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Sri Lanka urges expatriates to return

COLOMBO, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government on Monday urged expatriates from all communities to return to the country as it is poised for rapid and equitable growth.

Sri Lanka's Secretary of Defense and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that during the war in Sri Lanka many of the island's best and brightest left Sri Lanka to seek greener pastures in other countries.

The Sri Lankan army defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009 following 30 years of bitter fighting in which thousands were killed and many others fled as refugees or for better opportunities in other countries.

"Whether these individuals left to escape the conflict, pursue higher education, obtain more lucrative employment or enjoy a better quality of life, their departure was a serious loss to the nation. Now that Sri Lanka has overcome the problems it faced in the past and is poised for rapid and equitable growth. The time is ripe for expatriate Sri Lankans from all communities to consider coming back home," Rajapaksa said while speaking at an event in the capital.

With the end of the war a rapid development drive is underway and the government is also shifting its administrative functions out of the capital, so that Colombo will have more space to grow as a world-class commercial hub. "Old infrastructure that had been largely neglected, such as the canal network and the drainage and sewerage systems is being improved. Plans are in place to augment and improve the efficiency of water supply distribution and electricity transmission. Management of municipal solid waste is another area that has received considerable attention in the recent past. Studies are presently being conducted on how to address this issue successfully in the long term," Rajapaksa added.

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