of large vehicles like buses, trucks and lorries, allowing only cycles, motobikes, mini buses, and multi-purpose co-operative union lorries to use the road.
The use of the Madhu road was restricted to pilgrims worshipping Madhu church, and until Wednesday civilians
were not allowed to use the road for their daily travelling purposes on security reasons, sources said.
The opening of Madhu road, despite the restrictions, now enables civilians residing in 11 villages around the church to cut short the time to reach Vavuniya and other Sri Lankan government controlled areas by 3 or 4 hours, as they can travel through the Uyilankulam SLA checkpoint to reach Vavuniya and other Sri Lankan government controlled areas, sources said
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission head, Major General Triggve Teleffsen, discussed this matter with the SLA and the Defense Ministry and reached a consensus to open the Madhu road for the use of civilians other than pilgrims,