President addresses people’s grievances at grassroots level

Saturday, 29 February 2020 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa


  • First meeting in Galle
  • On-the-spot solutions to some issues

The first of the series of District Coordinating Committee Meetings was held in Rajagiri Len Viharaya, Homadola, Udugama in the Galle District on Thursday under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

A large number of issues, including urban and rural economic development, disaster management, and the tourism industry were discussed during the meeting, held at one of the poorest villages in the Galle District. Special attention was drawn to political, social, and economic problems faced by the people in the area.

President Rajapaksa, on his way to the venue of the meeting, spoke to the people gathered on both sides of the road to know what problems they were facing. They complained about the negative environmental impact of palm cultivation, which had resulted in the scarcity of water in villages. Considering the concerns of the people, President Rajapaksa instructed the officials to discontinue the cultivation of oil palm, suggesting that people should be encouraged to consume more and more coconut oil as this will eventually help development of the coconut cultivation as well.

Although many rubber products manufacturing plants have been started, the supply of materials is not sufficient. President Rajapaksa directed officials to take steps to promote rubber as a cash crop cultivation. Attention was also drawn to limit the import of rubber.

The political representatives in the area highlighted the shortage of English teachers in schools in the area. The President advised to fill all the existing vacancies immediately, and to regularise the recruitment of more teachers for Science and Mathematics subjects.

The shortage of drinking water in several areas, including Neluwa, Nagoda, and Udugama was also discussed at length. President Rajapaksa instructed to complete community and other water projects, which are currently underway, by providing necessary funds.

The issue of solid waste management was also one of the major topics of the discussion. The President instructed the Local Government Authorities to assist in the cleansing projects while appraising the public at the local level.

During the meeting, attention was also paid to improving the healthcare facilities in rural medical centres. The President instructed the health authorities to provide adequate facilities to the people, including the appointment of the required number of doctors and nursing staff to those centres.  He pointed out that this would greatly reduce the overcrowding in hospitals located in Colombo and other major cities.

Attention was also paid to the construction of rural roads and bridges, flood control systems in the Galle District, and to provide speedy solutions for the issues arising in the process of urban development.

Galle District occupies a special place in the tourism industry of the country. President Rajapaksa instructed the officials to apprise the relevant authorities regarding the importance of protecting the tourists visiting beaches in Hikkaduwa. It was also decided to establish a Tourist Police station in Unawatuna. Steps must be taken to identify the problems related to the fisheries harbours in the district, with the aim of uplifting the fishing industry under the purview of relevant ministries. The President advised the officials of the respective ministries to take immediate action to solve the identified problems of the people.

Some of the issues raised at today’s District Development Committee meeting were immediately solved. These included providing a water bowser to the Udugama Hospital, appointing Principals to schools where there are no Principals, and providing funds for small scale water supply projects.

Cabinet and State Ministers, Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senerath, and other Ministry Secretaries and officials were present at the District Coordinating Committee meeting, headed by Galle District Leader Minister Ramesh Pathirana.

According to a concept of the President, a tree planting program was also initiated, with the objective of minimising environmental pollution in parallel to the District Committee Meetings. The President planted a tree in the temple premises to mark the inauguration of the 300-tree planting program in the Galle District.