World’s largest Palmyra distillery to open in Tikkam, Jaffna in Dec.
The world’s largest Palmyra spirit manufacturing factory will be opened at the end of the year in Tikkam Jaffna. A local distilleries company will be investing Rs. 450 million in a joint venture with Palmyrah development board to create this historic project.
Chairman Palmyrah Development Board, Krishantha Pathiraja said that the JV in this regard has been already signed. Under the 5 year contract the progress would be renewed each 5 years. He also stressed that only the factory premises would be leased to the distillers company.
The Tikkam distillery was created in 1986 and was shut down after around three years. Later it was restarted by the LTTE terror organization but this too functioned for three years. The primary cooperative society and the Palmyrah Development Board then made an attempt to revive but that too field to materialize.
“We then called for tenders to re-start this and a local distiller was selected after proper tender procedure to re-launch this operation. One reason for the Tikkam Distillery was it was not under the proper related Ministry and in two instances it was under the Prison Reforms and then Hindu Religious Affairs!.
However now it’s under Minister of Plantations and Dr. Romesh Pathirana, deputy ministers Arundika Fernando and Lohan Ratwatte all aggressively promoting this project as it will help to usher economic prosperity to North East. The project will also provide 200 direct and over 300 indirect employment opportunities especially for Northerners. The company will invest Rs. 450 million to install modern machinery and re-start production. When completed it will be the biggest Palmyrah factory in the world. They will also purchase some local spirits that are in the factory paying around Rs. 2 million for tappers.
The new company while producing spirits will also export some of the products globally starting with Canada bringing in foreign exchange for the first time. New factory will also manufacture Ethanol as well. The Palmyrah tappers that now get around Rs. 45 per liter of Palmyrah Sap will now get 305 more for their produce and the new company hopes to purchase around 30, 000 per day.
The Palmyrah Development Board, would get an annual ‘royalty’ in the excess of Rs. 120 million annual income and this would initially be used towards settling due and EPF money of the former employees.
“Thereafter it will be added as profits of the Chairman Palmyrah Development Board. He also said the Board has also engaged in an aggressive r planting campaign and have provided over 100,000 plants to grow in new areas. “This will help to fulfill future demand of the new distillery.”