Villagers don’t harm environment

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has emphasized that “the life in the village, like the village itself, should be beautiful”.

He further said that the people living in these villages never destroy the rural environment and that it is the villager who has protected the environment so far. The President also said that he does not see the cultivation activities that have been carried out for generations since the time of our ancestors as harming the environment.

The President made these remarks participating in the “Discussion with the Village” programme held yesterday (13) at the Meemure Junior School premises in the Ududumbara Divisional Secretariat Division, Kandy District. This marks the 10th in the series of “Discussion with the Village” programme attended by the President.

President Rajapaksa upon his arrival in the Kaikawala Junior School, on his way to attend the public gathering, engaged in a very cordial discussion with the students and teachers of the school as well as with their parents and inquired about the existing shortcomings of the school.

President Rajapaksa also opened the ‘Smart Classroom’ equipped with computers donated by Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) Mobitel to Kaikawala Primary School. The computers donated by the SLT Mobitel for Meemure Junior school, and televisions and internet connections donated by Dialog Axiata were also handed over to the principal of the school by the President.

The President also participated in the inaugural tour of the newly added bus by the Sri Lanka Transport Board to ply on the Ududumbara road in Meemure.

The “Discussion with the Village” programme commenced on September 25, 2020 from Badulla district. There after programmes were organized covering Matale, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura, Ampara, Polonnaruwa, Kalutara, Moneragala  and Kegalle districts. The idea behind this programme is for President to talk to the rural communities living in remote and difficult areas without intermediaries about their long-standing unresolved problems and to present them directly to the officials in order to find solutions. Problems that can be solved on the spot are instantly addressed. The rest which take time to deal with are noted down to find solutions later. The objective of the programme is to reach out to the people of the villages, understand their problems and find solutions through their own suggestions.

The village of Meemure is located at one end of the Kandy District, 40 km away from Hunnasgiriya on the Kandy-Mahiyangana road and 35 km from boarders of the Badulla and Matale districts.

According to legends, the village of Meemure was a dwelling of the King Ravana. Some believe that the village called Maha Pabbatha mentioned during the reign of King Maha Ravana is presently named as Meemure. The legends state that king Ravana has landed his “Dandumonaraya” (believed to be the aircraft of King Ravana) on Lakegala Mountain after kidnapping Princess Sita.

The village of Meemure is also considered to be the heart of the Knuckles Natural Reserve, a World Heritage Site. Karambaketiya, Kumbukkolla, Pusseela, Kaikawala and Meemure Grama Niladhari Divisions belong to the Ududumbara Divisional Secretariat.

These villages have 378 families with a total population of 1127. Paddy farming is the main livelihood of the villagers. Others engage in the cultivation of minor export crops such as pepper and kithul related industries.

The people explained to the President that their main problems are the underdeveloped status of the road network and the lack of undisputed ownership to the lands for cultivation purposes.

Responding to the complaints regarding poor road infrastructure facilities, the President instructed the Secretary to the Ministry to repair the two bridges on the Meemure-Hunnasgiriya route and complete the development of the road as soon as possible.

It was also decided to expedite the reconstruction of the by-roads in the village including the road from Mediwaka to Pallewela, from Dombagahapitiya to the 35th-mile post and from Karambaketiya to Huluketadelagaha.

The President instructed the officials to take steps to assign a doctor to the Central Dispensary in Kaikawala, to provide an ambulance, to fill the existing medical staff vacancies at the Ududumbara Hospital and to develop other infrastructure facilities.

President Rajapaksa in an evaluation of the potential of the Meemure area as a tourist destination stressed the need to improve facilities for adventurous water sports and other accommodations and facilities to promote tourism industry there. The President drew the attention of the officials to take necessary measures to identify the places and activities of tourist attraction including hiking and educating and training the local people to enter tourism and providing ATM facilities by a State Bank to the village of Meemure.

Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage pointed out that Meemure could attract more tourists by encouraging farmers to use organic fertilizers in the cultivation of vegetables and fruits.

When Enasal cultivation was taken up for discussion, the Minister of Agriculture was tasked to appoint a committee to investigate the matter and to take formal actions. In addition, it was also discussed to examine the reasons for poor yield in the pepper cultivation as well.

The President directed that immediate steps be taken to rehabilitate and re-activate the electric fence preventing elephant intrusion and to provide solutions to the land issues in the area promptly.

It was advised to rectify the persisting shortage of teachers in the schools in Meemure,Kumbukgolla and Kaikawala and to develop infrastructure facilities including IT rooms and libraries. It was also decided to provide other miscellaneous facilities in the preschools and Dhamma schools in the area. The President also paid special attention to building a common Teacher’s Dormitory for all three schools as well.

Restoration of canal culverts and the supply of clean drinking water have been identified as two other basic requirements in these areas. It was also decided to expedite the development of communication and internet facilities in the area as well.

The President instructed the Secretary to the Ministry to examine the issues pertaining to drinking water needs in Pusseela, Kaikawala, Hasalaka and Weragama in the Ududumbara area and provide formal solutions promptly.

The President also noted that the clean drinking water requirements of all the schools in the country should be met expeditiously.

The President instructed the restoration of the Huluketadelagaha, Madakumbura, Naela, Kodayangale and Pagirimana anicuts and six other tanks in the area.

Ministers Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Keheliya Rambukwella, Governor of the Central Province Lalith U. Gamage, State Ministers Dilum Amunugama, Lohan Ratwatte, Anuradha Jayaratne, MPs Wasantha Yapa Bandara, Gunathilaka Rajapaksa, Udaya Chaminda Kirindigoda, Principal Advisor to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, Former Chief Minister of the Province Sarath Ekanayake, People’s Representatives of the district, Secretaries to the Ministries, Heads of several State Institutes and Security officials and a large number of people were present at the 10th “Discussion with the Village” session held in Meemure Primary School premises.