Postal Department to introduce track and trace system -Minister
Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa presided when Parliament met at 9.30 a.m.
yesterday. After the presentation of papers and Oral questions the
Committee Stage of the Budget 2010 debate commenced.
The votes on Health, Indigenous Medicine, Social Services, Child
Development and Women's Affairs and Mass Media and Communication were
debated from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe (UNP): Today we address the
issue of curtailing money allocations for the welfare of the people. I
do not have the necessary information required to carry on this debate
today. I have a doubt that these were not given purposely.
The Government has been unable to provide security for the UN office
Indigenous Medicine Deputy Minister Pandu Bandaranayake: Today we see
that even the Opposition Leader has nothing to talk with regard this
About Rs 302 million has been allocated to develop the Borella
Rs 8 million has been allocated for the development of the Yakkala
hospital. Therefore, we have come forward to work for the advancement of
the traditional indigenous medicine of the country. We have identified
the areas that should be concerned. The expansion of Medicinal Plant
Cultivation is given attention. Valuable types of herbs and medicines
that have not been discovered will be given consideration. The 'Siddhayurveda'
medical system will be given more attention.
We hope to carry on our work in the best manner with the support of
other Ministries. Today, we have been able to include the North and East
to our development activities.
We hope to launch a new website, so that any one interested in
indigenous medicine could obtain the necessary information.
We hope to name 2010 as an Ayurvedic Year. Necessary allocations are
made for the improvement of traditional medicine.
Dr Jayalath Jayawardana (UNP): We are not given the progress report
of the Health Ministry. It is a deprivation of the rights of this
Maithreepala Sirisena (Health Minister): I accept the complaint: The
print version has been delayed. We will take the necessary measures to
distribute it by tomorrow.
Dr Jayalath Jayawardana (UNP): Today, international organizations are
providing a large sum of aid to our country. But the country has soured
its relationship with organizations such as WHO and UNICEF. Does the
Government reject the aid given by them?
The good name of this country is tarnished with the international
community. The representatives of the country behave irresponsibly. I
oppose the establishment of a national health policy.
Ven Ellawala Medananda Thera (JHU): Today, I was referred to in the
Media as showing my allegiance to the President.
I believe that all countrymen should be like that. He was the leader
who defeated terrorism without bowing down to foreign pressure. It was
an act that was thought to be impossible.
The behaviour of Ban-ki-Moon should not be generalized as the idea of
the whole UN. The present leadership has the courage and strength to
work independently without bending down before International Forces and
When the country experiences large scale development naturally the
salaries of the people will gradually rise. When real development
happens more jobs will be created and the prices of goods will decrease.
Therefore, a budget should be aimed at the general development of the
The traditional local medical system is not just the ayurvedic
system. It is just one. The indigenous medical system has valuable
elements. They are hardly recorded in books. At a time when more
attention is paid to traditional medicine, I suggest that proper
research be done about them.
Vijitha Herath (DNA): Freedom of the media is considered as a
measurement of democracy in the country.
During the period of war, there were frequent threats to journalists.
But now the war has ended. The Government cannot repeat the earlier
comment that incidents like these are natural during a war situation.
The international community is interfering to our internal matters,
because we ourselves have not been able to safeguard democracy in the
country. We are unable to protect the rights of the people in our
Today, the media does not have the freedom of expression.
Jayalath Jayawardana (UNP): I raise a point of order.
I suggest that the Secretary of the Health Ministry be produced
before the committee since he failed to provide the progress report to
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe (UNP): We are unable to
analyses, if we are not given the progress report. So this should be
Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa: I do not think that he should be summoned
here. A thing like that has not happened before and there is no
necessity to do so.
Gamini Jayawickrema Perera (UNP): Today if a patient goes to a
dispensary he has to have at least Rs. 5,000. The cost of living is too
When we consider the malnutrition rate it is 50 percent in North and
East, while the rate is 30 percent in the rest of the country.
Today journalist Eknaligoda has disappeared.
Posts and Telecommunications Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga: During this
short period I talk of the posts and telecommunications field and its
development. The money order system used for 130 years has been
modernized with modern technology. We have bought the software from the
Yesterday we opened a museum for the Postal Department. It contains
the equipment and stamps used by the Postal Department during the last
The museum will be beneficial to the schoolchildren and local and
We have taken steps to introduce the track and trace system to find
out the whereabouts of the goods sent by the post, by the Postal
Now we have introduced SL post e-paid to help people pay their water
and electricity bills without any hassle. The required training has been
given to officers in each post office.
