Lower Malwathu Oya project to accelerate | Daily News

Lower Malwathu Oya project to accelerate

Irrigation Minister P. Harrison laying the foundation stone of the project.
Irrigation Minister P. Harrison laying the foundation stone of the project.

The lower Malwathu Oya reservoir construction work which had been at a standstill due to the lack of finances and tugs o’ war between stakeholders will be accelerated.

It will give priority to the resettlement of evacuated farmer families, completion of basic infrastructure facilities, provision of alternative land and payment of compensation.

Irrigation Minister P. Harrison has instructed irrigation authorities, including the project management sector that the lower Malwathu Oya reservoir project shall not be a repetition of the adjoining Yan Oya reservoir project.

The minister instructed the project management to take steps to preserve the sites within the reservoir submersion zone with archaeological and historical value as well as the proposed new settlement areas in consultation with the archaeology authorities and the Maha Sangha headed by Thantirimale Raja Maha Viharadhipathi Ven. Thantirimale Chandraratana Nayaka Thera.

Referring to the proposed reservoir project, Minister Harrison said plans were afoot to convert the historical Thantirimale hamlet into a modern township, apart from developing the Thantirimale sacred city and Wilpattu sanctuary. He said discussions were in progress to gaining foreign aid or micro-interest loan package for the realization of the project of which the estimated cost was Rs. 13,000 million. He said failing which the government would invest local funds for completing the reservoir construction within two years.

The water capacity of the proposed reservoir would be 169,000-acre feet and the main dam is 3.6 km in length.

At a recently held project progress review committee meeting headed by Anuradhapura government agent R. M. Wanninayake, lower Malwathu Oya reservoir project Director T. P. Alwis said once the reservoir is completed it would provide irrigation water facilities to around 32,000 areas of paddy. Water would be released from two sluices at the rate of 35 cubic feet per second and the issuance of water for the consumption of fauna living downstream at a speed of 18 cubic feet per second would continue throughout the year.

Wildlife and forest conservation authorities have submitted to the progress review committee that since the evacuated families were scheduled to resettle close to the Wilpattu sanctuary boundaries, there was a risk of depriving wild elephants of their traditional elephant corridors. It is learnt that there had been an elephant exchange zone between Mahakanadarawa and Wilpattu reservation landscapes. In addition, around 36 archeological sites have been identified within the reservoir project site and a new museum is being planned to be constructed in the Thantirimale sacred city. Movable pieces will be preserved in it and replicas of immovable archaeological resources would be created in the museum premises under the guidance of archeological authorities.


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