(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –No matter how many challenges the government faces, the development of the country will not be slowed down and will be further accelerated in the next few months, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said speaking at a function held at Temple Trees yesterday (02).
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe recalled that in the recent past there were many challenges such as bomb blasts, power grab, building public opinion against the government but the government was able to come forward successfully.
Participating at the occasion of awarding prizes to the winners of the Samurdhi Housing Lottery, the Prime Minister further stated that steps have been taken to accelerate the development activities.
Samurdhi Housing Lottery winners were presented with a cash prize of 180 million rupees at Temple Trees today. The event was organized by the Department of Samurdhi Development, Ministry of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment. The lottery selected one winner from each Divisional Secretariat.
Under the Samurdhi Housing Lottery Program that commenced in 2002, so far 28,934 houses have been provided to the public. With the financial support from the lottery program 331 houses per month will be constructed and the cost is borne for the monthly initiative is 66 million rupees. The project is being carried out on the instructions of Minister Daya Gamage.
Addressing the gathering the Prime Minister further said that the lottery program was commenced in 2002 when he was the Prime Minister. He pointed out that though only around 1700 housing units were built those days under the project, capacity has been expanded to 8,000 housing units.
The Prime Minister noted that the current government has been able to carry out a range of development activities in the country since its ascendance to the power including housing projects in rural areas, urban areas and resettled areas.
“The April 21 bomb blast caused much damage to the country and shattered public confidence. Another country would take four to five years to return to normal. But the decisions we took at that time were able to bring the country back to normal. Within a month after the attack, we were able to provide prosperity for the people.”
“In the meantime, we took measures to give the people land rights. We also intend to introduce legislation to grant freehold ownership of such lands to the people who have been continuously occupying the State lands for 10 years.”
The Ministry of Education has taken steps to provide tablet computers to students who study in Advanced Level. What we hope is to provide computer education to the entire student population. This program will be launched first through the National Schools and the second phase will be implemented at the Provincial Council schools with Wi-Fi facilities. In the third phase, all other schools which teach the A/L subjects will be provided with Wi-Fi facilities and tabs. This program is not limited to a few.
The Prime Minister added that he has instructed the ministers to complete the ongoing projects by September this year and a new range of development activities are in the pipeline.
“During the last 5 years we have been working towards creating a greater social investment in the country. The economic development of the country depends on these social investments. I especially appreciate the services rendered by Minister Daya Gamage in this regard. I thank all the public servants who supported this effort.”
Addressing the gathering Minister of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment Daya Gamage said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe contributed immensely towards the opening of the garment factories under President Ranasinghe Premadasa.
Minister Gamage noted that the apparel industries that was introduced by the UNP government where current Prime Minister used to be the Minister of Industries earned a lot of criticism but the initiative has been great success by now. The country’s exports, which was 10% at the time, were able to grow to 54% through the garment factories.
Bandulalal Bandarigoda, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment and Director General of the Department of Samurdhi Development, a large number of Samurdhi Housing Lottery check recipients were present at the occasion.