(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has stated that all farmers will be given full approval to continue traditional cultivations without any hindrance until the problems they experience are resolved.
The President took this decision focusing on the issues raised by the farmers who attended the 6th ‘Gama Samaga Pilisandara’ program Saturday in Medirigiriya village in Polonnaruwa district.
The President directed the officials of all institutions including wildlife, forest conservation, environment and the police not to hinder the traditional cultivation activities.
However, the President emphasized that no one was allowed to clear the forest and cultivate it.
Polonnaruwa is one of the districts in the country threatened most by the wild elephants. The President instructed the officials to understand the problem people have been facing for a long time and implement both the construction of trenches and erection of electric fences as a permanent solution.
The people pointed out the damage caused to the education of the students due to the stalled development work of many schools in the district.
President Rajapaksa instructed the authorities to expedite the completion of all stalled development work in all schools in the country.
The President took these decisions while participating in the “Chat with the Village” program held at Wedikachchiya Village, Medirigiriya, Polonnaruwa yesterday (16).
This is the sixth in a series of “Conversations with the Village” program launched by President Rajapaksa.
The program was launched on September 25, 2020 in the Badulla District. Five programs were organized covering Matale, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura, and Ampara districts.
The President met the people in the remote villages outside the city who had not been given due attention so far and immediately inquired about their problems and drew the attention of the officials to provide solutions.
Problems that could be resolved quickly were resolved, and issues that would take time to resolve were noted to be addressed later.
Wedikachchiya village which belongs to the Medirigiriya Divisional Secretariat area about 45 km away from Polonnaruwa town belongs to the “D” zone of the Mahaweli Development Scheme.
Consisting of the villages of Samagipura, Darshanapura, Dahamwewa and Peramaduwa, Wedikachchiya village covers 79 square kilometers and home to a population of 2561 from 723 families. Agriculture and self-employment are the main livelihoods of the people in many surrounding villages, including Wedikachchiya.
One of the major problems faced by the villagers is that paddy cultivation has to be restricted to the Maha season only due to lack of water. Therefore, they have to leave the village during the Yala season and engage in any hired labor.
The President stated that new houses will be built to replace the existing ones in Wedikachchiya village which does not even have the basic facilities.
The district’s political authority and officials were instructed to take immediate steps to repair canals and tanks and provide irrigation water to both seasons as a solution to the long standing cultivation problem of the villagers.
People also pointed out the damage caused by deer to crops in the Medirigiriya – Vatadage area. As a solution, it was decided to build a net fence around the deer habitat forest area. North Central Province Governor Mahipala Herath agreed to provide funds for the project.
The President emphasized the need to create vocational training opportunities for students who complete the GCE (A / L) examination. President Rajapaksa said the State Minister in charge of the subject would be made aware of this and vocational training opportunities would be created.
The President paid special attention to the drinking water needs of the area. He instructed the officials to complete the construction of a water treatment plant near Kaudulla Wewa and provide water to 10,000 families by the end of 2021.
The President instructed electricity officials to provide “solar power systems” free of charge to schools and low-income families who are unable to pay their electricity bills.
It was directed to rectify the shortages in schools and hospitals in the area and to expedite the development of a number of main and by-roads.
President Rajapaksa also inaugurated the Bisopura Mahaweli Primary School in Medirigiriya in parallel to the ‘Conversation with the Village’ program. The President invited former President Maithripala Sirisena, who spearheaded the construction of the college, to open it.
The President handed over two computers donated by SLT, Mobitel and a television set donated by Dialog to the Principal.
Former President Maithripala Sirisena, State Ministers Roshan Ranasinghe, Siripala Gamlath, Member of Parliament Amarakeerthi Athukorala, Governor of the North Central Province Mahipala Herath, Chief Adviser to the President Lalith Weeratunga, People’s Representatives, and Secretaries to Ministries joined the program.