Youth should be empowered in emerging districts – MP Ajith Rajapakse | Daily News

Youth should be empowered in emerging districts – MP Ajith Rajapakse

Some of the CSR activities carried out by Member of Parliament Hambantota District Ajith Rajapakse. H. Dias Bandaranayake who assisted these programmes looks on. Picture by Saliya Ruapsinghe
Some of the CSR activities carried out by Member of Parliament Hambantota District Ajith Rajapakse. H. Dias Bandaranayake who assisted these programmes looks on. Picture by Saliya Ruapsinghe

Developing districts like Hambantota needs more initiatives to empower youth and create more jobs said Member of Parliament for Hambantota District Ajith Nishantha Rajapakse.

A former member of Ambalantota Divisional Council and the Southern Provincial Council for 20 years, he said there is an urgent need in the Hambantota District for rural empowerment. Due to the lack of skilled jobs in the area people come to Colombo looking for greener pastures damaging the rural fabric.

MP Hambantota District
 Ajith Rajapakse 

“We need to start mass employment projects like Apparel factories and more Call/BPO Centers which would offer youth more employment.”

Since tourism is opening up thanks to initiatives taken by former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga, we now want to train youth as Chinese guides for future demands and hope to seek assistance from the Chinese Embassy to conduct online classes for youth.

He said that he is also looking at seeking assistance from the Vocational Training Authority or the German Tech (CGTTI) to commence motor engineering classes for youth as both these projects have huge potential to benefit self-employment schemes drawing high returns. For both these projects I will provide classroom space.”

Politicians drop their focus

Rajapaksa contested the 2001 Parliamentary Election as one of the People’s Alliance candidates in the Hambantota District but failed to get elected. He contested the 2015 Parliamentary election as one of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) candidates from the Hambantota District but failed to get elected after coming fifth amongst the UPFA candidates. He contested the 2020 Parliamentary Election as a Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna electoral alliance candidate from the Hambantota District and was elected to Parliament.

“Under the present parliamentary PR system if you want to enter Parliament from the provincial level one has to make a lot of changes and adopt new strategies. For this it took me 10 years of learning the “Hard Way.”

He opined that through his experience he found that most of the local politicians drop their focus on their constituency soon after the election victory and only get active when another election is announced.

Rajapaksa said that if one is to succeed in politics they have to nurse their ‘Ward’ continuously to be among the people all the time. “I do this regularly and last week I lunched a series of CSR initiatives”. He said that he was a Provincial Councillor representing SLPP from Hambantota for 20 years and he was always with the community.

To appreciate the Grade 5 Scholarship examination results of 10 students who excelled from Ambalantota Divisional Council area, he opened accounts at the DFCC Bank for ten students with Rs. 10,000 each.

In addition wheel chairs and dry rations to 100 families were also provided. As there was scarcity of chairs at the Grama Seva office in the area he also donated chairs to it.

Mega investments projects

He said entering Parliament offers a lot of privileges and also responsibilities which can all be used towards the empowerment of the people in the area.

“Being in politics in Hambantota for over two decades I have observed that other than the huge amount of development done by the Rajapaksa administration which includes the building of the Hambantota Port, Mattala Airport, (MRIA) Ranminitenna tele cinema village, Nature park, Safari Park, Korean assisted convention center, Solar and Wind power parks, Suriyawewa international Cricket Stadium, Racing tracks, ultra-modern hospital mega highways and extension of the rail link to Beliatta (first extension after a century) no such development ever came to Hambantota under previous Governments.

These mega investments positive ripple effects were picked up by the private sector and corporate Laugfs, LOLC, ICT companies have exploited them to setup Gas processing plants, and Solar and IT parks.

Rajapakse said that it is very sad to note that with the change of government in 2015, the Yahapalana government cold shouldered these projects, considering them ‘eye sores’.

The step motherly treatment for these national treasures were started by dumping paddy at MRIA and then going to the leasing out the Hambantota Port for 75 years.

Artificial publicity for housing

He said the housing projects which received more artificial publicity though heavily paid advertising started by the present opposition leader Sajith Premadasa have proved to major burdens for the recipients of these houses. “I am not saying this because he (Premadasa) is in the Opposition, but I have firsthand experience of comments made by the recipients of these houses.”

Under the housing program only a partly built house was offered and the villagers have to take loans or move to pawning to complete the rest. In addition in some instances no proper deeds were given while some hosing schemes were affected by access roads to racing tracks and other development projects.

“We are now in the process of correcting them and offering them fresh deeds.”

He also said people want more tangible things rather than offering sewing machines. “Even when it comes to repairing roads people demand carpeted rods which will last longer.”