As the North and East are now liberated from terrorism the service of
the Postal Department is provided there. But there are deficiencies in
those areas in respect of the post and telecommunication sector and we
would fulfill those shortcomings.
We have already laid the optical fibres to bridge the North and East
with the South. Within the next few months we would be able to make use
of this service.
Sivashakthi Anandan (TNA): Today the people in Vavuniya, Mulaitivu,
Mannar, Kilinochchi etc are suffering from mental ailments. Those people
are psychologically or mentally affected. Those patients come to the
hospital for a headache or some other ailment but the doctors have
revealed they have those symptoms as they are psychologically affected.
There should be psychiatrists assigned to those hospitals.
The hospitals should conduct counselling programs as well.
Deputy Speaker Priyankara Jayaratne takes the Chair.
Indigenous Medicine Minister Piyasena Gamage: There is a very
significant feature in this budget that would be decisive for indigenous
medicine in Sri Lanka.
That is the Government's decision that the Health Ministry should
work closely with the Indigenous Medicine Ministry.
This measure would help popularise indigenous medicine overseas.
There are still a large percentage of our population in the rural
areas that would depend on a decoction prescribed by a indigenous doctor
without visiting a doctor at a Government hospital. So it will be a
great saving of money for the Government.
Making indigenous medicine popular would reduce Government
expenditure and it also help the tourism industry.
We have to initiate a program to cultivate herbs used for indigenous
medicine. We will declare an indigenous medicine week within the next
few months. We have programs to encourage the private sector in
production of indigenous medicinal drugs.
Although there are an abundance of medicinal herbs in Sri Lanka the
regrettable fact is that we spend much money for the importation of
these herbs. So we have established mechanism to collect these medicinal
Gayantha Karunatilake (UNP): It is a very unfortunate situation that
journalists and media personnel were abducted by some people in white
vans. But no investigations were initiated. Now we have a new Media
Minister. So I hope he would be capable of creating true media freedom.
Although much promises were given to the media personnel nothing is
given to them so far.
S. P. Rajathurai (UPFA): In the Nuwara Eliya district, the hospitals
don't have an adequate number of doctors, nurses and rest of the staff.
Most of the hospitals have midwives. They should be provided nurse's
training courses as there are not enough number of nurses.
Another problem faced by the patients in Nuwara Eliya is that those
hospitals do not have sufficient quantities of medicine. Most of the
hospitals do not have ambulances.
Chandrani Bandara (UNP): We cannot accept the anti-media campaigns
taking place under present Government which is known as a media friendly
Government. Though there are a number of pledges included in Mahinda
Chinthana Program all have become fairy tales now. I would like to ask
the Government what promise they had fulfilled behalf of the
journalists. All state owned media institutions are being maintained
with the tax payers money. These institutions are not the Government's
property. So they should provide true and balanced information to the
people. Most children are suffering from malnutrition. Pregnant and
lactating mothers suffer from anaemia. Therefore, the Government should
implement a national program to alleviate anaemia and malnutrition in
Social Services Minister Felix Perera: We have to pay maximum
attention to implement a national program for vaccine delivery, social
mobilization and training of health workers. A national program has been
organised to eradicate Polio and leprosy. The private sector
institutions have granted huge amounts of money to eradicate disease and
we must utilise this allocation in a effective manner. We have to look
into the needs of elderly people. We are implementing many community
based programs to fulfil their requirements. Rs. 300 million has been
allocated to conduct rehabilitation programs.
It is essential to improve the mental health of the people. We will
formulate a program to issue medical cards to elderly people. So they
can be easily treated when they visit doctors. The rights of the
disabled people should be ensured while giving them due recognition in
Ashoka Abeysekara (UNP): The Government should allocate sufficient
amounts of funds to provide best health facilities to the people. But
the funds allocated through this budget for the health sector is not
Medical officers and administrative officers who are working on an
acting basis in hospitals should be confirmed on their post to provide
the best service to patients.
Ruwan Wijewardene (UNP): The people of Gampaha elected me to
Parliament by giving me a massive mandate. They placed their confidence
in me I will ensure their rights to the best of my ability. Today
foreign investors have no faith in the policies of the Government and
they are leaving the country.
