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* President visits fire-gutted town of Pundulu Oya in Sri Lanka's tea country
Sat, Feb 22, 2014, 12:16 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 21, Nuwara Eliya: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today visited the Pundalu Oya town in Nuwara Eliya to look into the situation of the people who were affected by a fire that broke out early Friday.

At least 31 shops were completely destroyed by the early morning fire that was believed to be originated in a tire shop. The cause for the fire has not been ascertained yet.

The President inspected the damage and directed the officials of the Urban Development Authority to commence rebuilding activities according to a proper plan as soon as possible. He pointed out to the officials that haphazard constructions were the main reason for the fire to spread and cause so much damage.

He made inquiries into the welfare of civilians who were affected by the fire and distributed dry rations, clothes and several essential items to the displaced people.

Around 132 persons belonging to 32 families have been displaced by the fire. They are currently sheltered at the Kotmale Pradeshiya Sabha auditorium.

Ministers C.B. Ratnayake, Arumugam Thondaman, Deputy Minister Mutthu Sivalingam and Chief Minister of Central Province Sarath Ekanayake also accompanied the President.

(Photos by Nalin Hewapathirana)

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