Saturday, 22 February 2014 08:48
An account of Deyeta Kirula 2014 development program and exhibitionBy Dharman Wickremaratne
Another promising day has dawned. The future looks bright. The effort to revive the country through strengthening the individual and the family is bearing fruit. National resources hitherto forgotten are now drawing attention. Economic progress is on the horizon thanks to those who swam against the tide.
One cannot be blamed if one says that Deyata Kirula is an exhibition only. It was seen as an annual display of exhibits since 2007 when the events were held in Colombo and Kandy. But it is also true that Deyata Kirula exhibitions held at Buttala, Monaragala in 2011, Oyamaduwa, Anuradhapura 2012 and Ampara in 2013 made an impact on the public. The events had something more than exhibits to offer to the people. This yearâ€™s Deyata Kirula will be vastly different compared to the past exhibitions since the present one is linked to the Deyata Kirula Development program.
It will be held in two stages. The first is the Deyata Kirula 2014 National Development Program directed by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. The second is the Deyata Kirula National Exhibition which will be held under the theme â€˜A Peaceful and Prosperous Nationâ€™ at Kuliyapitiya from 21 to 27 February. It will be the eighth Deyata Kirula Exhibition where the Kuliyapitiya Campus on the Wayamba University, Kuliyapitiya Maha Vidyalaya and the Kuliyapitiya Technical College will be represented.
The exhibition covering a 62-acre area will have over 1,700 stalls. Permanent buildings of 100,000 square feet constructed at the site will become resources of the relevant institutions from next month. A total of Rs. 10,836 million has been spent on these educational centres. Minister Basil Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the ceremonial opening of the modern auditorium and library worth Rs. 140 million at Kuliyapitiya MMV on 10 February.
Deyata Kirula today is an unbelievable transformation â€“ a massive struggle waged to eliminate poverty and provide everybody with equal economic opportunities. Deyata Kirula National Development program is the brainchild of President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched under the efficient leadership of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa who ensured its great success.
The program focusing on the Kurunegala, Puttalam and Kegalle Districts commenced in March 2013. A sum of over Rs.60,000 million was invested in the development projects launched in these districts where 4,144 agricultural, irrigation, highways, educational, health, drinking water, and power supply projects among others were activated in 57 Secretarial Divisions. They are now fully public-owned parallel to Deyata Kirula 2014.
A special feature of Deyata Kirula National Development Program is the conducting of mobile services at Grama Seva level in the Kurunegala, Puttalam and Kegalle Districts. In this connection 34 meetings were held at electorate level from 6 to 8 June 2013 to identify community problems and empower people.
Minister Basil Rajapaksa who is also the Chairman of the Deyata Kirula National Development Program directed these events at which peopleâ€™s representatives of the three districts, Government officials and village leaders were briefed. A large number of them representing 2,731 Grama Seva areas of 57 Secretarial Divisions participated in these briefings.
Among the others who attended were Senior Ministers, Ministers, Chief Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MPs, Provincial Councillors and Pradeshiya Sabha members, Provincial, District Secretaries representing the three districts, Ministry Secretaries, Department Heads and other Senior Government Officials.
Following the briefings, mobile services commenced in the three districts on 1 July 2013 to identify peopleâ€™s problems and find quick solutions to them. It was launched under the theme â€˜From Village to Village and From House to Houseâ€™ in the Kurunegala, Puttalam and Kegalle Districts where 2,731 Deyata Kirula Mobile Services were activated in 2,731 Grama Seva areas in 57 DS Divisions from July to December last year. The number of peopleâ€™s problems attended to 1,049,887 and common problems 6,936. Deyata Kirula was successful in solving 70% of them. Government officials made a very valuable contribution in this matter.
It was a fine example of participatory development. For example in Kegalle District alone 183,203 people participated in 573 mobile services and 9,714 Government Officials contributed to success of the events. The number of equipment given free was 2,545. The number families living in 1,667 villages in the Kegalle District are 218,508 out of which 73,273 are Samurdhi beneficiaries.
The districtâ€™s mobile service units issued 4,860 birth, marriage and death certificates, 9,115 National Identity Cards and provided 300 crutches, wheel chairs and walking aids. The services also helped to solve 73% of agricultural problems and gave assistance to 1,758 beneficiaries under Divi Neguma and 2,803 people under Tea Small holdings Development. Deyata Kirula mobile services have solved 48% of problems relating to agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries and cottage industries.
Solutions have also been given to problems involving land deeds, proper usage of land and assistance provided for housing, water and power supply and infrastructure development.
Problems that remained unsolved in the three districts were attended to at electorate level under Phase Two of the Mobile Services from 10 to 28 January. If any other problems need attention they will be provided with solutions under the Third and final Phase at the Deyata Kirula Exhibition.
Solving these problems in double quick time was relief also to Government officials who spent most of their time in office rooms. It helped to build a greater rapport with the public. The number of times people have to meet them in offices has been drastically reduced and thereby leaving time for officials to focus on development issues. This is the reason for the decision taken to conduct mobile services at district level island-wide this year.
Maternity clinics, weekly fairs, bus stands, crematoriums, small irrigation schemes, rural roads, new constructions, renovations, repairs and extensions, drinking water and power supply have been attended to under Deyata Kirula common amenities programme. In addition wheel chairs and walking aids have been provided in response to individual appeals. Other assistance given includes organising dental clinics, Western and Ayurvedic treatment for health problems and training for agricultural and fisheries sectors, animal husbandry and cottage industries.
In conclusion, as Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa says, we need to face challenges through the strength and unity of the people.
(The writer is an environmental journalist who could be reached at email@example.com.)