With the withdrawal of the GSP Plus scheme, many Garment factories in
the Biyagama Free Trade Zone have been closed down.
The media plays a major role in the country. The Government should
ensure the rights of journalists. It should not put any pressure on
Journalists should have the freedom of expressing their views
independently. You cannot obstruct the expression of ideas of
Journalists Sri Lanka has been ranked as a country which has poor media
freedom. Many Journalists have been murdered or abducted.
We want the Government to safeguard the fundamental rights of the
Sriyani Wijewickrama (UPFA): My electorate, Ampara is full of
historical sites and is very scenic. I would like to express my
gratitude to the people of Ampara who elected me to Parliament. The
Ampara District Provides a rich harvest of paddy, grains, fruits,
vegetables and dairy products to the entire country. The district was
battered by the brutal 30 year old war, the time has come now to develop
the area by providing maximum facilities to the people. The area can
also be developed as a main tourist hub.
Upeksha Swarnamali (UNP): The deprivation of my privileges as an
actress, due to my political preference perused me to select politics.
The President must take measures to protect the rights of the
artistes in this country. The women in this country contribute a lot to
development and it is them that provide life to our motherland. The
poverty in this country continues to be high.
Malani Fonseka (UPFA): As an artist representing Parliament, I must
request all to get together to rebuild our nation, after 30 years of
We should not allow external powers to win by letting them to
interrupt into our matters.
I request that the cinema of this country should be improved as a
major source of income. The President seems to be doing his best to
improve this industry. This is clear by the relief and benefits given to
us from this budget. I believe that Cinema can be upgraded as a section
that gives prominent contributions to GDP. Not only the cinema industry,
but many other industries can also be improved to this status.
I admit that this budget is not the icing on the cake, but it has an
underlined meaning. We will be able to see its results in 2011. Deputy
Chairman of Committees Chandrakumar Murugesu takes the chair.
Mahinda Amaraweera (Health Deputy Minister): Dr Jayalath Jayawardana
as usual talked with hatred towards this Ministry. Specially, the
Presidential Workforce appointed to combat dengue was criticized by him.
This was appointed by understanding the gravity of the issue. It should
be praised, rather than criticized.
Even we have taken necessary actions regarding the Rubella
We have allocated a considerable sum of money for the distribution of
The Opposition also raised an issue of a deficiency of Thalesaemia
medicines. This was totally wrong and misleading. There is no truth on
Today, we must emphasis on the prevention of illnesses, rather than
the distribution of medicines and exportation of them.
A.H.M. Azwar (UPFA): I raise a point of order. Except two solitary
members of the Opposition, there is no responsible member representing
the Opposition in the gallery at the moment. This was brought on to the
notice of the Speaker.
S. Yogeshwaran (TNA): There is a lack of ambulances in the North and
only a handful of minor staff is working in these hospitals. There is
also a lack of nurses in these hospitals.
Even though the money is allocated, that money is not given to these
hospitals. The authorities should look whether this money is distributed
or not as well.
In some hospitals, there is a very severe shortage of doctors. Please
take measures to provide adequate doctors to these hospitals.
H.M.M. Harees (UNP): There are severe shortcomings in Government
hospitals. Time to time, shortages of various medicines are reported and
it is the innocent people who become victims as a result.
During the recent past, the distribution of medicines was irregular.
One of the challenges we face today is the dengue fever. Still the
situation is not under control and I request the Health Minister to look
into this matter. Some think that the dengue is spreading as a result of
illegal constructions. But this is not true.
Ajith P. Perera (UNP): Practical action is not been taken to secure
the rights of the women. There is a guestion to which degree the justice
is received by them. Today the number of females coming into the
administration of the country has decreased. At least, there should be
50 percent of representation of females in Parliament, Local Governments
and Provincial Councils. For that, laws and regulations should be
amended to encourage them.
Child Development and Women's Affairs Deputy Minister M.L.M.
Hisbullah: According to the Mahinda Chintanaya Idiri Dakma policy,
necessary initiatives have been proposed to safeguard the rights of
During the war period many widows emerged. The number of widows have
increased considerably in the North.
We are establishing the necessary institutions to help women in
selected areas. The Ministry plans to start self employment for the
We have also inquired into the matters of children. We have started
programs to reduce malnutrition among children.
The distribution of milk for the children to reduce malnutrition is
being carried on successfully.
We are also establishing student committees islandwide. In that way,
we hope to build a network of students. In the international conferences
about children, Sri Lanka was praised for its work to upgrade the
conditions of the children.
Iran Wcirakarathne (UNP): We cannot say that our country has free
educations since it is being gradually deteriorated.
We spend more money for defence than health. This is a tragic
situation. ?The basic facilities for tests are not provided in the
hospitals. There is inefficiency in hospitals. The MRC scanner in the
Colombo Hospital is used only for a limited number of hours, whereas it
could be used for about 20 hours per day.
There should be emergency service in all government hospitals. We
have a good Health Minister. The deficiency of medicine has been reduced
to a considerable extent.
Anoma Gamage (UNP): The money allocated for the health sector this
time is Rs. 773 million. This is not enough in anyway.
It is the women who contribute largely to the development of the
country. They earn a lot of foreign exchange.
I request the government to arrange a proper program for unemployed
women who have obtained the university education.
Rosy Senanayake (UNP): Human Resource is the most valuable asset in a
country. The health sector is of paramount importance considering this
The Government has no project to explore the life condition of the
people. Most regrettable fact is that 29.4 percent of children below
five years of age are suffering from malnutrition. It means one of three
children are suffering from malnutrition. Another factor is that 16.2
percent of pregnant mothers are suffering from iron deficiency.
Although the Government says that per capita income is US $2,053 in
Sri Lanka, 41.6 percent of population is around Rs 7,000 a month. Their
needs should be addressed urgently.
Pots and Telecommunication Deputy Minister Duminda Dissanayake: Most
of the members criticised our Ministry maybe as we are providing a good
service. Today our Ministry has 645 main post offices and 3,410
The Eastern Province people complain that our services are late. But
we have taken all measures to streamline the service. Now we have
started to open a network of these post offices using computer
Now most of the main post offices are in the network and the next
phase is to link all the sub-post offices into the network. Another
matter is that we have introduced the e-money ordering. At the same
moment when you sent the money order the recipient can obtain it from
wherever in the country. There are many other facilities to be
introduced. Once such facility is that enabling to settle the
electricity bills and water bills.
Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities
Minister Wimal Weerawansa: At this moment, the Opposition Leader,
General Sarath Fonseka, some representatives from Norway are holding a
meeting in this Parliamentary Complex. That is harmful to this country.
We cannot allow that.
Deputy Chairman of Committees Chandrakumar Murugesan: It is not a
point of order.
Palitha Thewarapperuma (UNP): As I am talking about the health
sector, I like to draw the attention to Kalutara General Hospital. That
hospital has no adequate facilities at all. I was taken to the Nagoda
Hospital from the prison authorities. It is pathetic to note that a
single bed is given to two patients.
Tissa Karaliyadda (Child Development and Women's Affairs Minister):
The Opposition questioned as to whether there wasn't a female member to
be appointed as Minister of Women's Affairs. But I like to question from
the Opposition is there anybody who known about women other than man.
Earlier, we could not go to the North and East. But after President
Mahinda Rajapaksa's measures to eliminate terrorism today we are able to
travel to the North and East.
To the great relief of the Tamil people today, their children are
living with their parents as family units. Today we setting up
pre-schools with the support of the Pan Sri Lanka organisation.
Dayasiri Jayasekara (UNP): Yesterday a group supporting the
Government led a protest before the UN Office in Sri Lanka. Is it the
stance of the Government?
Wimal Weerawansa (Construction Engineering Services Housing and
Common Amenities Minister): We are not moved by the statement of those
bankrupt politicians who are paid by foreign organisations. Are you not
ashamed to do so?
Wasantha Aluvihare (UNP): There are many unresolved health issues in
the health sector. The Government does not address them. The Health
Minister took over the Polonnaruwa Hospital. They do such things while
Sri Ranga (UNP): Women in the estate sector are not given their due
place. They are in very poor health.
Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella: The JVP
says the Government has created a threatening environment in the media
field. I would like to ask them, who created such a situation during the
terror period of 88/89. A number of journalists were killed many others
disappeared. The JVP has no right to talk about media freedom we have a
doubt of recognizing the real journalist today. Most journalists work on
political agendas. All media institutions should work towards the
betterment of the country. Some private media institutions are engaged
in mud slinging.
This situation should be controlled. Otherwise it will damage
peopleís image. Journalists should be responsible when they report news.
You said State media institutions have been collapsed. It is a totally
lie. The SLBC receives advertisements worth Rs 583 million. Circulation
of Lake House newspapers have been increased.
H.M.M. Haris (SLMC)
The Kalmunai Ashraff Memorial Hospital was constructed to recall the
memory of A.H.M. Ashraff it has been neglected. It is operational with
lack of facilities.
Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena: The budget has allocated Rs. 75
billion for the health sector. The people who are unable to afford
private hospital services enjoy free health facilities.
The Government has eased the medicine shortage from hospitals. The
shortage of doctors has also addressed. The Government will promote
preventive care in rural areas. Between 300-350 persons die everyday due
to non-communicable diseases. Most of them were of heart attacks,
diabetes and high blood pressure. Consumption of liquor and smoking have
increased the number of patients. The Government has launched several
awareness programs to free the people from such unhealthy habits.
Gayantha Karunathileke (UNP): Consumers have to bear high prices of
essential commodities. The people have been affected by high prices of
petrol and diesel. There should be a plan to make the petroleum
Corporation into a profitable venture.
The Government can provide domestic gas cylinders for the public at
low rates by reducing taxes. There is no justifiable reason to increase
oil prices since fuel prices are steady in the world market.
Transport Minister Kumara Welgama: Plans are afoot to increase Sri
Lanka Transport Board buses up to 6,000. The total bus fleet is only
4,800. The Government will convert the SLTB into a profit-making
organisation. Today the SLTB earns Rs. 42 million daily. With the
implementation of new plans, daily income will increase . If we can
eliminate frauds and corruption in the SLTB, income can be increased.
The Government will import spare parts for SLTB buses directly from
producers in India. This move will eliminate malpractices and save
The SLTB spends nearly Rs. 136,000 to issue season tickets. Though it
is a burden for the SLTB, we will continue this since it is a social
responsibility. The Railway Department has 50 power sets. Forty power
sets out of 50 are operational.
The Railway Department will deploy 33 new power sets to the upcountry
railway line. We are constructing the northern railway line from
Vavuniya to Palai under the assistance of the Indian Government.
Anura Kumara Dissanayake (DNA): Recently a luxurious train from
Katunayaka to Colombo was started. I would like to ask what has happened
to it? The government started a city liner bus service. Now it was
stopped. What happened to the money allocated for this project? The
Railway Department is running at a loss. Many irregularities continue
within the department.
Petroleum Industries Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardana: The IIFA
train was introduced for the benefit of tourists.
This ministry should be a strong ministry. This was separated into
three sections during the UNP regime.
The transportation of oil from the port to Sapugaskanda is one of the
problems. The pipes used for this are damaged due to giving these lands
for the people to live. Therefore a certain percentage of oil is being
Transport Deputy Minister Rohana Dissanayake: We have not spent the
Government money for the tree planting campaign conducted the by railway
Today, the railway department and the SLTB have joined with the
private sector to improve passenger transport sector.
About 4,500 SLTB buses are contributing to the national
transportation. The Government has increased the railway compartments to
58 within two months. We work as one group to improve the transportation
of the country.
Irrigation and Water Resources Management Deputy Minister S.M.
Chandrasena: Due to war we could not maintain properly the irrigation
system in the North and East. We had to reconstruct the destroyed
We are entitled to a considerable degree of duties under this
Ministry including supplying water for cultivation in the North and
East. We have started measures to develop water facilities in the Mannar
district. We need to use each and every water drop for agriculture
Sivasakthi Annamalai (TNA): There are tanks is the North that should
be reconstructed to be made used. About Rs. 300 million in required to
reconstruct tanks and streams in Vavuniya.
Water should be provided for agriculture purposes. We request the
Government to a accelerate the work of Moragahakanda reservoir. In
resettled areas, conditions are very poor, and they have no proper
transport system. They are facing difficulties.
Water Supply and Drainage Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa: I am
very happy to work with a senior Minister as Dinesh Gunewardena. The
demand for water supply has increased rapidly during the past few years.
There are some irrigational projects to be concluded in December.
