Aug 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that people should decide whether to continue with the development programs which were implemented during the last four years or go backwards.
The Premier made this observation in Kandy this morning addressing a function held to declare open the Cultural Park at the old Bogambara Prison premises and commence the second phase of modernization of the old prison.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who pointed out that the Bogambara Prison, which had been a prison, has now been transformed into a center of freedom, emphasized that it is up to the public to decide whether to go ahead with that freedom or go back to the 'prison' in the past.
The Prime Minister also disclosed that plans are underway to develop the Kandy City parallel to the historic Nara City of Japan with the assistance of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The Prime Minister said that after the Easter bomb attacks, the government has taken steps to rebuild the country's economy without letting it slide and thereby restore the country and boost tourism.
An open air theatre has been established to present cultural items unique to the up-country. 200 million rupees has been spent for the constructions of the first phase. The project is implemented by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development.
Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Patali Champika Ranawaka said that the Kandy city will be developed while preserving its historic heritage. Accordingly, plans are afoot to make Katugastota a commercial city, the Minister further said.
Lakshman Kiriella, Minister of Public Enterprises, Upcountry Heritage and Kandy Development and Leader of the House, said that the development of the Kandy City will be carried out on the advice of the Chief Prelates.
The Prime Minister also launched the second phase of the Bogambara Prison modernization project on the occasion.
The 11 acre Bogambara prison was relocated to Pallekele area according to the Kandy city development plan. Accordingly steps were taken to modernize the prison land under several stages.
Under the first phase, renovations were done to the external area outside the prison at a cost of Rs. 100 million. An international information center and a public garden have been set up in that area. There is also an outdoor theater to present cultural features that are unique to the hill country. The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development.
Maha sangha, Minister Malik Samarawickrema, State Minister Lucky Jayawardene, Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara, Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama, Mayor of Kandy Municipal Council R. Arnold, Central Province Governor Keerthi Tennakoon and a large number of politicians and government officials were also present.