Government gears up development

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 00:26 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cheranka Mendis

The Government under its ‘Gama Naguma’ project has completed 96,248 projects between 2006 and 2010 at an investment of Rs. 35, 941 million, the Economic Development Ministry said yesterday, while a considerable number of projects have been executed under the ‘Divi Naguma’ project scheme.

Additional Secretary of the Economic Development Ministry A.A.K. Ranawaka stated that the Ministry hoped to promote development within the country under four avenues – home, village, province and international, under which the ‘Gama Naguma’ and ‘Divi Naguma’ schemes are activated.

Within the 2006-2010 period, the Government has constructed 9,017 km of provincial roads at the value of Rs. 26,546 million while carrying out 5,174 electricity projects at a value of Rs. 2,498 million and 2,710 water scheme projects valued at Rs. 1,147 million.

For livestock development, the State has invested Rs. 1,297 million in 14,336 projects, while Rs. 1,801 million has been put in for 4,723 small irrigation projects and Rs. 2,657 million in 8,629 projects on spiritual and community development.

“With all this under the belt, the focus for 2011 is to concrete more road networks linked to villages, build schools and provide electricity and water to the areas that have still not received our fullest attention,” Ranawaka said.

He stated that with more and more rural children requesting cleaner bathrooms for their schools on their trips to the President’s House, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has started a new and special project to build the needed infrastructure with the support of the Provincial Councils.

Under the ‘Divi Naguma’ project, the main areas of development have been identified as agro, fisheries and industry. Listing out the targets set out for 2011, Ranawaka claimed that the Government hoped to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables by 25%, provide 20,000 safety nets for plant nurseries and plant 2,000,000 coconut plants by the end of the year, of which 218,000 have already been planted on 3,000 acres.

“We also hope to produce 1,000,000 red mud plates (rathu mati badun) by the end of the year. We have already produced 100,000 and hope to increase it to 300,000 by the end of the month. By September we should be able to complete the target,” he said.

Plans are also in the pipeline to produce and distribute 10,000 metric tonnes of compost and give 200,000 chicks – 10 each – to families raising poultry. A total of 12,000 have already been distributed. Raising 5,000 milk cows and 5,000 milk goats, increasing fresh water fish production by 22% and establishing four fishery promotion institutes in 14 sectors on an investment of Rs. 130 million will also be conducted by the end of the year. Ranawaka also said that the Ministry hoped to see 30,000 home-based industries established within the year.  “We also hope to seriously look into provincial infrastructure development by carpeting 3,700 km of roads. Already we have invested Rs. 21 million for the Pettah trade complex, another Rs. 20 million for Nugegoda Trade Complex and yet another Rs. 81 million for a vegetable and trade complex in Nugegoda.”

The State has also allocated Rs. 85.50 million for tourism village establishment project in areas such as Kundasale, etc. “We hope to go to areas that are not very popular as tourism locations and uplift these villages to attract more tourists to these areas as well,” Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa said. “This would ensure the promotion of local crafts and handiwork as well as livelihood development in these rural villages.”

He stated that two projects worth Rs. 300 million and Rs. 1,700 million would be constructed in Kalpitiya, while 3,000 rooms would be built in Kuchchaveli in 50 luxury villas.

Pic by Daminda Harsha Perera