Many more irrigational projects are being carried out by the
Ministry. We have received feasibility study report for a large scale
irrigational project in Matara. The Water Supply Board is running at a
loss. The age-old pipes in the ground are damaged and water leaks
Disaster Management Deputy Minister W.B. Ekanayake: The Government
has to spend a large sum of money to develop war affected areas. We have
to work hand in hand with regional administrative levels.
Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities
Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna: I listened to the speech of Anura
Kumara Dissanayaka. I had to express my sympathy towards him. He just
expressed his hatred towards Minister Dullas Alahapperuma. He did not
speak any thing about transport or roads. We invite him to participate
in the Consultative Committee to present his problems.
Power and Energy Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekara: There is a
program to supply electricity for all. We are happy that there is a
Minister who has knowledge about the field and we believe that he will
very soon settle major problems in the sector.
We have started many projects in the North and East. Within two more
years Electricity will be provided for every household. The Electricity
Board will be converted to profit making institution and various
programs are initiated in this regard.
Disaster Management Minister A.H.M. Fowzie: Small and medium scale
entrepreneurs in North are encouraged and we will achieve economic
development through them.
The Disaster Management Ministry has made a national disaster
management policy. We also initiated a program to clean canals in the
city. We have to prepare for severe floods and many more disasters in
the future. Measures should be taken to mitigate these disasters.
Patali Champika Ranawaka (Power and Energy Minister): We have triple
E-Concept generating power. That is Energy, Economy and Environment.
After 2012, the electricity price would be reduced. The ministry will
reform the Ceylon Electricity Board and make it a profitable
institution. The Government would provide electricity for 85 percent of
the country. We have practical problem of providing electricity to
remote areas. But the Government has planned to provide electricity to
100 percent by 2015. There are very few who cannot afford to obtain
electricity and the Government will provide them a loan to get
electricity. We can use wind power to generate electricity to add to the
national grid. The ministry is conducting research for potential forces
to generate electricity such as sea waves and solar power.
Joan Amarathunga (UNP): When the rain falls Gampaha District is
affected by the flood. This has been caused blocking the brooks and
streamlets. A large number of people are living there and most houses
were inundated. The Government provided a lot of dry rations and it is
Disaster Management Minister A. H. M. Fowzie: Under the guidance of
Minister Basil Rajapaksa, a plan has implemented. The plan will solve
the problem of flooding in the Gampaha district.
Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha: Gayantha
Karunatilake talked of the Ceylon Electricity Board. But the UNP
attempted to sell one third of the CEB that was owned by the Treasury.
At that stage, the Government was taken over by us and we cancelled the
decision. We have taken measures to expand the oil refinery. Its
feasibility study is completed.
The land acquisition has to be done. We have granted salary hikes to
the workers in the CPC.
We have completed the construction of a petrol station in
Kilinochchi. Another one will be completed next week. An oil stores
complex is being constructed in Vavuniya.
Ravi Karunanayake: When the prices of a barrel of crude oil was
increased to US $ 147 at the world market, the government sold a petrol
litre at Rs. 150. Today the price of crude oil has reduced to US $ 75.
Ajith Kumara (DNA): After the tsunami tragedy, various constructions
were erected by the Government and private institutions. Most houses
constructed were not upto the standards. The people living in these
houses are deprived of basic facilities. Illegal constructions either
side of the railway line in Maradana are, a major problem.
Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva: Many land which have
been abandoned for past few decades is being cultivated after the war.
The paddy harvest has been increased by 75 percent.
Ninety-two percent of the Deduru Oya construction work has been
completed. This will vastly benefit the farmers in the North Central
Province. The Rambakan Oya project is being reconstructed. We are
engaged in massive irrigational expansion projects across the country.
New 70,000 acres of paddy lands have been brought under cultivation in
the giant tank area in Mannar.
The Uma Oya Project initiated at a cost of US $529 million will
provide water to cultivate 5,000 acres of paddy. The paddy production
has been increased upto 300,000 metric tons in Mahaweli Regions.
We have addressed the problems of local farmers through this Budget.
Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardene: Water is an
essential factor to sustain lives of humans, plants and animals.
A number of drinking water projects have been commenced islandwide.
The Lunawa area will not be flooded hereafter due to the Lunawa drainage
Many water supply projects in Vavuniya, Jaffna and Mannar have been
undertaken by the Government.
