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President sets up task force 'to accelerate development' in North-East

The Sri Lankan president has set up a task force to 'accelerate development projects' in the North-East. 

Speaking at the task force's first session, Mr Sirisena reportedly stressed that the programme should be delivered in a "systematic and efficient manner to provide the people in the region with immediate benefits". 

"Although the government has done a great deal of work in the past three and a half years to uplift the lives of the people living in the North and the East and to develop the infrastructure, the people have not been well informed of the developments," Mr Sirisena was quoted by the Colombo Page as saying. 

According to the paper a number of projects had been identified including the construction of 25,000 houses, 1847 km of road development, and the development of Myliddy fishing harbour. 

The announcement comes amid months of prolonged protests by families of the disappeared and families of political prisoners who have criticised the government for breaking its promises.