President Mahinda Rajapaksa emphasized the imperative need for an action plan to face the drought challenges. He said that while it is impossible to control droughts, it is essential to have ready action plans to meet situations arising due to droughts.
President said that several plans have been already implemented and the government would allocate additional funds for drought relief. He said this while addressing the SLFP Women’s Conference under the ‘Rata Rakina Nil Pawura - Surekamu Mawbima’ programme.
President Rajapaksa said that the people of the country began to get the benefits of economic independence. The government has taken many unprecedented steps to empower women, he said.
The Ministry of Finance and Plan Implementation has allocated Rs 1320 million for drought relief activities. Already drought relief payments to the tune of Rs 394.4 million given to the affected families and anther Rs 920 million allocated for further relief payments.
Programme to grant relief to drought-affected families and improve their living standards have been implemented in several districts -Anuradhapura RS 75 million), Mannar and Vauniya (Rs 50 million each) and Trincomalee (Rs 52.5 million).
The government has implemented a number of accelerated programmes to provide concessions to the people who affected by the prevailing drought. Many people face immense difficulties as their daily income has been curtailed by damages to their crops. Such families will be identified and alternative livelihood programmes will be started for them. Such family members will be included in micro development projects such as renovating small irrigation canals, tanks and rural roads.
They will be given 8 to 12 days work per month for a payment of maximum 6,000 rupees. Excess silt and mud sediment in reservoirs and tanks will be removed and distributed among the rural bricks and tile earthen manufacturers free of charge.
Drought stricken families will be provided with drinking water using bowzers. 600 agri wells in selected areas will also be renovated soon. The drought is currently prevailing in the districts of Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Moneragala, Ampara, Hambantota, Puttalam, Trincomalee, Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu.