Feb 13, Colombo: “Village life should also be beautiful as well as the village,” President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said today emphasizing that there is no harm to the rural environment from the villagers and that it is the villagers who have protected the village environment so far.
The President states that he does not see the cultivation activities that have been carried out traditionally since the time of the ancestors as a harm to the environment.
The President expressed these views while participating in the 10th program of the 'Gama Samaga Pilisadara' (Discussion with the Village) held at Meemure Primary School in the Ududumbara Divisional Secretariat Division in the Kandy District Saturday (13).
The President visited Kaikawala Junior School to attend the public meeting and had a cordial chat with the students, teachers and parents and inquired about the shortcomings of the school.
The President opened the smart classroom donated by SLT Mobitel to Kaikawala Junior School, and handed over the laptops, high speed internet facilities provided to Meemure Primary School and the televisions and connections provided by Dialog to the Principal.
The President also participated in the inaugural tour of the newly added bus service of the Sri Lanka Transport Board on the Udumbara road in Meemure.
The “Discussion with the Village” program was launched on September 25, 2020 in the Badulla District. Past programs were organized covering Matale, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura, Ampara, Polonnaruwa and Kalutara, Moneragala and Kegalle districts.
It is the intention of the President to meet the people of the remote villages outside the city who have not been given due attention so far, and inquire into their problems to bring them to the notice of the officials and provide solutions at the same time. Problems that take time to resolve will be noted to be addressed later. The aim of the program is to reach out to the people of the village, ask their questions and find solutions through their own suggestions.
The village of Meemure is located at one end of the Kandy District, 40 km from the Kandy-Mahiyangana road to Hunnasgiriya and 35 km from there to the Badulla and Matale districts.
According to legends, the village of Meemure was the residence of King Rawana. Some believe that the village of Maha Pabbata mentioned during the reign of King Maha Ravana is now Meemure.
The village of Meemure is also considered to be the heart of the Knuckles Reserve, a World Heritage Site. Karambaketiya, Kumbukkolla, Pussela, Kaikawala and Meemure Grama Niladhari Divisions belong to the Ududumbara Divisional Secretariat.
These villages have 378 families and a population of 1127. Paddy farming is the main livelihood of the villagers. Others are engaged in the cultivation of minor export crops including pepper and kithul related industries.
The people explained to the President that the main problems they were facing were the underdevelopment of the road system and the lack of clear ownership of cultivated land.
Responding to complaints regarding road difficulties, the President instructed the Secretary to the Ministry to repair the two bridges on the Meemure - Hunnasgiriya road and complete the development of the road as soon as possible.
It was also decided to expedite the repair of byroads in the village including the road from Mediwaka to Pallewela, from Dombagahapitiya to the 35th mile post and from Karambaketiya to Huluketadelagaha.
The President instructed the officials to take steps to attach a doctor to the Central Dispensary in Kaikawela, to provide an ambulance, to fill the medical vacancies at the Ududumbara Hospital and to develop other infrastructure facilities.
President Rajapaksa drew attention to the potential of the Meemure area for the promotion of tourism and pointed out the need to improve facilities for adventure water sports and tourism.
The President directed the attention of the officials to identify tourist activities including mountaineering and tourist attractions and provide training to the locals to enter the tourism industry, as well as the provision of ATM facilities in Meemure village by a state bank.
Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Minister of Agriculture pointed out that Meemure could attract the attention of tourists by encouraging farmers to use organic fertilizers in the cultivation of vegetables and fruits.
When cardamom cultivation in the area was discussed, the Minister of Agriculture was tasked to appoint a committee to investigate the matter and take formal action. It was also decided to look into the reduction in the pepper yield.
The President directed that immediate steps be taken to provide a quick solution to the land issues in the area and repair and activate the electric fence preventing elephants.
President Rajapaksa instructed to alleviate the teacher shortage in Meemure - Kumbukgolla - Kaikawala schools and to develop infrastructure facilities including computer rooms and libraries.
It was also decided to address the shortcomings in pre-schools and Sunday schools in the area. The President also paid special attention to the construction of a teachers' house common to all three schools.
Reconstruction of canal culverts in villages and solution of drinking water problem have been identified as two other basic needs of the area. It was also decided to expedite the improvement of communication and internet facilities.
The President instructed the Secretary to the Ministry to pay attention to the drinking water problem in several villages in the Ududumbara area including Pussela, Kaikawala, Hasalaka and Weragama and provide proper solutions.
He also noted that the drinking water requirements of all schools in the country should be met expeditiously and instructed to repair the Huluketadelagaha, Madakumbura, Naela, Kodayangale and Pagirimana anicuts and 06 tanks.
Ministers Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Keheliya Rambukwella, Governor Lalith U. Gamage, State Ministers Dilum Amunugama, Lohan Ratwatte, and Anuradha Jayaratne, parliamentarians Wasantha Yapa Bandara, Gunathilake Rajapaksa, and Udaya Chaminda Kirindigoda, Chief Adviser to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Former Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake people’s representatives, Secretaries to Ministries, Heads of Government Institutions and the Security Forces participated in the 'Discussion with the Village' program held at the Meemure Primary School premises.