President orders assistance to farmers
President Mahinda Rajapkasa yesterday instructed government officials
to provide immediate relief and assistance to farmers affected by the
drought. The President gave the above instructions during an urgent
meeting convened yesterday to look into the difficulties faced by
farmers of the North Central Province due to drought. It was attended by
politicians, farmers, and government officials of the Anuradhapura and
Polonnaruwa districts and ministry Secretaries.
President Rajapaksa on the occasion instructed officials to prepare a
plan to provide immediate compensation to farmers whose cultivation has
been affected by the drought.
He also appointed a special committee comprising officials from the
Treasury, Irrigation Department, Agrarian Services and Wildlife
Department, Agricultural Ministry and Disaster Management Ministry to
look into the above.
After listening to the farmersí grievances the President assured
them, that the government will never let them down in their hour of need
and the drought affected will be provided maximum assistance.
The President after being informed that the water levels in most
tanks have gone down and also the capacity of some tanks has been
reduced due to the gathering of sediment, instructed officials to take
steps to dredge tanks to remove silt and sediment to enhance their water
The farmers also pointed out that some main tanks which provide water
for cultivation have not been renovated for a long period and the
President instructed officials to look into it.
During discussions attention was drawn mainly to areas such as
providing compensation for drought affected farmers, assistance to
dredge wells, providing water pumps to farmers, seed preservation
methods, relief on loans obtained and renovating and dredging tanks.
The President after pointing out that the drought has also affected
some parts of the hill country told officials that if the conditions
prevail it could affect the electricity generation as well. He discussed
water management methods with them to overcome such difficulties.
Officials also pointed out that in comparison to past seasons, this
year farmers have taken steps to cultivate more paddy lands. This too
was cited as a reason for lack of water for paddy cultivation in some
Here attention was drawn towards encouraging farmers to engage in
other cultivation as well, where the amount of water used is less.
Following the meeting the farmers conveyed their appreciation to
President for taking swift measures to help them in their hour of need.
They pointed out that the President had taken steps to assist them
immediately after returning to the country following a visit abroad.
The discussion was attended by North Central Province Chief Minister
Berty Premalal Dissanayake, Ministers Maithripala Sirisena, Nimal
Siripala de Silva, Basil Rajapaksa, S.M.Chandrasena, Tissa Karaliyadda,
Mahinda Amaraweera, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene, Secretary to the President
Lalith Weeratunge, other politicians, Ministry Secretaries and
government officials and represantatives from farmer societies in the