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Basil Rajapaksa wants to develop Neduntheevu/Delft into eco-tourist resort

Written by kumaran   // July 19, 2011   // Comments Off


Economic Development minister & Presidential sibling Basil Rajapaksa has blueprint to develop Neduntheevu/Delft into an eco-tourist resort. Neduntheevu meaning long Island in Tamil is Sri Lanka’s largest off shore Island. It is in the Palk straits & is called Delft in English

The oval shaped flat Island is about 50 sq km in area. It is roughly 8 km in length & 6 km in breadth.It is 28 miles away from Jaffna city. Addressing a meeting in Delft, Basil told residents to be ready to cater to tourists as he wanted to make the Island an eco-tourist resort

Neduntheevu would be beautified into a magnificient tourist attraction.A power plant to supply constant electricity would also be set up. The economic development minister who is in charge of tourism told Neduntheevu residents cabana type cottages would be constructed there. Cabanas are small huts with thatched roofs built near large bodies of water in tropical regions. These are very popular with eco-tourists

Basil Rajapaksa wants to build cabanas to be owned,maintained & managed by Delft residents who will be trained in hospitality service sector. A project to beautify Delft as a tourist attraction will be implemented. A small power plant will be set up to supply regular electricity

Infra-structure in Neduntheevu will be developed. The jetty will be deepened, Roads will be modernised. A water supply scheme will be set up. A network of bunds similiar to the Dikes in Netherlands will be built to prevent sea water intrusion inland&curb increasing salinity of soil. Rijckloff van Goens who was Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1678-1681 named 8 Islands in the north after Dutch cities & towns

While Dutch names have gone out of usage in the other Islands, Neduntheevu retains the Dutch name&is named as Delft in Admirality charts. The picturesque Island has a population (Tamil) of 5-6000 people. It is an ideal tourist spot with golden sandy beaches & sparkling shallow seas

A remarkable feature of Delft are herds of semi-feral ponies.These privately owned freely roaming herds of ponies live freely in the wild. These descendants of horses& ponies introduced to the Island by the Portugese & then maintained by the Dutch are owned by the people of Delft. There is also a small Dutch fort&ruins of Dutch stables.There are also ruins of a fortress belonging to legendary Tamil ruler Vediyarasan

An indigenous folk drama or Naatukoothu about the King Vediyarasan is very popular in the Island. Delft also has a gigantic Baobab tree. Another feature of Delft are the walls surrounding compounds being constructed by balancing coral&limestones tightly on top of each other. Among other Delft attractions are a giant footprint engraved in stony ground & an ultra- deep freshwater well called Devils well

Transport to Delft is by sea with ferries leaving for & returning from Neduntheevu to Kurikaattuvaan pier in Pungudutheevu Island. A tragic incident etched in Neduntheevu memory is the mid sea massacre of Tamil passengers aboard the vessel “Kumuthini” by the navy in 1985. Many of Neduntheevu’s sons&daughters have done well in life through studies. The Tamil scholar Rev.Fr Xavier Thaninayakam is of Delft origin

Lack of economic opportunities has led to large scale migration of Neduntheevu people to Jaffna peninsula& the northern mainland of Wanni. The eco-tourism project of Basil Rajapaksa if implemented properly as promised could result in the economy of Neduntheevu doing well

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