A GLANCE AT JAFFNA DISTRICT
Jaffna District is the northern end of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, about 410 Km away from Colombo. It consists of the peninsula and seven inhabited Island. North, East and west boundaries of the District are Indian Ocean, South is Jaffna Lagoon and Kilinochchi District.
The total land area including Inland waters is 1,012.01 sq.km. Jaffna District is divided into four Sub Divisions. They are Islands, Valikamam, Thenmaradchi and Vadamaradchi. Jaffna District falls under dry zone. Peak rainfall is during the months of October to December during North East Monsoon and the Scattered during April to May. The inter Monsoon rain is uncertain. The District received 1033.30 mm of rain during the year 2013. The average temperature during the year fluctuated between 25.30 and 31.090 with an annual average of 28.180 .
The Soil and Water Resource of the Jaffna Peninsula are both related to the limestone geology of the land. The soils are formed on the marine deposits and sediments under the influence of sea waves and winds on limestone. Tile limestone being a porous rock is the source of groundwater for the Peninsula. Well drained and high productive calcic Red Yellow latasol and Red Yellow latasol soil types are found in central areas (60,000Ha). Alkalin saline Soil and Regasol are found in coastal areas (26000Ha) and Alluvial Soil is in ValukaiAru area (10000Ha). In certain areas coral lime stone is available. This different soil types offer scope for cultivation of exotic as well as local crops. Tile depth of soil varies from 90cm- 150cm.
Jaffna peninsula has a source of Ground Water store in the Sub terrain layer of limestone. The limestone is the main aquifer. This a aquifer has several isolated caves and caverns capable of storing ground water without evaporation losses. It is anexcellent aquifer. The entire Groundwater is generated from percolated rainfall and it forms a freshwater lens beneath the peninsula. It is found that the fresh water lens do not extend below the base of the limestone. The fresh water lens is sustained by the buoyancy of fresh water in relation to sea water. Difference in density, (1.0,0.25) giving a ratio of 40:1. That is every meter of fresh water above the sea level requires a depth of fresh water lens of 40m when no mixing between fresh and seawater takes place. There is no sharp interface between fresh and seawater.
Total population of the Jaffna District is 610,640 consisting of 186,681 families in 31.12.2013 and female population accounted 52.31 %. Out of the total population in Jaffna District 601,353 persons are Tamils, 355 persons are Sinhalese and 8,392 persons are Muslims. Out of the Total population 83.23% are Hindus, 15.24 % are Christian, 1.42% are Islam's and 0.0046% are Buddhists.
Agriculture sector is a leading sector in Jaffna District. There are 1/3 of the families about 54,417 families in this District solely depending on Agriculture including livestock and large share of the population is also involved in Home Gardening. People in Jaffna district traditionally farming community. Their culture is mostly agrarian based. These traditional farmers have generations of experience about the soil, climate and agricultural technology which is unique to their system of production. They have their own cultivation techniques developed by their forefathers and the practices have been time tested and proven to be more appropriate than modern technologies. These traditional farmers never had an opportunity to practice their most unique and effective farming technology during the past three decades due to the prevailed situation Jaffna District is predominantly an agricultural area and always has enormous potential for agriculture produce such as red onion, chilies, potatoes, tobaccos, vegetables, banana, and grapes, cultivated for commercial purposes. Other crops cultivation such as paddy, pulses, and coconut are in substantial level. Palmyrah products also substantial source of income. Rice is produced during the Maha season under rain fed condition while vegetables are produced nearly all year around under rain fed irrigated conditions.
The target extent of Paddy cultivation for 2013/14 Maha season is 11,900 ha while the target extent will be made 9,520 ha and anticipated production is 33,320 mt. The target extent for other field crops cultivation for 2013/14 Maha season is 4,820 ha and the anticipated production is 39,510.5 mt and target extent for other field crops for 2014 Yala season is 2,184 ha and the anticipated production is 25,946 mt. These targets have been proposed and approved by the District Agriculture Committee meeting. However achievement of these targets depends on the numbers of supporting services available to farmers. The vital factors for creating effective mechanism is to provide agricultural inputs together with other supportive services. The fertilizer subsidy scheme implemented by the government would be a major contributory factor for farmers towards increasing their productivity.
Jaffna District is surrounded by Sea and Lagoon. The Fisheries Sector is an important sector in Jaffna District and major economic activity and the source of livelihood for about 20,699 families consisting of 88,286 persons in and 21,852 persons active fisherman in Jaffna District. The following fishing resources are available in Jaffna District. About 6% fish production was contributed to national from Jaffna District
The long tradition of dedication to education and resulting high priority given to Education from colonial period, Jaffna has been one of the Districts with high literacy rate in Sri Lanka. Education is one of the major concerns for the people of Jaffna District. There are five Education Zones in Jaffna District. There are Islands, Valikamam, Jaffna, Thenmarachchi and Vadamarachchi. Presently, 503 schools are in Jaffna District. Out of that 445 schools are functioned. The students’ population is 131,632 and Teachers 7,313. The students teachers ratio is 18.
