Farmers ask for speedy completion | Daily News
Wayamba Ela project

Farmers ask for speedy completion

The construction work of the Wayamba Ela Project is going at a very slow pace, consultant engineer of the project W.M.H.T. Bandara said.

He was speaking at a discussion held at his Dambulla Office with the representatives of several farmer organizations from the Polpithigama area who had come to find out the reasons for the undue delay of work on the project.

He said the work on this project which started in 2015 is due to be completed in 2022, but he is not sure whether even the work on Stage I could be completed within this period.

The farmers told the media that they had requested authorities for a long period of time to develop the Wayamba Ela enabling them to cultivate during the dry season. However, it could only commence in 2015. The government elected in 2015 did not seem to want to speed up the project.

The Wayamba Ela project consultant engineer revealed that it has been planned to develop eight large tanks and 300 small tanks under the project which would facilitate irrigation for cultivation of 12,000 farmlands in both seasons without any shortage. The project will provide direct dividends to 13,000 farmer families and indirect benefits to another 80,000 farmer families. This will also help to resolve the acute drinking water shortage leading to the

proliferation of kidney disease in the Polpithigama and Galgamuwa areas.

“Progress review meetings should be held monthly if the work is to be expedited. Acquisition of lands for the project has not yet been finalised in certain areas and no compensation has been paid for some acquired lands.”

He further said that officers of the Survey Department, Valuation Department and relevant divisional secretariats should attend the progress review meetings and they should be granted necessary allowances, vehicles and offices by the responsible authorities.

When the Director of the Wayamba Ela Project Engineer Ashoka Perera was contacted, he said that the main cause of the delay in work is the problem of acquisition of lands. “Some landowners do not like to leave their lands where they have been living for generations. This is a sensitive issue. Some landowners have taken legal action against the acquiring of their lands while some other owners say that the compensation for their lands is not sufficient. Anyway we hope to finalise the land acquisition process by September 2021,” he said.

Representatives of the farmer organizations are hopeful that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will look into the matter and take action to expedite the work on this project.