Ethugalpura, a developed city soon | Daily News


Ethugalpura, a developed city soon

The view of the city from the Elephant Rock
The view of the city from the Elephant Rock

Ethugalpura in the North Western Province (NWP) has two administrative districts, namely Kurunegala and Puttalam, in an extent of 7,888.2 square kilometres. This is 12 percent of the total extent of the island.

The NWP has four main waterways - Mee Oya, Deduru Oya, Maha Oya and Kala Oya. The NWP is the third-largest agricultural land in the country. Paddy is cultivated in two seasons - Yala and Maha. Kurunegala is the leading paddy-producing district in Sri Lanka. The chena cultivation is also a prominent money-making industry in the NWP.

The economy of the NWP is mainly based on industries associated with coconut cultivation. Of them, the coir industry takes a prominent place. Coir dust, which is exported mainly to the Middle-East countries, is a major foreign exchange earner in Wayamba. In addition, poultry farming has developed a major industry in the NWP. Poultry feed is also manufactured in special factories. It adds to the country’s National economy.

Cut flowers and foliage plants industry, garment industry and artificial flower-making industry are also good businesses in Wayamba. All these industries solve the unemployment issue in the area to a great deal. The capital city of Kurunegala is Ethugalpuraya. The lake around which many hotels and restaurants are located adds beauty to the cityscape. If you watch around from the top of the elephant rock, the whole city can be seen.

The Janakala Kendraya which borders the Kurunegala–Kandy Highway also gives you an amazing experience. It displays ornaments, mementos, handicrafts, and jewelry made of coconut husks and shells. Most of the people in Wayamba depend on Ayurvedic or traditional indigenous medicines, especially in the treatment of rheumatic disorders and snakebites.

According to rural folks, the first king of Kurunegala, King Buwanekabahu II ruled the country for seven years. He built a temple for the tooth relic and a royal audience hall. Recently, this royal audience hall was destroyed by the Kurunegala Municipal Council under the instructions of the Mayor. The case is still pending in the Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court.

The Kurunegala Clock Tower which is located in the heart of Kurunegala, was built in 1922 in memory of the soldiers from the North Western Province who participated in the First World War and died. Nearly 212 garment factories are there in Wayamba and more than 6,000 youths are working in these factories. About 850 farmer families are engaged in industries related to dairy, poultry, cattle and sewing in the NWP, according to statistics of the Livestock and Rural Community Department Ministry.

Kurunegala Government Agent R.M. Rathnayake has given instructions to agricultural authorities in the Kurunegala District with regard to the development of progressive agricultural schemes, preparation of compost manure and the upliftment of agriculture-based youth committees in rural areas in the district.

In addition, 7,000 barren paddy lands in Wayamba have been brought under the plough once again and two fertilizer stores are being constructed in Galgamuwa and Mahananneriya for the convenience of farmers.

By December this year, with the opening of the Central Expressway that runs through Kurunegala city, the transport system in Wayamba would undergo a major transformation. Three tourist information centres are located in Kurunegala, Badagamuwa and Yapahuwa. Wayamba has archaeological sites, and birds and wildlife sanctuaries. Such areas should be developed as tourist hotspots. A tourist board official said this area will soon become an attractive tourist destination since many investors are eyeing Kurunegala at the moment.

Large, medium and small projects related to the construction of roads, tanks, buildings and houses, electrification, irrigation, and agriculture have been implemented in the province. Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation State Minister Seetha Arambepola said several steps have been taken to produce skilful technicians and a number of youth programmes are implemented to provide vocational training to youth who do not wish to pursue higher education. Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said the roads in Nikaweratiya, Wariyapola, Kobeigane, Rasnayakapura, Anamaduwa, Bingiriya, Rideegama, Mawathagama and Polgahawela will be carpeted within this year. He also said plans are afoot to upgrade the Kurunegala market to a well-established economic centre under the guidance of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Under Phase II of the Central Expressway Project, the stretch from Mirigama to Kurunegala is expected to be completed before December 2020. The required land area for this gigantic project has already been acquired by the Road Development Authority (RDA) under the Land Acquisition Act and payments of compensation to the affected parties are to be settled by the Land Acquisition and Resettlement Committee. This is the second flyover that is being built in the Kurunegala District.

The plans for this flyover were drawn up in 1996 and surveys were carried out by the SLFP Government. The previous Government could not complete these projects during their time. Had the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government continued after 2015, the country could have witnessed development in many fields.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as a leader who understands the pulse of people took steps to re-implement the abandoned projects. The Wayamba Ela Project provides a solution for the water shortage that occurs during Yala and Maha seasons. Under this project, another eight large tanks and 353 small tanks would be developed to facilitate irrigation of 12,500 farmlands. This project will provide direct benefits to 13,500 farmer families and indirect benefits to another 8,000 farmer families.

Construction of 353 tanks in the NWP will also commence under the leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Accordingly, 91 tanks in the Ahatuwewa Divisional Secretariat (DS) area, 119 tanks in Polpithigama, 107 tanks in Mahawa, 30 tanks in Galgamuwa and a tank in the Palagala DS division and five tanks in Dambulla will be developed. The people of Wayamba appreciated this programme initiated by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Wayamba Ela is the seventh largest project in Sri Lanka, built to carry Mahaweli waters to the areas in the Kurunegala District that suffer from a severe shortage of water. The Wayamba Ela Project Director told the media personnel who visited the project site that 60 percent of the construction work has been completed and it is scheduled to be completed before 2025. The project will be completed in two stages. The first stage involved the distribution of excess water of the Nalanda Reservoir received by the Wemedilla Reservoir to the Wemedilla Scheme and Devahuwa Reservoir through proper canal ways and other development work, and to take Nalanda and Mahaweli waters to the Kurunegala District for storage by building canal ways and the development of tanks.

The second stage involved the distribution of water diverted to the Kurunegala District up to Polpithigama, Ehetuwewa, Galagamuwa, Ambalanpola and Mahawa by building canals and other development work needed to direct the Mahaweli waters received from the Bowatenna Reservoir to the Dambulu Oya to the canals built under the first stage from the vicinity of the Wemedilla Reservoir. Those who were displaced due to the Wayamba Ela Project were given the option to select plots of land for their resettlement.

The construction work is being carried out under the direct supervision of the Irrigation Department. Wayamba will be developed under the guidance of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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