Jaffna Teaching Hospital is the main public health and medical institution for the people of Northern Province and for teaching of medical students of the university of Jaffna and Nursing and midwife students. All other curative institutions come under the administration of Regional Director of Health Services; Jaffna. These institutions are forming a net work in three levels, Such as:
Base Hospital (Type A&B): 04
Divisional Hospitals: 23
Primary Medical Care Unit: 17
In addition to the above hospitals, Cancer Unit, Tellipalai and Chest Clinic, Jaffna is functioning under the administration of Regional Director of Health Services.
In the preventive sector under each MOH there are clinic centers, which provide mainly maternal and child health care services.
Under Ayurvedic System there is 01 District Ayurvedic Hospital, 04 Rural Ayurvedic Hospitals and 10 Central Ayurvedic Dispensaries. In addition, there are 37 Free Ayurvedic Dispensaries under Local Governments.
Regional Director of Health services is in charge for all primitive, Preventive, curative and Rehabilitative health activities in this District under him heads of Institutions namely Medical Superintendents, District Medical officers, Medical officers in charge and Medical officers of Heath are functioning.
Jaffna is a immense potential for tourism and Hotel industry. Jaffna is an immense potential for tourism and hotel industry. Three types of places such as Historical, Natural and Religious places are available in Jaffna District. Historical important Places such as Vediarasan Fort at Delft, Hammenhein Fort at Kayts, Jaffna fort, Jamuna pond, ,Manthiri mania (kings Palace) Entrance arch of Jaffna. Natural places such as Chatty area at Velanai, Casuarinas' Beach at Karainagar, and coastal areas at Manatkadu. Famous religious places such as Nallurmurugan Temple, Naguleswaram Sivan Temple, Vallipuram Vishnu temple, St. James church, Dutch church at Chankanai, Nagadeepa Buddhist Temple at Nainativu.
Jaffna District has no forest cover as in other parts of the country. There are naturally grown palmyrah trees in many parts of the District. Small scale coconut plantations, indigenous trees and fruit trees have been grown in homesteads, private lands, and common places. These tree plants components have played an important role in providing a source of income to the substantial number of families, nutritive food and protect the environment. Agro forestry is not an actual forest; it is a phenomenon influencing substantial effects on climate and environment which is favoring for agriculture and human living. Trees are providing many benefits to the communities. They provide food; medicine, shade, green manure, timber and fire wood and also function as natural cooler in different climate.
During the conflict period, palmyrah, coconut and many trees in homesteads, public places such as schools, temples, road sides, cemeteries etc, and coastal regions were either cut or damaged. Further general population started cutting trees for firewood purposes. In 2004, Tsunami tidal wave and in the fourth week of November 2008 the torrential storm followed by flood caused severe damage to perennial tees. Large number of perennial trees were either completely or partly damaged or lost its potential vigor.
In the roads of the Jaffna District, there is no tree cover which is very common in other parts of the country and world. At the same time there is no wind belt along the coastal line. As a result the drift of sea water and air towards land is a common feature and causes severe environmental hazard damage the agricultural crops and trees.
Trees are very important in maximizing and diversifying the productivity of highly fertile land. Intensive agro forestry systems are most commonly found in this District. Tree planting scheme is being implemented as a homestead method. Homestead have the potential for the promotion of agro forestry and social forestry programme in the District and wide variety of tree crops are planted in homesteads. The homestead is an integral element of the farming systems. The scope to intensively planting of trees in homestead for food, fuel, timber and for security.
Under the Dayata Sevana National Tree planting programme about 35,740 valuable trees planted in Jaffna District during the period of 2011 to 2013. Most of the plants were planted in Homes, schools, Public places, Road side, Sea side, Temples and Government Institutions.
Due to the ethnic conflict and Tsunami disaster caused the death and disappearance of large number of males thereby compelling women to take on the role of family head. There are about 27,756 women headed families. Out of that 2,360 under 40 years. women headed families should be cared for special programmes which will be particularly helpful in assuaging their trauma and suffering, while affording opportunities for employment.
Environmental pollution is a major problem in Jaffna district. The following issues such as Over Extraction of Ground Water, Application of High Amount of Nitrogen Fertilizers, Over use of Agrochemicals, Oil Contamination in drinking water wells through discharge of waste from Power plant operates by heavy fuel oil identified in Chunnakam area., E.coli contamination due to lack of sewerage system in Jaffna Municipal council area, Improper solid waste management in Local Authorities leads to contamination of underground water, Degradation of Bio Diversity and Health hazards by Parthenium Weed , Stalinization due to non maintenance of Salt water exclusion bund, Unplanned and illegal Sand mining, Climate Changes and Sea Erosion have been identified.
The Government Agent/District Secretary is an Executive Officer for the entire District. The Government Administration works at the levels of Central, Provincial, District, Divisions and village level. . Jaffna District is divided into 15 Administrative Divisions 435 Grama Officers Divisions. Furthermore 17 Local Bodies (Municipal Council- 01, Urban Councils - 03 and Pradeshiya Sabhas-13),12 Medical officer of Health Divisions and 05 Educational Zones are functioning in Jaffna district.