Deyata Kirula and rural
The tens of thousands of
persons thronging the Deyata Kirula exhibition grounds in once
violence-scarred Oyamaduwa in the Anuradhapura district testify
to a success story which needs constant highlighting. To begin
with, these regions of the country were at one time stalked by
LTTE terrorists who swooped on many an innocent life and laid
the countryside waste. They were veritable 'no-go' zones which
were paralyzed by fear and economic underdevelopment.
But today, the same areas of this land are in the process of
being transformed into centres of dynamic economic productivity.
For instance, not only is entrepreneurship picking-up but these
areas are being brought alive by unprecedented infrastructure
development. Roads and highways, for instance, are increasingly
prominent by their presence. Besides, the North Central Province
is unlikely to be the same after the Exhibition and the boost it
has provided to rural entrepreneurship and business. It is
important that the state focuses on the opportunities for
business and commercial activity that are opening-up in the
provinces and Deyata Kirula could be considered a catalyst in
this development process.
Considering that the North Central Province was scene to some
of the worst terror assaults, this is transformation of the most
heartening kind. The North Central Province, which was at one
time, devastated, sterile and seemingly beyond recovery, is
today bristling with the most interesting possibilities. Over
this reality we all need to rejoice.
The state has lost no time in exploring every possibility of
developing this and other once underdeveloped areas of the
country and this effort of opening the country to development
must be persisted with. It is important that the people are
presented with opportunities to earn an income and to enhance it
and the fact that there is an increasing demand for consumer
goods in this country is proof that developmentally we are on
the right track.
Yesterday, we quoted Bartleet Religare Securities as saying
in our Business pages that the local consumer goods market has
emerged as one of the most flourishing sectors in the economy
and this should be taken cognizance of by all relevant parties
in the country's development process. It was also pointed out
that this situation has triggered competition among
manufacturers to provide good quality products to the market at
reasonable prices and this too should be taken as a huge
positive feature of the local economy.
The bottom line is that a substantial number of people are
currently spending more and by implication possess more
purchasing power than before, although one cannot argue from
this premise that poverty and want have been drastically reduced
in this country. The correct perspective to adopt would be that
more and more persons are making use of the income generating
possibilities that the state is helping in creating and thereby
bettering their income status.
From this point of view it is a welcome development that a
resort for local tourists has been launched in the Anuradhapura
District under the aegis of Economic Development Minister Basil
Rajapaksa. This fully fledged tourist resort would cost the
state Rs. 300 million but it would prove to be of immense
benefit to the local economy. The spin-off benefits from this
venture are bound to be wide-ranging and the ultimate
beneficiaries would be the people of the district. For, tourism
in whatever form would produce increasing job opportunities and
enhance the earning capacities of the people. More projects of
this kind are the need of the hour.
It is stepped-up development that is the answer to perceived
economic hardships. This needs to be borne in mind at present
when speculation is rife about increasing power and energy
costs. If the purchasing power of the people could be steadily
increased through a sustained growth plus equity strategy, the
ill-effects of an energy crunch could be offset to a degree.