High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha visited Vavuniya and Mullaithivu districts in Sri Lanka on Monday for an assessment of the work of Indian NGOs engaged in the de-mining process.

The Indian mission here said he was accompanied by Atula Jayawardena, Special Forces commander (Mullaithivu) and visited the Field Camp of an Indian demining team at Oddusuddan and Kathaliyarsamalankulam Grama Niladhari Divisions.

The camp is run by Sarvatra Technical Consultants, which along with another Indian organisation, Horizon Assignments, runs seven demining teams. All the teams are funded by India and have been deployed at a cost of about $4 million.

It said the High Commissioner was briefed about the work, the progress registered and tasks and objectives assigned to them by Colombo.

Mr. Kantha thanked the teams for their exemplary work and service braving high risks. He added that this was a sterling example of India-Sri Lanka cooperation and a major contribution to achieve the shared objective of the two governments to ensure early rehabilitation and resettlement of the Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) in northern Sri Lanka.

The Indian teams have so far cleared an area of approximately 63,012,876 sq metres in the districts of Vavuniya and Mannar making them fit for habitation, resumption of cultivation and other economic activities.

The demining teams have been engaged in carrying out a non-technical survey in vast areas in Mullaithivu district in the Kokkilaim–Kokkuttuduwai region and in the Vavuniya district in the Puliyankulam region to identify the exact areas that require demining, while releasing the balance areas for re-settlement. In the process, the demining teams have recovered several anti-tank mines, anti-personnel mines and other ordnance.

The Indian demining teams have now been deployed in Mullaithivu District and along the A-9 Highway .

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