July 05, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government plans to take urgent measures to provide relief to the drought-stricken people in the districts of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa in the North Central Province.
The Cabinet of ministers during its regular meeting on Wednesday has discussed launching of an urgent development programme to uplift the living standards of the people in the Province.
Under the development programme the Cabinet has decided to approve the dredging of major irrigation reservoirs to increase their water retention capacities, renovation work of canal systems and agricultural wells, and major irrigation works in the region.
The Cabinet has also considered providing water pumps to locations where necessary and seed paddy free of charge to affected farmers, for the next cultivation season.
The government will engage members of affected families between the ages of 18 and 60 in renovation work in the respective areas and make cash payments for the work done.
The Cabinet granted approval to a proposal made by Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife S.M. Chandrasena to appoint an Officials' Committee to oversee the expeditious implementation of the relief measures.
The proposed Committee will consist of the Secretaries of the Ministries of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, Economic Development, Agriculture, Agrarian Services and Wildlife, and Disaster Management.