Sri Lanka

Over 1,930 sq. kms landmines free in North

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An area exceeding 1,934 out of 2,061 square kilometres of lands in the North which were dotted with land mines and booby traps have been cleared by the end of 2011.

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has given specific directives to expedite the clearing of the remaining 126 square kilometres.

According to Minister Rajapaksa, a contingent of 3,600 persons who are trained in mine clearing are involved in the clearance of remaining lands and they are mainly from the humanitarian demining unit of the Sri Lanka Army and other foreign and local organizations.

Mine clearance activities are closely monitored by the Humanitarian Mines Clearance Centre which is functioning under the Economic Development Ministry.

More than 759,138 landmines, booby traps and unexploded devices have been recovered by the deminers so far.

An Economic Development Ministry official added that the Government has brought down more than 39 demining machines to the country. The Humanitarian Demining unit of Sri Lanka Army's Engineering Corps is playing key role in the mine clearance.

In addition to six foreign organizations, two national organizations are involved in the mine clearance in the North.

The government had to face impediment to resettle over 300,000 people who were displaced by terrorist atrocities in the North due to lands dotted with mines and booby traps.