Unprecedented Development in Puttalam
The main objective of 13th amendment to the Constitution is to
devolve power at provincial level to accelerate the development process
of the country. Policies of the country's regional development have
undergone a complete change following the Provincial Councils. But no
tremendous development in the rural areas of the country had been
observed during the regimes of four presidents due to their less
interest or focusing the majority of votes specially in town bound areas
at the elections.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa clearly adopted the matter and
accelerated development process of rural sector of the country where 80
percent of the country's population is living. President Rajapaksa was
able to address it successfully through the "Gama Neguma" master
development program of his own Mahinda Chinthana.
An opportunity has arisen to review the success of development in the
Puttalam district one of the two districts in the North Western Province
(NWP) over the strong criticism of opposition political parties.
The administrative district of Puttalam situates in the North Western
Province surrounded on the North by Modara Gam Aru bordering Mannar and
Anuradapura districts and South by Ma Oya bordering Gampaha and the sea.
The district has a land area of 3013 Square Kilometers including
coastal belt of 288 Kilometers in length . Deduru Oya, Mee Oya and Kala
Oya, Baththulu Oya and Ranthabala Oya which flow through the district to
drain the water runoff of the district.
There are three climate zones in the district. They are wet zone and
dry zone. The coconut area between the Ma Oya and Deduru Oya is
identified as a suitable place for coconut cultivation.
The paddy is cultivated in the area adjacent to the water tanks of
Hiripitiya, Karawitta, Katupotha and Iginimitiya which were built by
Coal Power Plant at Norochcholai under construction
Major Development projects implemented for Puttalam District.
1. Deduru Oya irrigation project:
More than 45 years ago a mega irrigation project cutting across the
Thunmodara in Wariyapola was planned. It aimed at irrigating the
Puttalam District and the Rajanganaya. But despite several efforts the
project never got off the ground.
The project had been not implemented due to the protests of affected
parties in the district.
But under the present regime issues related to the rural community
has been concluded after mediation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Deduru Oya basin is the fifth largest river basin in the country
covering 2616 km2. The annual rainfall in the basin averaged to 1628mm.
Annual rainfall varies spatially and temporarily across the basin
significantly. Annual evaporation in the area averaged 1250 mm. The
total basin population is approximately one million. Water use for
irrigation and agriculture is at very high percentage compared to water
usage in other sectors such as domestic, industrial and commercial.
There are four major reservoirs to support irrigated agriculture systems
in the basin. In addition to the major reservoirs, approximately 3000
small and medium size tanks are found in the basin to provide irrigation
and domestic water supplies. In Deduru Oya basin, the surface water
availability varies spatially and temporarily across the basin,
significantly. Hence the water resources assessment is an important
exercise to establish accountability of water to meet present and future
This Mega irrigation project estimated to cost Rs.200 million will
add 2.5 MW electricity to the national grid. It is expected to be
completed by 2010.
Drinking water facilities to the people in the Puttalam town and
adjacent areas will also be provided under this project. A dam is now
being constructed across the Deduru Oya at Thunmodara where it meets
three other canals namely Kibulwana Oya , Maguru Oya and Hakwana Oya.
Palavi-Kalpitiya road constructed under the Maga Neguma
No foreign expertise have been used for this project. Over 50 percent
of the construction have now been completed. Over 300 families out of
900 have been resettled on lands irrigated under the Radevi Bedi Ela
irrigation project. The resettlers have been provided all infrastructure
facilities such as electricity and pipeborn water. Rest of the families
will soon be resettled at Thalahera farm providing either compensation
or a plot of land. The Government has paid compensation amounting Rs.
120 million to people whose lands have been acquired for development
About 500,000 people in the NorthWestern Province will benefit by the
project which is funded entirely by the Government.
2. Construction of Norochcholai Coal Power Plant:
The Norochcholai Coal Power plant (NCPP) project is a lead project of
the Government to enhance economic growth , poverty reduction and ensure
balanced regional development through cost effective power sector
The construction of NCPP was inaugurated by President Mahinda
Rajapaksa on May 11, 2006 which had been blocked over a decade due to
public protest. The successful completion of the project will expand the
capacity of the national power grid of the country. Therefore the timely
implementation of this project was an immediate need of the country.
The first coal power plant being constructed at Norochcholai,
Puttalam will initially generate 300MW when it is fully. The operational
potential of supplying steady and low cost electricity to the national
grid will be confirmed after commissioning of this project.
It will also reduce the unit cost from the present level of Rs.11 per
unit to Rs.5 per unit.
The Power and Energy Ministry is taking steps to construct 80 fully
furnished houses at Daluwa , Norochcholai for 72 families displaced due
to the construction of coal powerhouse.
Widening of the road to Norochcholai power-house 18km along the
Palavi Junction to Kalpitiya asa 60 ft road has been already commenced.
Development of of the road to the power house and to provide
electricity have also been commenced.
A villager receiving a cheque from the
Highways and Road Development Minister T.B. Ekanayake to
compensate their lands for the Deduru Oya project.
Steps have been taken to provide road facilities, schools, community
halls, hospitals to transform Daluwa into developed city. The cost of
this project would be nearly US$ 455 million. Credit Facilities will be
received through the Exim Bank of China.
4. Infrastructure and other service related development projects in
the Puttalam District:
Maga Neguma development drive stated in the Mahinda Chinthana has
played a main role in infrastructure development sector in the Puttalam
district. About 30 km of roads have been repaired spending over Rs. 80
million. Reconstruction of Palavi - Kalpitiya road cost over Rs. 150
Government also spent over Rs.350 million to strengthen the regional
administration expanding new building facilities of the divisional
secretariats of Mahawewa, Chilaw, Mundalama, Wennappuwa, Anamaduwa,
Pallama, Wanathawillluwa, Kalpitiya, Nattandiya and Arachchikattuwa.
In addition, the construction of maternity ward complex to the Chilaw
base hospital has been completed at a cost of Rs,68 million through the
allocation of provincial council funds.
5. Proposed Kalpitiya Dutch Bay Resort Development Project:
The proposed development project placed at 150 km north of the
capital, Colombo. Kalpitiya region is one of the most beautiful coastal
areas located in the North Western Province of the country. Given the
investment opportunities available in 2008 Lanka Tourism Authority
launched the above project. A plan has been made to develop 14 islands
in the proposed zone.
Under the proposed development plan a 250 m long length will be
constructed between Theeladi and Mohoththuwaram. The Government
allocated Rs. 10 million have been released to the Divisional
Secretariat of Kalpitiya in this regard.
To construct tourist resorts, Rs.81 million have been released to the
Kalpitiya Divisional Secretariat for the acquirement of land of the
The activities in respect to the acquirement of two islands from the
Puttalam Lagoon are in progress.
6. Development of the fishery sector:
The Chilaw Fishery Harbour and Ulhitiyawa anchorage have been
constructed at a cost of Rs. 228 million, under the supervision of
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ministry. A laboratory to diagnose the
diseases of inland prawns was established at Battulu Oya to encourage
the investors in prawn culture industry.
To protect the houses of the people who are living along the sea belt
from Lansigama to Mudukatuwa from sea erosion, a sea barrier had been
formed by the Coastal Conservation Department. About 150 families were
benefited from the project. Government spent over Rs.126 million over