President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said permission will be granted to farmers to engage in their traditional cultivation activities continuously without any disruption until related issues are resolved.
The President arrived at this decision focusing on issues raised by the farmers attending the 6th in the series of programmes “Discussion with the Village”.
The “Discussion with the Village” programme was held in Wedikachchiya village in Medirigiriya in the Polonnaruwa district on Saturday (16). Wedikachchiya in the Medirigiriya Divisional Secretariat located around 45 km away from Polonnaruwa city belongs to Zone “D” of the Mahaweli Development project.
Consisting of villages Samagipura, Darshanapura, Daham Wewa and Peramaduwa, the area covers around 79 square kilometres. The population in the village is 2561 people consisting of 723 families. Agriculture and self-employment are the main sources of livelihood of the people in Wedikachchiya and the surrounding villages.
Officials of Wildlife, Forest Conservation, Environment, Police and other institutions were instructed by the President not to disturb with traditional cultivation activities.
However, President Rajapaksa emphasised that no one is allowed to clear forests for cultivational purposes. Polonnaruwa is one of the districts severely affected by the wild elephant threat.
The President instructed the relevant parties to correctly understand the problem faced by the people for a long time and to commence construction of both trenches and electric fences as a permanent solution.
The people who gathered highlighted the disruption caused to the education of students due to the development work being stalled at many schools in the district.
Paying attention to the matter, President Rajapaksa directed the authorities to expedite the completion of all development work at schools in the island.
The President drew the attention of the officials to inquire into the difficulties faced by the villagers and find rapid solutions to their problems. One of the major problems faced by the villagers is that paddy cultivation has to be restricted only to the Maha Season due to shortage of water.
This situation forces them to leave the village during the Yala Season seeking employment labourers.
The President stated that new houses will be built replacing the existing ones in the Wedikachchiya village which lacks even basic facilities.
The political authority and officials in the district were instructed to take immediate steps to repair the canals and tanks and provide irrigation water as a solution to the long standing cultivation problems of the villagers enabling them to cultivate both the seasons. People also pointed out the damage caused by deer to crops in Medirigiriya –Watadageya area. As a remedy, it was decided to erect a steel net fence covering habitats of deer. Governor of the North Central Province Maheepala Herath agreed to provide funds for this purpose.
President Rajapaksa emphasized the need to establish vocational training facilities for students who sit the GCE (A/L) examination.
“The State Minister in charge of the subject would be made aware of this requirement and vocational training opportunities would be created,” the President said. The attention of the President was particularly paid to the drinking water shortage in the area. The President advised to complete the project to meet the water demands of 10,000 families by constructing a water purification plant connecting Kaudulla Wewa and laying the pipelines before year end.
The President instructed the officials of the Ministry of Power to provide “Solar Power Systems” free of charge to schools and low income families who are unable to pay their electricity bills. Instructions were issued to fulfill existing un-met requirements in hospitals and schools in the area and expedite the development of a number of main and byroads. In parallel to “Discussion with the Village” programme, the President participated in the opening of the Mahaweli Primary School in Bisopura, Medirigiriya.
President Rajapaksa invited former President Maithripala Sirisena, who spearheaded the construction of the school to open it.
President Rajapaksa handed over two computers donated by Sri Lanka Mobitel and a television set donated by Dialog to the Principal of the school. Former President Maithripala Sirisena, State Ministers Roshan Ranasinghe, Siripala Gamalath, Member of Parliament Amarakeerthi Athukorala, North Central Province Governor Maheepala Herath, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, political representatives of the area, Ministry Secretaries and Heads of Government entities attended the “Discussion with the Village” programme. This marks the 6th in the series of programmes attended by the President. The programme commenced on September 25, 2020 in the Badulla district.
Five programmes have so far been organised covering the Matale, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura and Ampara districts.