Planned economic zones will bring development to village

Ranil Wickremasinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, yesterday said his government would establish 45 economic development zones throughout the country and such a zone too would be established in Raigama, covering a part of Homagama, Eheliyagoda, Bandaragama, Horana and Avissawella electorates.

“One such zone would extend to one or two Divisional Secretariat areas and the government would uplift infrastructure facilities such as water and electricity to such zone,” he said.

The Economic Development zones comprise more than 200 factories, while such measure would help create more income avenues to the youth, he said.

The Prime Minister said that the UNP led government had a history of initiating mega scale development projects such as Sithavakapura, Biyagama and Katunayake economic zones, creating more employment opportunities to the youth.

The Prime Minister was addressing a massive rally in support of Bulathsinhala Chief UNP Organiser Palitha Thewarapperuma at the Bulathsinhala Pradeshiya Sabha grounds, yesterday.

“Many leading companies throughout the world have already given an undertaking to the government that they would start business ventures in Sri Lanka, if the United Front Government was ruling the country, he said.

He said the Volkswagen company had already agreed to make a massive investment in Kuliyapitiya. “Former President Rajapaksa failed in implementing such a viable mechanism to solve the economic woes of the country for the past 10 years,” he said.

He said a new zone would also be established for the development of the tea industry, covering Bulathsinhala and Matugama electorates.

The Prime Minister said that the Cabinet have already approved the payment of subsidies to tea small holders until September.

“Our tea would receive better prices if trade sanctions on Iran is lifted by the United States,” he said. The Prime Minister said that he had already ordered to make payments to the rubber cultivators through dealers.

“This industry should be developed with the introduction of a value added service,” he added.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe added that 2,500 cluster villages would also be set up to bring development to the villages.

The roads and tanks in such villages would also be developed. The SME sector of such villages would receive a boost from the government, he said.

He said the new government would focus on eradicating corruption too. The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption have more than 80 vacancies when we came into power, he said. He said the officials of the Bribery and Corruption Commission, the Sri Lanka Police and the Attorney General’s Department were being trained by India, England and the United States.

“More corruptions and frauds would come to light in due course. If they are innocent, why were they shouting,” he questioned.

The Prime Minister added that his party would put forward their plans next week for the development of the country, while ensuring a better future for the younger generation.

“This mega development drive would help generate more employment avenues and promote infrastructure facilities in the country,” he added.

He said his party’s development plans include, the generation of 1 million employment opportunities for youth of the country within the next five years.

Premier Wickremesinghe said that mega scale factories and hotels would be brought to the country, creating more employment to the youth. He also said that the youth would be ensured a proper vocational training in the field of Technology and Information technology. “We will develop the fisheries and agriculture sectors too, which would help promote more employment avenues,” he said.

Wickremesinghe said the upcoming General election would be held in compliance with election rules and regulations after a lapse of over 10 years. The situation in the country was very peaceful after nominations for the election closed on Monday, unlike the past elections, he said.

He said no processions or rallies took place in any part of the country unlike in the past.

He said that processions and rallies were conducted in almost all parts of the country during nomination day in contravention of election rules and regulations, during the Rajapaksa regime.

“I did not allow any procession or display of cut outs. I did not allow to put up posters with my photograph, as they were against the election law.

He said the previous government distributed drugs, ethanol and heroine to solicite votes from the people. This system changed with the election of President Maithripala Sirisena.

He said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not have a viable programme to ensure the future of the youth. He thought of earning money for the regime. They knew the art of plundering public money.

Allocations for health and education was slashed, while the prices of essential commodities were skyrocketing during the time of his rule.

Panadura UNP Chief Organiser Nandana Gunathilaka, Ratmalana UNP Chief Organizer Upul Shantha Sannasgala, Bulathsinhala UNP Chief Organizer Palitha Thewarapperuma and former UNP Minister Imthiaz Bakeer Markar also spoke.

(Daily News)