Southern Province surging towards a new epoch
In comparison to the other provinces during this past five years, the
rapid improvement of the development activities in the Southern Province
has become a focal point in Sri Lanka.
Hambantota fish in abundance
Today every inch in this province testifies the transition that had
taken place in regard to the manyfold development covering irrigation,
road network, housing, water supply, agriculture, electricity and
various other infrastructure facilities.
Agriculture is the dominant economic activity of the province where
55 are employed. Paddy production is the key agricultural activity.
The coastal belt in the province is a major tourist attraction and
the Tourism Ministry has identified a large number of tourist
destinations to be improved.
Kataragama located in Hambantota District draws a large number of
pilgrims each year. This feature resulted in services sector being the
second dominant economic activity of the District. The services sector
employs 24% of the workforce who are employed in tourist industry and
The other key economic activities include fishing. The district
accounts for 12.9% of the marine fish production of the country although
only 3% are employed in fisheries.
When taking an account of the development activities in the province
the Southern Development Authority had played a pivotal role.
The Authority was established with the objective of increasing the
production in the Southern region ensuring economic and social awakening
and maximising the regions contribution to the GNP.
The area of authority of this organisation covers districts of Matara,
Galle and Hambantota. District of Moneragala and Divisional Secretary’s
Divisions of Kolonna and Embilipitiya in Ratnapura District also coming
under the purview of the SDA.
Southern Development Authority chairman told the Daily News that
action was initiated to implement Jathika Saviya, Gama Neguma and Maga
Neguma programs in selected Grama Niladari Divisions in the region.
Special attention was drawn to streamline programs in the most difficult
rural areas which were neglected for a long time.
Accordingly 47 ‘Wasams’ in the Districts of Matara, Hambantota and
Galle were selected for the implementation of several development
projects an priority basic which includes 20km of roads, 581 houses for
low income families, 352 sanitary programs and 45 model home gardens.
Further, 567 youth were trained in the fields of heavy vehicle
driving, three-wheelar driving, nursing, hotel industry and sewing.
Fifty percent of them are today gainfully employed, the Chairman said.
The Authority initiated action to formulate its corporate plan. The
Authority had managed to achieve considerable progress as the
continuation works an major and medium-scale projects.
Among the medium-scale projects eco-tourism program in Kirala Kele in
Matara, fish caning factory in Kaduruwatte in Akmeemana Divisional
Secretary’s Division and the Handugala Tea Factory with assistance of a
private investor are worthy of mentioning.
It is estimated that around 2,315 direct employment opportunities
will be generated through these projects with a large number of indirect
employment in the surrounding areas.
In order to encourage the local milk production and the consumption
of liquid milk as envisaged in the Mahinda Chintana, suitable lands in
the three districts have been selected to set up 04 milk production
Accordingly, the land called Kohilawaguruwatte with an extent of 200
acres in Karandeniya Division in Galle District has been taken over and
infrastructure facilities are being provided to set up a milk producing
Historically Galle is having a very interesting episode.
The Portuguese were the first colonial power who established a
settlement in Galle.
The Portuguese did not have intention to come to Sri Lanka. It
happened by accident. The Viceroy of India Don Fancisco De Almeida
wanted his son to intercept Moorish ships carrying spices from Malacca
Almeida’s son Lovenzo was given a fleet for this purpose from Goa.
Lorenzo was stranded in the unknown seas and was wandering in the Indian
Ocean for few days. Then his fleet was caught with a strong current and
was washed towards Galle Harbour.
His intention of intercepting Moorish ships fulfilled unexpectedly
and he was astonished to see the Moorish ships anchored in Galle Harbour
to upload cinnamon and elephants. Lorenzo and his fellow-sailors
disembarked from ships and entered into the country through Galle
Harbour in 1505.
On inquiry he came to know that this island was called ceylon (Sri
Lanka). Lorenzo immediately informed his farther his un-intended and
un-expected visit to Sri Lanka and about the abandoned resources in the
Thereafter the Portuguese invaded this country and scraped all the
resources damaging the economy, culture, religions and the identity of
the Island.Thereafter Dutch took over from Portuguese in 1640 and made
Galle a fine town.
Development transition in South due to Govt’s prudency - Ports
Development in the Southern Province was lagging behind but it began
to develop rapidly since President Mahinda Rajapaksa prioritised its
development projects through his national policy, Mahinda Chintana.
Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa
The Southern Provincial Council election campaign is in full swing
and different political parties contesting are putting forward many
promises. Daily News interviewed Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal
Rajapaksa on the current situation in the South. Following are the
highlights of the interview:
Q: A substantial transition in development activities are
taking place in the Southern Province during past few years. Can you
attribute what made these changes?
A: Under the Mahinda Chintana policy of President Mahinda
Rajapaksa now we can see vast progress in the Southern Province.
Not only the Southern Province, the whole country is rapidly
developing day by day. When we talk about my Ministry, before the end of
the year 2010 we can complete the construction of the first phase of the
As this harbour is in the middle of Maritime Silk Route it will
contribute to the development of the national economy. We have already
taken steps to develop the Galle Harbour as a tourist port without
harming the historical and archaeological value of the Galle town and
We are going to establish an international airport in Mattala,
Q: We see a competition among UPFA candidates for preferencial
votes at the Southern Provincial Council election. According to your
view what is the reason for this?
A: First because everyone knows that most of the people living
in the Southern Province vote for UPFA as they respect our President.
And also most of the UNP and JVP agreed to give their support to the
President. In view of this UPFA candidates try to canvass for
preferential votes. The voters don’t care about personalities, but they
want to vote for the UPFA without thinking twice.
