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* Sri Lankan President instruct officials to address shortcomings in Matale district
Wed, Aug 13, 2014, 12:00 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 12, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today instructed the relevant officials implement a program to enhance the education and IT literacy rate of the people in the Matale district.

Addressing the Matale district progress evaluation meeting held Tuesday in the Municipal Council Auditorium in Matale, the President questioned why the literacy rate in the Matale district has fallen to 88.9 percent when the national rate is 92.7 percent.

The literacy rate of the district remains low as the students do not regularly attend schools, the officials have informed the President.

President Rajapaksa has instructed the District Secretary to fill all teacher vacancies in schools and come up with a special program to attract and retain school-age children to complete their studies.

Addressing another pressing issue of drinking water in the district, the President said that a plan is underway to provide pure and safe drinking water to all households by the year 2018. Stressing the need to safeguard the water resources throughout the island, the President said the government has focused on diverting all rivers and streams to irrigate agricultural lands.

The President instructed officials to encourage rural women to start self-employment projects in order to enhance their livelihoods.

During the meeting it has been pointed out that fruit, pepper, and big onion production in the district has increased substantially since 2005.

Emphasizing that all should extend their support for development programs disregarding political differences, President Rajapaksa requested the public representatives and politicians not to mix-up development with party politics.

The President also opened a cooperative trade complex in Matale town today. The trade complex is one of the 1000 mega cooperative cities planned to be opened in cities across the island to provide food items at low prices to the public.

Minister Johnston Fernando, Central Province Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa and Chie Minister Sarath Ekanayake also joined the President.

(Photos by Nalin Hewapathirana)

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