Feb 07, Colombo: Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that a comprehensive plan for the development of the Southern Province will be presented to the country in March.
A discussion on the development of the South was held at Temple Trees today (07) under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Secretary to the Prime Minister Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to Law and Order and Southern Development Ministry PD Pathmasiri Jayamanne, Chairman of the Southern Development Authority Shirantha Herath and several other officials participated in the discussion.
Expressing his views at the discussion, the Prime Minister said the main plan for the development of the Southern Province was discussed at the meeting and they hope to launch the plan in March.
Mainly the purpose of the plan is to industrialize the Southern Province. Plans are being made to introduce the second largest industrialization next to Colombo in the South, Hambantota and Ruhuna areas. Therefore, along with the industrialization of Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts in the Western Province, Sri Lanka's export production will be increased through Southern industrialization, the Premier said
"We hope to open up large tourism zones in Galle and Matara for the export economy. Large tourist zones of 1000 or 500 acres, bigger than the islands of Maldives, will be built. This includes ports, airports, power stations and oil refineries. "
The southern development program also includes the Sinharaja development program. So far the development in the South has been limited to the coastal areas only and areas such as Hiniduma, Deniyaya and Rakwana have not received the benefits of development of Galle and Matara, the Premier pointed out. "At least the development of the Akuressa area has not taken place," he added.
"Therefore, we expect an upgrade under the new program. Under the first phase, steps will be taken to improve the natural economy surrounding the Sinharaja forest while developing the tourism industry, trade zones and trade in Galle, Matara, Hambantota and Wellawaya areas," he said adding that an eco-friendly economy will be developed around Sinharaja forest and new income generation avenues will be created.
He added that a special eco-friendly tourism zone will formed in between Deniyaya and Rakwana protecting the natural environment.
The Premier said all these measures are included in the Master Plan of the Southern Development Program and it has already been started.
Programs of the Dedduwa Tourist Zone and the Hambantota Trade Zone and the Matara program have already commenced, and all of this will bring massive development to the South.
The Prime Minister said that under the program they hope to do a major revival in the plantation industries and agricultural sector that have not seen any improvement for many years. New cultivations will be started while assistance will be provided for small tea estates.
The program will be jointly implemented by the Ministry of Southern Development and the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs.
Discussions with all relevant ministries have been completed and a new office was opened in Hambanthota to implement the plan. "We hope to present this program to the country next month," he said.