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India to provide Rs 300 million grant to develop Jaffna airport

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is set to be signed between Sri Lanka and India, which will grant 300 million Sri Lankan rupees to expand the passenger terminal and luggage inspection area of Jaffna's Palaly airport.

Tourism Minister, Prasanna Ranatunge announced the measures following meetings with Gopal Baglay, India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. 

The MoU will be presented to the Cabinet Ministers in two weeks and if approved, the Indian grant will be also be used to modify utilities and transit services. This development of the MoU comes nearly ten months after India first pledged to provide a grant or the development of the airport back in December 2019.

Palaly airport also known as Jaffna International Airport had recently began operating scheduled flights from India but services were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sri Lankan military continues to occupy vast areas of lands around the Jaffna peninsula, including in Palaly where a large military base continues to be maintained. The Sri Lankan military occupied the airport and was used as an air force base for its fleets of jets which were extensively used in bombing raids throughout the armed conflict. While the military has allowed for commercial flights, the area remains under a High Security Zone occupied by the military.  

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