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* Government farms rented out to private companies in Sri Lanka not used properly
Mon, May 3, 2010, 09:35 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 03, Colombo: Most of the private companies that have rented 38 government farms in the Mahaweli area have not paid the rent since 1995, says Minister of Irrigation and Water Resource Development Nimal Siripala de Silva.

Many of these companies have neglected the farm lands and the Minister pointed out that only 5% of the lands are used for cultivation.

The Minister said that it was a waste of resources in a time the people of the third generation of the Mahaweli farmers facing severe shortage of land for cultivation.

Minister de Silva said that 44% of country's lands belong to Mahaweli zones. He says that the lands will be retained by the Ministry from the rent defaulters and will be used for cultivation.

The Mahaweli Ganga Development Programme, the largest integrated rural development multi-purpose programme ever undertaken in Sri Lanka was based on water resources of Mahaweli and six allied river basins.

Main objectives of the programme were to increase agricultural production, Hydro-power generation, employment opportunities, flood control, and settlement of landless poor in the area.

The programme originally planned for the implementation over a 35-year period was brought to acceleration in 1979, with the incorporation of Mahaweli Authority.

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