I think though there is competition among UPFA candidates yet people
don’t consider it so serious and it’s not a very big problem for the
Q: In a democratic country it is vital to have a strong
opposition to criticize the faults of the rulers. Do you think in the
absence of a strong opposition the rulers will do their utmost?
A: Our opposition party always tries to confuse people. They
don’t work for the betterment of the people. They only work to get
political power. So it is not necessary to have this kind of opposition
party to work for the betterment of the people.
Q: It is often seen on political platforms that certain UPFA
candidates claim that he will become the Chief Minister. According to
your views is it correct to forecast or claim such a portfolio?
A: UPFA General Secretary Suisil Premajayantha announced the
procedure of selecting the Chief Minister. But we like it if all
candidates make an effort to become the Chief Minister.
Our President likes all the candidates becoming the Chief Ministers
at least in their minds as it will augur well for the UPFA.
Q: These days most foreign countries talk about violation of
human rights in Sri Lanka. What are your comments?
A: Where can we see human right violations now? Since 1985 up
to now what was the period where there were human right violations in
the country? There was an era that people were burnt on tyres. More than
50,000 people disappeared.
But during the last three years did you see this kind of things
happening in the country? We released even Daya Master after a Court
Q: Certain sections among the opposition were questioning
about the welfare of the IDPs housed in the welfare villages and camps.
Are those people being looked after well?
A: We should think about reality when we talk about the life
of the people who live in IDP camps. As a government it is difficult to
give all facilities for these IDPs.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa always thinks about the Tamil people in
As a respect to them now he talks to them in Tamil also. So how can
we say that human rights violations are taking place in the country?
Government grants approval for several road projects
The Government has granted approval to several road projects in the
country to upgrade and rehabilitate the provincial roads in the Southern
Province, Minister of Media, Lakshman Yapa Abeyawardena said.
Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeyawardena
He said the project plans to upgrade and rehabilitate all provincial
roads in the Province covering all three districts Galle, Matara and
Hambantota and several proposals have been submitted to donor agencies
to raise funds.
The project, which will begin this month and expected to be completed
as soon as possible, is aimed at improving access to social and economic
activities in the Southern Province through the sustainable management
of improved road infrastructure, the Government declared, he said.
The proposed rehabilitation includes improvement of road pavements,
bridges, drainage, and replacement of culverts of the proposed roads.
The project is expected to be implemented by December 31, 2013.
The Minister also said that Hakmana, Kamburupitiya and Akurassa,
Dikwella roads will be widen by year 2010, which grants access to many
areas in the country and these roads will be developed in parallel to
other road networks in the Province. This will enable to develop the
living condition of the people, he said
A separate proposal submitted by the President also received the
Cabinet approval to continue the construction work of the 4-lane
expressway from Pinnaduwa to Godagama which comes under the Southern
Transport Development Project.
Funding for this segment of the highway has been secured from the
EXIM Bank of the People’s Republic of China.
The Minister said that the Colombo- South highway will be made
available soon once the construction activities are completed.
Huge drinking water projects to Hambantota, Matara
Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Ministry has allocated
Rs. 1,292 m. to provide drinking water and to sanitary facilities to
Hambantota and Matara in Southern Province, a ministry press release
A sum of Rs. 520 million has been spent for the Hambantota district
benefitting 89,435 beneficiaries and a sum of Rs. 772 million for Matara
District benefitting 317,816 beneficiaries.
The community had to face for numerous difficulties due to the lack
of water during drought seasons. A large number of tanks, brooks and
other water sources exist in the two districts but the communities could
not get pure drinking water. And also no adequate projects were
efficiently implemented so far to solve the problems, said a ministry
A large number of people in rural areas were affected due to the lack
of water for drinking as well as for sanitary purposes. As a result they
were subjected to go under medical treatments constantly due to the
spreading of diseases.
The water projects will be implemented under Community Triangle
Program. The program has covered 13 districts benefitting 354,681
recipients and the World Bank has identified this Southern project as
the best, the official said.
Akuressa rural roads renovated
Preliminary work in progress to lay concrete in a remote
Construction of the first phase of the Welihena-Akkaravissa road had
been completed under the Gama Neguma programme spending Rs. 500,000.
Construction of the second phase of the road has also been started last
week by the Aturaliya Pradeshiya Sabha.
Community Centre in Akuressa. Pix - Akuressa group
Talahagama East, a remote village in Aturaliya Divisional Secretariat
area has also been developed to a greater extent under the Jathika
Saviya Gama Neguma Program launched by the Southern Development
37 houses for low income families had already been constructed at a
cost of Rs. 37 lakhs.
Another ten houses were also constructed spending Rs. 10 lakhs.
One hundred low income families were selected by the SDA to improve
their neglected tea and cinnamon lands providing facilities and
A vocational training centre, community hall and a health services
centre were also constructed in the village improving knowledge on
vocation community services and health condition of 272 families living
in the village at present.
Four access roads in the village had been concreted spending Rs. 40
K. G. Amaradasa, member of the Aturaliya Pradeshiya Sabha who is
supervising the development work of the village told the Daily News that
the families living in the village were able to uplift the living
condition earning good income under the various projects started
Irrigation canal renovated
Diesel tanks are constructed at Puranawella coast in
Tangalle to provide fuel to motor boats.
The Attikka Amuna in Tissamaharama will be renovated under an
accelerated program, the Senior Consultant to the President Basil
With the renovation of Attikka Amuna an extent of 1,000 acres can be
brought under the plough. The land presently remains barren as a result
of acute shortage of water. The Amuna was grossly damaged as a result of
The construction will be carried out by the Department of Irrigation
on the initiative of Basil Rajapaksa.