Whatever the obstacles, we shall not delay opportunities for economic development’, President Mahinda Rajapaksa asserted yesterday.
The President noted the above at a ceremony held in Moneragala where land deeds were handed over to more than 10,000 landless families in the Uva Wellassa area, thereby granting legal ownership of the lands they were residing in.
Speaking to a large gathering at the public grounds in Moneragala following the distribution of deeds, President Rajapaksa noted “when it comes to the development of villages and the country as a whole, we will always take a step forward.We never delay initiatives”.
The President said Sri Lanka and its people had been able to overcome many obstacles and difficulties due to the prudent and farsighted decisions taken by the government.
He said that the government’s main task in 2005 was to save the country from the clutches of terrorism “We achieved this in a short span.
But at the same time we never neglected the day today needs of the people or the long and short term needs of the country” he added.
The President pointed out that despite a raging conflict the government took steps to meet the needs of the people and laid the foundation for future development in all areas. “Similar to the success of our conviction that terrorism could be defeated, we have also shown our ability to build large power stations at Norochcholai, Upper Kothmale and Kerawalapitiya, build massive ports, develop major irrigation schemes” he added.
‘Due farsighted decisions Sri Lanka was able to protect its financial systems despite a global downturn, had enough food despite a world food scarcity and was able to give subsidies to farmers and people’, he pointed out.
He also noted that despite difficulties the government had never pruned the number of public servants but had increased the numbers. “The number of public sector employees who were to be reduced to 600,000 by a previous regime was increased to 1.3 million plus today” he added. President Rajapaksa also observed that education and healthcare services had been improved, the public service strengthened and
economic environment necessary to expand private sector activity had been established..
He also pointed out that massive development of roads had been carried out throughout the country. Electricity facilities have been expanded in all areas. Steps were taken to develop dry zone areas through irrigation projects, such as, Moragahakanda, Uma Oya, Deduru Oya, Weheragala and Rambukan Oya, and the restoration of a large number of ancient irrigation tanks and systems.
He noted that the government has also laid emphasis on developing education and that Computer literacy and English language
skills were brought to a high level within a short span.
He pointed out that an initiative had been recently launched to make Sri Lanka a trilingual nation. “I highlighted the importance of teaching languages as way back as 1971. Then I told in Parliament that every Sinhala child should be taught Tamil and every Tamil child Sinhala.
“I also said that we should teach English to alL” the President noted adding that this was the way forward.
The President while emphasizing that the country looks forward to a productive economy that will add value to the produce of the country’s own soil added that to realize this it was important to bestow on the people their rightful inheritance for land. The President said that the distribution of lands to the landless would continue and the government would uphold its responsibility in this regards.
Uva Chief Minister Sashindra Rajapaksa, Ministers Jagath Pushpakumara, Sumedha Jayasena and Vijith Vijayamuni Soysa also spoke. Uva Governor Nanda Mathew, ministers and politicians of the area, land deed recipients and their family members were present.