Renovation of tanks to begin on Independence Day | Daily News

Renovation of tanks to begin on Independence Day

Minister Chamal Rajapaksa speaks at the Rural Infrastructure Development Committee meeting in Kandy. Picture by Asela Kuruluwansa
Minister Chamal Rajapaksa speaks at the Rural Infrastructure Development Committee meeting in Kandy. Picture by Asela Kuruluwansa

A programme to renovate one selected irrigation tank from each Divisional Secretariat Division in the country will begin on Independence Day, Irrigation Minister and Defence, Home Affairs and Disaster Management State Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said.

He said that plans are afoot to rehabilitate 5,000 tanks in the next two years with the contribution of the public sector without awarding contracts to the private sector.

He was speaking at the Rural Infrastructure Development Committee meeting held at the Kandy District Secretariat Auditorium on Tuesday (12).

He also said that this time it was decided to carry out the reconstruction of tanks with the full involvement of the public sector as there is experience of irregularities in the handing over of this task to the private sector.

Minister Chamal Rajapaksa also stated that this tank rehabilitation programme will be launched to cover every village. “There are about 60,000 tanks in our country and our aim is to rehabilitate all of them within the next five years. Here we use only local currency and expertise. Through this programme, we hope to address a number of issues, including the development of the rural agrarian economy and meeting the drinking water needs of rural communities.

In addition, the banks of 103 rivers have been strengthened under the ‘Save the Rivers programme’. Steps are being taken to remove unauthorized constructions in the vicinity. Unauthorized constructions are common on riverbanks. Roads are flooded during rainy seasons due to the construction of buildings by crossing tributaries.

Central Province Governor attorney-at-law Lalith U. Gamage stated that a number of unauthorized constructions have been carried out on the banks of the Mahaweli River. “It takes about a year to get an order from the court to demolish and remove illegal constructions under the Urban Development Authority Act. During this period, the person concerned has completed the construction of the building. The Act should be amended so that an order can be obtained soon,” he said. Kandy District Coordinating Committee Chairman attorney-at-law Wasantha Yapa Bandara, said that many problems have arisen due to unauthorized constructions in Akurana. “The Kandy–Matale road is completely inundated during the rainy season. The only solution to this problem now is through Akurana. Instead of the dilapidated road, take an alternative route. Hotels have been built in the middle of the Mahaweli River. It is questionable regarding what the authorities have done during the past years.”

State Minister Nalaka Godahewa said that a large amount of waste is emitted to the sea. “When we look at this, it is clear that 80 percent of the waste that comes into the sea, including plastics, comes from the centre of the country. A programme is being implemented in this regard with the involvement of local government bodies.”

Irrigation State Minister Anuradha Jayaratne said, “It is our responsibility to provide electricity and water to the houses built in the plantation areas with the assistance of Indian loans. We agreed as soon as the agreement was presented to us. Many such houses have been opened in the plantation areas. None of them have been provided with electricity yet.”

State Ministers Nimal Lanza, Siripala Gamlath, Indika Anuruddha, Central Province Chief Secretary Gamini Rajaratne, Kandy District Secretary Chandana Tennakoon and others were also present on the occasion.