Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka

President rekindles “Discussion with the Village”

Do not disturb traditional lifestyle – President tells officials

  • Rawanakanda to get 4 new roads and 3 new bridges
  • Special attention to issues faced by Kithul tappers and tea growers
  • Solutions to the shortage of doctors, nurses and teachers
  • Immediate remedies to land issues

Recommencing the “Discussion with the Village” programme President Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited Rawanakanda in Imbulpe, Balangoda yesterday (18).

The visit marks the third in the series of “Discussion with the Village” attended by the President. The first programme was held in September in Haldummulla in Badulla district and the second was in October in Wilgamuwa, Matale district.

The idea behind this programme is for President  to talk to the rural communities without intermediaries about their long-standing unresolved problems, solve them instantly to the extent possible and direct the rest which take time to deal with to the officials for solutions. Another objective is to meet the people living in most remote and difficult villages of the country and to accurately identify issues faced by them.

Yesterday’s discussion was held at the playground of Thorawelkanda School in Rawanakanda. Located at a corner of the Ratnapura district, bordering Nuwara Eliya district, Rawanakanda village is in the Imbulpe Divisional Secretariat Division in Balangoda.

Villagers from several surrounding hamlets including Kattadikanda, Gallenakanda and Thorawelkanda gathered there to present their grievances to the President seeking redress.

President instructed officials of the Ministry of Highways Development to develop the 6km long Walegoda road from Pudukaaduwa junction on Balangoda – Hatton road, the Rawanakanda to Gallenakanda road, the Thorawelkanda – Wathukaarakanda road, Egodaweleboda – Wathukarakanda road and several byroads leading to villages in the area.

Bridges will be constructed across Ura Oya and Imo Oya simultaneously. Construction of roads will benefit many small scale tea planters to transport their tea leaves without difficulty.

President Rajapaksa was briefed by the villagers on the issues related to processing of Kithul tapping. President instructed Police, Forest Conservation and Wildlife officers to allow Kithul industry to continue unhindered.

President ordered to halt arbitrary prosecution of villagers who enter reserve lands and wildlife sanctuaries for daily livelihoods including Kithul tapping and plucking tea leaves, as long as they do not violate environmental regulations. Pointing out that on numerous occasions it had been proven that their traditional way of life does not harm the environment President asked the officials to assist them in sustaining their livelihood.

Attention of the President was also drawn to the need for the construction of a tea processing center, a demand of the tea growers in the area. Political leadership in the area was advised by the President to intervene to facilitate to prevent delays in transportation of tea leaves.

President Rajapaksa instructed relevant Ministry officials to identify land issues faced by the people in several villages in the area for a long time and provide immediate solutions.

It was also decided to address the shortage of teachers in the schools immediately and to expedite the development of infrastructure facilities in many schools including Karagasthalawa Vidyalaya, Suman Vidyalaya, Balangoda Kanaganaayagam Tamil School, Waleboda Tamil School, Udagama Vidyalaya, Pinnawala Tamil Maha Vidyalaya, Balangoda Buddha Jayanthi Vidyalaya and Thorawelkanda Vidyalaya. President also instructed that immediate plans be drawn to meet the shortage of Tamil medium teachers for the subjects of  Science, Mathematics, Commerce and Technology in Advanced Level classes in the Sabaragamuwa Province.

It was also agreed to establish a vocational training center for the youth in the area.

He also instructed to take immediate measures to develop medical, nursing and infrastructure facilities of several rural hospitals including Pinnawala and Manathungakanda.

The Urban Development Authority was directed to formulate a mechanism to maintain Bankiyawatta garbage disposal center without causing any harm to the wellbeing of the people in the area.

It was also decided to allocate a suitable plot of land for the construction of a cemetery, a dire need of Imbulpe Divisional Secretariat and to delegate the authority of maintaining it to the local authority.

In order to mark the arrival of the President at Thorawelkanda Vidyalaya, Sri Lanka Telecom together with Mobitel donated a “Smart Classroom” comprising a computer system with internet facility to the school.

President commended the “new innovation” to measure the body temperature by Sadew Danirud, a Grade 9 student of Balangoda Ananda Maithree Vidyalaya. The machine possesses the dual capability to check the body temperature while disinfecting the instrument by itself. A special feature of the equipment is that it releases a signal if the body temperature is not checked when one passes by the machine.

Two books authored by the girl child Oshadi Chamudika Jayawickrema, a Grade 2 student of Thorawelkanda Vidyalaya were presented to the President.

Ministers Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Vasudewa Nanayakkara, State Minister Janaka Wakkumbura, Members of Parliament W. D. J. Seneviratne, Akila Ellawala, Gamini Weleboda, Muditha de Soyza, Governor of the Sabaragamuwa Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, politicians of the area and several Ministry officials participated the “Discussion with the Village” programme.