The government says with less than 96square kilometers remaining to be demined in the war affected areas some of the de-mining organizations have moved out while the rest will also follow.
The Economic Affairs Ministry said that demining organizations such as Sarvatra, Horizan and MMIPE have already moved out after completing their tasks while the remaining organizations are still continuing the assigned tasks.
“It is natural that after completing of the tasks assigned, the other respective de-mining organizations will also move away. That is a normal process of the de-mining programnme in any country and funding is basically based on the tasks availability. If the area to be cleared is declining, funding for the de-mining is also comparatively getting reduced,” the Economic Affairs Ministry said.
The government says as the Engineering Brigade of Sri Lanka Army has the biggest resources pool with manual, mechanical and Mine Detecting Dogs (MDD) in case of completion of the given tasks by the international and national organizations operating in Sri Lanka, the Engineering Brigade will continue the de-mining operations until the de-mining programme is over.
In June 2009, the Government with the support of donor communities from Australia, Japan, China, India, EU, USA, UNDP, UNICEF, national and international mine action operators implemented a comprehensive and rapid de-mining programme to clear the land estimated to be some 2064 square kilometers as Confirmed Hazardous Areas (CHA) which were contaminated with mines, booby traps and Unexploded Ordnance (UXOs).
“Within three year period, the Government was able to resettle all the internal displaced persons due to the conflict followed by massive pace of de-mining. As per the information of the National Mine Action Center which was established in the Ministry of Economic Development, the remaining confirmed hazard area (CHA) as at end March 2013 is only 96square kilometers. Accordingly, the cleared area is over 95% and most of the remaining areas are covering with shrubs and jungle. The Mine Action program is still continuing by the Government with the support of UNDP, UNICEF, Donor Community, Engineering Bridge of Sri Lankan Army, National and International de-mining organizations too,” the Economic Affairs Ministry said. (Colombo Gazette)