(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa emphasized the necessity to construct residences for estate workers in close proximity to their existing line houses.
President made these remarks during a meeting with the State Ministry of Estate Housing and Community Infrastructure Facilities to review their future vision at the Presidential Secretariat Yesterday (September 29).
The construction of 4000 houses for estate people commenced in 2016 with funding from the Indian government. A total of 669 houses have been constructed in the last 5 years under this project. The officials claimed that practical issues in the supply of infrastructure facilities delayed the construction.
Essential infrastructure facilities have already been provided for the people living in estates. “Therefore the construction of their new residences in close vicinity to their line houses would allow them to experience these benefits without wasting time.” President and Premier added.
President Rajapaksa stated that it was important to uplift the lives of the estate community without having to shift their current habitats. President noted that the construction plans for these new houses should be supervised by the State Engineering Corporation to ensure higher standards and better quality.
President Rajapaksa stated that in addition to the government measures to promote the living conditions of the estate people, private estate companies should fulfill their part of responsibilities for a remarkable outcome.
The State Ministry of Estate housing and Community Infrastructure Facilities should liaise with line Ministries including Health, Education, Agriculture, Housing, and Sports and take measure to uplift the living standards of the estate community, President added.
President stressed the necessity of developing pre-schools, primary schools and medical centers in the estate sector.
There was also a lengthy discussion on the importance of providing vocational training to estate youth so that they can obtain NVQ level certificates and guide them to find employment opportunities.
President noted that 438 estate health centers should be taken over by the Government and quality service should be provided for the benefit of the estate community.
Plans mooted to promote tourism in Bandarawela, Hatton, Nuwara Eliya and Ella were also discussed.
President emphasized that all development activities should be carried out without delineating the estate and the village.
State Minister Jeevan Thondaman, Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretaries to Cabinet and State Ministries and heads of several line institutes were also present at the meeting.