Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka

Will face Geneva challenge without fear…Will never succumb to pressures. We are a free nation………

Ø Laid the foundation to move the country forward while addressing the suffering of people

Ø Leaders of previous government now act as if they have never been in power

Ø Easter Sunday attack, MCC compact, Eastern Terminal Agreement were issues created by them ; now they protest against us

Ø If misled by falsehoods, the outcome will be irreversible

                                                                   President says at “Discussion with the Village”

“We will face the Geneva challenge without fear. We will never succumb to pressures. We are a free nation. We will not be a victim of big power rivalry in the Indian Ocean.” President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stresses.

He observes that the foundation has been laid for the country to move forward while correctly identifying and resolving the problems faced by the people for a long time now. The government is bounded to meet the basic needs of the people. It is not only the responsibility of the government but also that of the officials as well. This foundation will strengthen the economy in a manner that is most effective for the country and will prioritize addressing the issues of the rural people.

Back in the day, Colombo was developed into a green city. Strategies are now in place to utilize renewable energy sources to the tune of 70% of energy requirements by 2030. Steps have been taken to supply electricity to the main power grid from over 7000 solar power systems. The use of chemical fertilizer will be reduced by 25% every coming year. All these projects are aimed at conserving the environment as well as strengthening the economy.

“Foreign and local forces who cannot stand this progress and the mafias which support them are misleading the public. The devastation caused in the last five years can repeat if the true progress is left unnoticed and you choose to believe lies and misled yourself. If you give into those lies the damage could be irreversible.” President says.

The President made these remarks addressing the gathering at the beginning of the 16th “Discussion with the Village” program held at the Derangala Maha Vidyalaya premises in the Kiriwelkele North 3rd Step Grama Niladhari Division which falls within the limits of Pitabeddara Divisional Secretariat Division in the Matara District yesterday (27).

National security was ignored due to the wrong priorities of the previous government. The Easter Sunday attack was a result of that. War heroes were imprisoned on baseless charges. The country’s sovereignty was compromised by co-sponsoring the Geneva resolution. Attempts were made to destroy the culture and religion associated with our unique heritage by provoking issues in relation to tamed elephants.

 The country was thrown into a crisis by entering into agreements such as the MCC Compact and the Eastern Container Terminal Agreement. The President added that they are being resolved today.

President highlighted that those who created and supported all the issues are now protesting against the present government adding that several prominent figures from the former government pretend as if they were never in power. The President observed that although it was not his way to respond to baseless allegations, now he has to answer and expose lies.

The “Discussion with the Village” programme commenced on September 25, 2020 from Badulla District. Thereafter programmes were organized covering Matale, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura, Ampara, Polonnaruwa, Kalutara, Moneragala, Kegalle, Kandy, Puttalam, Trincomalee, Kurunegala, Galle and Nuwara Eliya districts. The idea behind this program is for the President to talk to the rural communities living in remote and difficult areas without intermediaries about their long-standing unresolved problems and to present them directly to the officials in order to find solutions. Problems that can be solved on the spot are instantly addressed. The rest which takes time to deal with are noted down to find solutions later. The objective of the program is to reach out to the people of the village, understand their problems and find solutions giving considerations to their own suggestions.

Kiriwelkele North 3rd step Grama Niladhari Division is located 12km away from Pitabeddara town. It is a highland colony established in 1958 and it became Kiriwalkale village following the settlement of people in the area. It is the most difficult village which falls within the limits of Pitabeddara Divisional Secretariat area. The total population of the Grama Niladhari Division is 2990 comprising 622 families. Most of the owners of small tea holdings in the Matara district live here. The main sources of income are tea, cinnamon, rubber, black pepper and coconut.

President Rajapaksa arrived at Dehigaspe Dudley Senanayake Maha Vidyalaya, Pitabeddara and from there he made it to Derangala Maha Vidyalaya to attend the “Discussion with the Village” program. President Rajapaksa conversed with the people gathered on both sides of the road as well as the people and students gathered in close proximity to Derangala Junior College and inquired into the problems that ail them.

President Rajapaksa opened the ‘Smart Classroom’ facilitated with a high-speed internet connection donated by Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) Mobitel to Derangala Maha Vidyalaya and presented the laptops with internet connections donated by SLT Mobitel and the TV set and the internet connection provided by Dialog Axiata to the Principal of the Seelarathana Junior School, Banagala.

Another objective of President Rajapaksa is to develop school library facilities in all areas where the “Discussion with the Village” programme is held. The President presented sets of books to schools under the programme “A generation empowered with knowledge”. Each school receives 500 books covering a number of subjects to assist students in their further education.

A programme to grant title deeds to the families who had been in possession of government lands without clear ownership started recently. President Rajapaksa symbolically presented title deeds for 5 families in the Pitabeddara Divisional Secretariat Division, yesterday (27).

It was decided at the “Discussion with the Village” to expedite the development of bridges including Pahuruthota, Jambugasdola, Mederipitiya and Velangavita which were destroyed by the floods.

The President instructed the officials to resolve the issues regarding the unauthorized use of land belonging to the Land Reforms Commission and conduct surveys following a joint inspection of large tracts of land under plantation companies.

It was decided to hold a “Land Day” to resolve all existing land issues in Pitabeddara and adjoining villages.

The Road Development Authority was tasked with identifying unsafe slopes on roads in the area and constructing safety fences.

President Rajapaksa instructed the relevant officials to develop about 120 km of roads including Derangala, road near the Podidahayakanda bus stand, Mahena Ella road and Nagahahena 517 road in Banagala East within the next few months.

Farmers apprised the President regarding the difficulties faced by them in selling cinnamon produce. The President instructed to formulate a proper system and monitoring mechanism to end the injustice caused in purchasing grade A cinnamon as grade B. The Ministry of Plantations was directed to distribute high-quality cinnamon seedlings to nurseries owned by Cinnamon Farmers’ Associations.

The small-scale tea plantations in the area have a history of over 35 years. It takes more than 2 years to replant and collect tea harvest. The President emphasized the need to expedite the replanting of tea by providing an annual allowance for two years to compensate the loss of income during this period as a remedy.

The President instructed the Secretary of Education to take steps to eliminate the issue of shortage of teachers and develop infrastructure facilities in schools including Thalapekumbura Junior School, Derangala Maha Vidyalaya, Siyambalagoda West Junior School and Kalubowitiyawa Maha Vidyalaya as well as to construct a flyover at Alapaladeniya Secondary School.

It was instructed to implement a drinking water project in Morawaka and to establish a number of small community water units covering 60 Grama Niladhari Divisions.

The President also directed the officials to renovate the Derangala Health Center and provide immediate solutions to a number of public problems including infrastructure development and filling vacancies in health centers in the area.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, Governor of the Southern Province Dr. Willie Gamage, Minister of State Kanchana Wijesekera, Members of Parliament Nipuna Ranawaka, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Karuna Kodithuwakku, Principal Adviser to the President Lalith Weeratunga, People’s representatives of the district, Secretaries to Ministries, Heads of Government Institutions and the Security Forces were present at the “Discussion with the Village” programme held on the  premises of Derangala Maha Vidyalaya.