||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (August 2011)|
|DS Division||Vadamarachchi North|
|• Type||Urban Council|
|• Chairman||Sabanayagam Raveenthiran (TNA)|
|• Total||11.65 km2 (4.50 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,044/km2 (2,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Sri Lanka Standard Time Zone (UTC+5:30)|
Point Pedro (Tamil: பருத்தித்துறை Paruthithurai, Sinhala: පේදුරු තුඩුව Peduru Thuduwa) is a town, located in Jaffna District, Northern Province, Sri Lanka, governed by an Urban Council. The agriculturally active area around Point Pedro with fertile calcic red latosols is known for its cotton production. The eastern coast of Point Pedro is a 3-mile-broad beach with huge sand dunes (regosols) up to 100 feet height, extending up to Thalayady for a length of 20 miles. The porous regosols region with a deep ground water table has a billion litres of fresh water supply which can supply the part of Jaffna. The Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 has raised the salt content of the ground water. The sea wiped parts of the town and sea water stayed there for up to 4 feet height.
The name of the town in Tamil is 'Paruthithurai', and has been in use from time immemorial. This translates to 'Cotton Harbour'. The origins of this name can be found in the ancient practice of exporting especially cotton to various South Indian cities.
The Western name, Point Pedro, was given by Dutch during the colonial era. A Dutch sailor, Pedro, when travelling along the coast of the country found this city to be the Northernmost point and this gave rise to the name, Point Pedro.
During pre-colonial and even in colonial times, Point Pedro was a bustling hub of export/import activities. The people, whose descendants involved in the import/export business, continue to form the majority of the population of Point Pedro. They are called Sambangarar, 'சம்பாங்காரர்' in Tamil. 'Samban' means ship and the people who used them for their import/export activities are called 'Sambangarar'. The descendants of this community are still living in large numbers in and around Point Pedro town.
There are several Catholic churches built around Point Pedro along the coasts and in Nelliady. Sacred Heart College is a major Catholic high school situated in Nelliady. The name Pedro came from Portuguese.
Major Dutch developments came with Father Phillipus Baldeus. His records and his book on Jaffna were published in Netherlands in Dutch and later in Germany in German. There is a stone inscription written about the Baldeus and his Bible teaching under the Tamarind tree (which was uprooted by the 1962 cyclone in the Point Pedro Market).
It has a small harbor which is currently controlled by the Sri Lankan army so that the public is allowed with several regulations to do their day-to-day activities there. Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project will increase the productivity of the Point Pedro Harbour positively. Enlargement of the harbour will bring benefits to Sri Lanka. The strategic advantages derive from obtaining a navigable sea route close to the coast, with a reduction in travel distance of more than 650 km (350 nmi), for larger ships. The project is expected to provide a boost to the economic and industrial development of coastal Tamil Nadu. The project will be of particular significance to Jaffna, Kankesanthurai, Mannar, Point Pedro and Tuticorin harbour. Tuticurin has the potential to transform itself into a nodal port. The Tamil Nadu Government has announced its proposal to develop 13 minor ports, including Ennore, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thondi, Valinokam, Kolachel and Kanyakumari.
The town is famous for Hartley College (boys), Velautham Maha Vidyalayam (boys), Vadamarachchi Hindu Girls' College and Methodist Girls High School. The school was started by Wesleyan missionaries over 170 years ago, and has survived several cyclones and arson by anti-social elements and the military. The school has financial backing from overseas and several of its past students are now professors, doctors, engineers and scientists all over the world. In recent years both of the schools have been under restrictions placed by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA). Regular clashes occur between Sri Lankan armed forces and college protestors, mainly over the high security zone.
Future Plan for Point Pedro
As the War Relief Fund from International donors reaches Sri Lanka there are some plans to rebuild the broken infrastructure of Jaffna. Point Pedro might benefit from it by having a university campus build in its Vallipuram Temple area with the ancient holy sites.
- Phillipus Baldeus - A Dutch Missionary and Author
- Hartley College Website
- Point Pedro Institute of Development
- The Civil Wars of Sri Lanka during 13th to 15th Century
- Wars waged for the Possession of the Tooth Relic
- A Brief History of Jaffna Kingdom
- The Vallipuram Buddha Image
- Puttalai Maha Vidyalayam Old Students' Association (UK)