The newly resettled people have been provided with drinking water
facilities in the North and East. We have been completed a 300 drinking
Harin Fernando (UNP): Late President R. Premadasa launched a project
to construct one million houses across the country. He was able to
achieve his target by constructing nearly 800,000 houses until he died.
The program benefited the poor.
Minister Wimal Weerawansa has a responsibility to solve housing
problem of the people. Only 74,000 houses have been constructed so far
though there are demand for 155,000 houses in the North.
Resettlement Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan: The
resettlement process is being implemented rapidly. The people who have
not resettled yet will be sent to their original lands after the
Education, water supply, electricity, health facilities are also
being improved. We supplied dry ration to the resettlers. Allowance of
Rs. 25,000 have been granted them initially.
S. Vino (TNA): The people in the North have many challenges.
Specially the fishermen have no equipment and facilities. The permission
for fishing in these areas is given even though after some delay. We
happy about it.
In some areas in Mannar, some are still not resettled. They have been
living in different camps. For 21 years, they could not go to their own
Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities
Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna: From the experience of working
with the officials in the Ministry and other institutions under it, I
have understood that we have a great capacity to participate in the
development of this country.
In the housing sector, the work has been made efficient.
The housing problem in the past is different to the problems of the
contemporary days. The life standards of the people have improved and
their needs have increased.
We have a history in the construction field. There are buildings and
other constructions which are hundred years old. We must take into
consideration these facts.
Nurdeen Masoor (TNA): Earlier TNA members were not invited to any
discussions regarding resettlement. But the things have changed today.
We are happy about that.
The things are being improved in the North. But during the
resettlement process, our supporters are not given houses.
The infrastructure facilities such as water facility are not given to
some of these areas.
Deputy Speaker Priyankara Jayaratne takes the Chair
Uvais Farook (UPFA): The President possesses a great wisdom and he
carried out a marvellous work, while combating with the terrorism. No
one can deny that fact. I think the opening of Puttalam and Mannar road
is a landmark that greatly helps the resettlement process.
The requirements of the people in these areas are very high. This is
a burden on the Government.
The Government works hard to improve infrastructure of these people.
But the Opposition is criticising us blindly. The Opposition should give
their support for good works done by the Government.
There is a program to establish 50,000 houses in the North. The
agricultural equipment and paddy eggs were distributed among people in
Ajith Kumara (UNP): We see the Government has restricted people in
another form of terrorism as same as that was defeated. Even though the
Budget allocates Rs 7,500 millions for resettlement, the Ministry is
given only Rs 1,000 million.
Resettlement Minister Milroy Fernando: We have done a lot within the
last two months. I must thank the Presidential Task Force for helping us
in his task. All are working with dedication to accelerate the
Some mentioned that there are no schools for the displaced children.
But I am glad to say that all students who are in the age of attending
schools in the Menik Farm are being given transport to attend schools.
We have taken all the possible steps to give them facilities.
Milroy Fernando (continues): We have to solve the problems of the
fisherfolk. It was in 1985 the LTTEers chased away the Muslim people.
The Tamil people were also chased away. The fisherfolk in Mullaitivu
area lived harmoniously.
Jayalath Jayawardane (UNP): Organisations attached to the United
Nations assist us in resettlement drive immensely.
Construction Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities
Minister Wimal Weerawansa: A six year program will commence in 2011 to
provide a house for those who donít possess one.
The Government has decided to allocate Rs. 5,000 million for this
The JVP alleged that the allocation made for housing this year is
lesser than of 2009. Truth is otherwise. It is necessary to study deep
into realize the reality it is not sufficient to have a glance at
Disaster Management Act to be amended
Disaster Management and Human Rights
Minister A.H.M. Fowzie told Parliament yesterday that the extant
Disaster Management Act would be amended in near future so that the
Government would make new efforts in the prevention and mitigation of
natural disasters. The new Bill is being prepared now, the Minister
He also stressed the need to set up a new
fund to meet the needs in a disaster situation.
Minister Fowzie said that Sri Lanka is prone
to natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and landslides due to the
impact of climate change. He said that his Ministry was able to renovate
the Mihinthale Maha Seya which was damaged recently. Lightning
conductors and other safeguard measures had been established at the
sacred site to avoid the repetition of such disasters. He said the
Ministry had spend Rs. 306 million for this project.