New Govt. changed political culture of forgetting village after winning power: President

Monday, 11 January 2021 00:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Claims no political witch hunt; only strict adherence to the law
  • Reiterates will not entertain lumpen politics 
  • Urges Opposition to engage in civilised politics without misleading the public
  • Orders officials must visit villages
  • Says every village to see sustainable development

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday said the political culture of forgetting the village after winning power has been changed.

The problems identified while in the Opposition will be addressed and sustainable development will be achieved in every village, he added.

“Punishment for offences committed is a function of the law. I am not ready to intervene in this process. The previous administration pursued a policy of political witch hunts.

 I do not condone that practice. I called on the Opposition to engage in civilised politics without misleading the public,” President Rajapaksa said during the ‘Discussion with the Village’ program in Lathugala, Uhana in the Ampara district. The event marked the fifth in the series of Discussions with the Village attended by the President.

Addressing the gathering, the President said: “The people and the Maha Sangha expect from me the role played by me as the Defence Secretary before I assumed Presidency. LTTE terrorists carried out a suicide bomb attack at the Piththala junction targeting me. People are aware of the fate of the terrorist leader who led this attack. Although I am ready to act either as ‘Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ or just Gotabaya Rajapaksa, I will not entertain lumpen politics as the Opposition does.” 

The Discussion with the Village program began on 25 September 2020 at Welanwita in the Haldummulla Divisional Secretariat Division in the Badulla district. The second of the series was held in Himbiliyakada in the Wilgamuwa Divisional Secretariat Division in the Matale district while the third was in Rawanakanda, Imbulpe, in Balangoda. The fourth program was held in Kanugahawewa, Kebethigollawa last week. 

The village of Lathugala in the Uhana Divisional Secretariat located 24km away from Ampara city was chosen for last week’s discussion. 

Villagers from several surrounding hamlets, including Uhana, Damana, Galapitagala, Gonagolla, Padiyathalawa, Dehiaththakandiya, Mahiyanganaya, Bandaraduwa, Mahakandiya and Bokkabadda, gathered there to present their grievances to the President, seeking redress.

The area of Lathugala is 9 square kilometres. Villagers say the settlement was started by 15 families who survived the Uwa Wellassa rebellion. Now the village has 231 families. Among the other major issues faced by the people of Lathugala is their expulsion from traditional farming lands due to them being marked as reserves during Wildlife and Forest Conservation surveys. 

The President informed the people that a policy decision has been taken to allow farmers to engage in traditional cultivation activities in all villages of the country without undue restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation or any other institute. Government agents and divisional secretaries were requested by the President to act accordingly and assist the public. 

“People living in villages see the problems faced by them from one angle. The way officials look at the issue is different from that. The opinion of people living in Colombo is even more contradictory.” 

The President emphasised the need for officials not to confine themselves to their offices but to go to the villages and identify genuine problems faced by the people and provide solutions.

People are compelled to go to the Uhana Dispensary, 16 km away, or to the Ampara Hospital, 24 km away, for treatment due to the lack of facilities in the vicinity. To rectify this situation, the President instructed to set up a Primary Healthcare Centre in the Bokkabedda village to serve the people of many surrounding villages.

It was decided to construct a new building and a playground at the Lathugala Primary School and to provide a solution to the prevailing teacher shortage issue. The President advised officials to address the shortage of teachers at Uhana Vidyaloka Vidyalaya, Walagampura Vidyalaya, Uhana Waranketagoda Maha Vidyalaya, Negethenna and Uhana Thissa Ampara National Schools expeditiously. 

Instructions were also issued to complete the construction of the Lathugala, Ampara road speedily. The work on the Lathugala-Bokkabedda-Athuloya road, Bakmitiyawa-Pannalgama, and Mahaoya-Krunduwinna roads was also ordered to be completed soon. 

Plans are underway to develop 1150 kilometres in the Ampara district under the program to develop 100,000 kilometres of roads. The President also instructed that the road development work be handed over to the contractors who can carry it out responsibly.

President directed the relevant parties to expedite the reconstruction of the Kotapathdamana tank as a remedy to the shortage of water, which is a major obstacle to agricultural activities. President Rajapaksa paid special attention to the drinking water problem of people. Issuing instructions to lay pipelines along the byroads in the Lathugala village, the President called for an immediate solution to the drinking water problem.

It was agreed on to supply water to Padiyathalawa from the Rambakan Oya reservoir and as well as to provide water to several villages, including Tampitiya, Poonawali and Malliyathivu. Several tanks, including Yodakandiya, Kotapathdamana, Lathugala, Hulannuge and Handapadagama, will be renovated soon. It was also advised to construct a fertiliser storage in Lathugala.

The President handed over three computers to the principals of Lathugala Vidyalaya and Vidyaloka Vidyalaya, donated by Mobitel.

State Minister Wimalaweera Dissanayake, Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath, Members of Parliament W. D. Weerasinghe, Thilak Rajapaksha and A, L. M. Athaullah, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, political representatives in the area, ministry secretaries, and heads of several government institutes were present during the Discussion with the Village program.


Harin requests more security from IGP