Govt.’s attention to construction of Lower Malwathu Oya Reservoir | Daily News


 

Govt.’s attention to construction of Lower Malwathu Oya Reservoir

The Government has drawn its special attention to commence the long-delayed construction work of the Anuradhapura Lower Malwathu Oya Reservoir. The Ven. Maha Sanga has brought the unwarranted delay in commencing construction work to the President, Prime Minister and the relevant ministers.

Although the foundation stone was ceremonially laid on August 25 by the former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to begin construction work under an accelerated programme, construction work was limited only to the foundation stone.

Once completed, the Lower Malwatu Oya Reservoir is expected to be the largest in the Anuradhapura District and the sixth-largest reservoir in the country holding 1,70,000 acre-feet water. The estimated cost of the lower Malwatu Oya Reservoir project is Rs. 16,000 million.

Referring to the unwarranted delay in commencing construction work as envisaged, Thantirimale Raja Maha Viharadhipathi Ven. Thantirimale Chandrarathana Nayaka Thera who was highly interested in pioneering the project, told the Daily News that the President, Prime Minister, Mahaweli Development, Agriculture and Trade Minister Chamal Rajapaksa and State Minister of Irrigation and Rural Development Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena were briefed about the delay in commencing construction and the response was satisfactory.

The Prelate said funds were being allocated and an environmental impact study report has been made enabling to start construction in January 2020.

The Ven. Thera said Minister of Environment, Wildlife, Land and Land Development S.M. Chandrasena has also forwarded the matter to the Government. This project addresses the acute shortage of drinking water and around 40,000 acres in the Mannar and Anuradhapura Districts can be cultivated in both Yala and Maha cultivation seasons from this proposed reservoir.

In the meantime, farmers in the Yan Oya area are demanding the President, Prime Minister and Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa to commission the Anuradhapura Yan Oya Reservoir project of which the construction work is fully completed including the reservoir holding a water capacity of 149,000-acre feet and its left and right bank main canals. However, the reservoir is spilling though it has not been ceremonially opened.

The official opening of the reservoir project has been delayed for nearly one year on no justifiable grounds. The destitute farmer families in the locality were charging that the management was delaying the commissioning of the reservoir to hide their incompetence and inefficiency in finalizing the payment of compensation amounting to Rs. 5,000 million and allocating them an alternative muddy land for livelihood.

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Water level of Malwathu Oya on the rise (11:07)

The Department of Irrigation has warned that the water level of the Yan Oya is currently rising to ‘Minor Flood Level’ at Tanthirimale Area due to the prevailing heavy rainfall.

Accordingly, the people living in low-level areas of these rivers have been advised to move to safer locations due to the threat of floods.


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