Human Rights, Jaffna, Peace and Conflict

Stanley Rd Closure Affects Traders In Jaffna

Traders on Jaffna Stanley Road are badly affected by the closure of the road. The road is closed for public usage for security reasons and only pedestrians are allowed to use it. Even bicyles are not allowed by forces.

Two major offices are situated on the road. One is the EPDP Jaffna office. The other is the 512 brigade (town commanders office). But otherwise, there are hardware shops, motor spare parts shops, paint shops, motor bike show rooms etc. Officials at the Chamber of Commerce in Jaffna said more than 200 shops lost their business. It is the Wall Street of Jaffna.

One leading hardware owner said he had 62 employees but now just 14 people as he had to terminate jobs of the others. “I have been paid 3 lakhs BTT per month now I’m paying just Rs700 to Rs800 only,” he said. Another trader said he sold 30,000 packs of cement per month, but now he is selling just 20,000 for three months taken by ship. “I had 13 lorries also. Now I have sold the lorries,” he added. One leading motor bike agent said he sold 100 bikes per month, but now he is selling just 10 per month. People’s Bank Stanley Rd officials said their transaction have reduced by 50%, while Bank of Ceylon said transactions have reduced by 40%. A pensioner said he had an account in People’s Bank. “When I went take my pension, the security forces did not allow me with my bicycle. I’m unable to walk, I went back home and phoned the bank to please transfer my account to another branch. Now I’m getting my pension from Kannathiddy branch.”

Insurance company offices, parcel service offices (like DHL), private finance companies are also there. All have lost their business. Ordinary people say if they like to purchase any hardware items they have to pay additional money for labour charges to take things to the lorry from the shop. Coolies carry the things on their shoulder for 200-300 meters from the shop to lorry. Motor bike users say they cannot make use of two free service offers for the bikes they bought. Dialog customer service center is also there but they already closed the office. Major service stations and garages are there. Leading private company showrooms like Browns are also there. Now some traders are trying to shift their shops to another place.