Hon. Chairman, what the citizens of the electorate that I represent most ask for is water and electricity. I consider it an important privilege of being able to speak on the expenditure balance of a Ministry that can cater to both of these needs.
First of all I would like to remind you that the population of the Southern Province is increasing rapidly. By the year 2001 the population was estimated at 7.5 million. This means that unemployment is also on the rise in that province. About 30% of the workforce is currently unemployed. 3/4 of that is youth. Lack of lands has also been a huge problem for them. Although there is land which could be cultivated, the lack of irrigation water has made it impossible. There are about 1 million acres of land between the Nilwala River and Gal Oya valleys. Cultivating on these lands will only be possible if we provide them with proper water. Also the agriculture in the area…
From where are you going to get the water?
There are no agricultural or natural resource based industries in the area, this has led to the unemployment to be at staggering levels.
Projects like the KiramaOya Project, OorubokuOya Project, UdaWalawa Project and the KirindiOya Project in the Hambantota District do not have adequate water supply. As you will know, the People’s Alliance Government has a special emphasis towards the southern region. Although it has been 48 years since independence, no government has worked towards achieving a permanent solution to this problem yet. So I would like to request the government as well as the Hon. Minister of Irrigation, Power and Energy to create history by providing a permanent solution to this water problem as well as creating ways to bring in the excess waters from the rivers in the wet zone to the dry zone.
If we implement the Kaluganga Project we should be able to bring water to those areas. That’s why I asked you the previous question.
Next, I would like to express a few thoughts on the KiridiOya Project in our area. The previous government built the Lunugamvehera Dam and have settled around 4,500 families there. They hoped to provide water to 12,800 acres through it. But it could not be done. Because of this our government had to provide draught relief to 4,500 families. We were able to provide each of them Rs. 1,200 each. We cannot do this every day. So we should focus greatly on a way to provide water to KirinidiOya through another waterway. There is a proposal to divert the Menik Ganga. I do not think this will work. I would like to request you to divert the Uma Oya to achieve a fast solution to this problem.
I have a few more things to say about the KirindiOya project. I have to make the request not to build new tanks on the main KirindiOya water way. This will only increase the water problem. If we can build the Galamuna Dam by crossing the MavuAra which is an offspring of the Walawe River and provide water to the MalalaAra we can provide water to about 20,000 acres of land. Even at present there are many communities that are being enriched by the water provided by the MalalaAra. People in those areas are suffering due to the lack of water. No sooner we came in to power, we advised the Hon. Minister to create a report on this issue. This report has now been completed. I would like to request the Hon. Minister to start on this project next year.
Hon. Chairman, the major project that affects the people of my area is the UdaWalawe Project. What is more important to the Sooriyawewa area and the Tissamaharama electorate is the UdaWalawe left bank project. This is a project which was neglected during the previous government. After our government came in to power, we have focused on these areas and taken steps to develop the UdaWalawe left bank. In accordance with this, the main water way which has been stopped at Sooriyawewa has been planned to be lengthened by a further 25 km and a further 313 km of divided waterways are to be created along with 47 tanks. I have received information that we are going to start on this project next year since we have planned to newly settle 6,380 families and benefit 10,000 families, with the assistance of JICA and the Economic Cooperation Association. If we expedite this process, we can solve these issues.
The Sooriyawewa city in the Sooriyawewa area is an area with a large population. This area lacks many things. It belongs to the MahaweliDevelopment Authority and has many commercial lands. The residents of these lands have not been given the land ownership yet. I would like to divert the attention of the Hon. Minister to the fact that if these lands could be sold to these people at a fair valued price, we could use the monies to develop other aspects of the Sooriyawewa city. Lastly, I would like to mention an important fact which requires the Hon. Minster’s attention. When the Hon. Minister visited the ceremony to open the new bridge on the new highway you promised to fulfil the electricity needs of the area. The estimates have been submitted for this. Especially in non-developed areas such as Lunugamwehera, Meegahajadura, Massala, Gannoruwa I would like to request that we start ion the ‘GamiSaraniya’ programme and fulfil the people’s needs such as roads, tanks and electricity by next year. I would like to complete my speech by requesting the expediting of the proposed wind power electricity generation project in Hambantota and would also like to thank the Hon. Minister, the 2 Deputy Ministers as well as all the officers at the Ministry Departments for all the support rendered to us.« PrevNext »