The UNP which did not allow a subsidy of even Rs. 150 for a hundred-weight of fertiliser is now shedding crocodile tears on behalf of the farming community, said the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, Lands and Livestock Development, Anura Kumara Dissanayake inaugurating the Kekiriobada reservoir construction work in Hambhantota District.
He said that seventy per cent of the Sri Lankans depended on agriculture. `We granted the fertiliser subsidy when we gained power by incurring a loss.
The present cost of a hundred-weight of fertiliser is Rs. 1,700 but we provide it to the farmer at Rs. 1.150, he said.
When we formed the government the fertile paddy fields had been converted to barren land, the factories that produced various products had been closed down and the tanks had all dried up, he said.
The way the UNF regime conducted it affairs did not suit in the economy of the country, and as such we directed it to maintain a sustainable economy. Now the country is on a new economic path due to the far sighted policies of the UPFA government.
Nine hundred and thirty two tanks had been renovated under the 1000 tank renovation programme last year.
The second stage of renovating 1350 tanks would commence soon. We will not allow a single drop of water to flow into the sea without beeing used for a fruitful purpose.
Weheregala reservoir project construction work too had commenced, the Minister added.
`Several foundation stones had been laid for the construction of the Kekiri Obada reservoir. We have not come to lay another foundation but we have come with machines, engineers and labourers to commence construction work,` he added.
`Within a period of three years a 1000-foot dam will be built across Kekiri Obada reservoi,` he declared.
The drinking water problem of Katuwana Beliatte Walasmulla Tengalle would be solved. 55,000 acres of paddy lands could be cultivated with the water of the Kekiriobada reservoir when the construction work was completed, he added.
The Weheragala reservoir would come into existence with the construction of a dam across Menikgaga.
A collosal sum of money amounting to Rs. 27 billion has been allocated for the Kekiriobada reservoir project while Rs. 27 billion has been allocated for Weheragala project.
A hamper harvest of paddy has been reaped this season resulting in a harvest of 200,0000 metric tons of paddy. Sri Lanka government has stored a quantity of rice 60,000 metric tons. Never in its history had the government stores had such a great quantity of rice. `We have now been able to turn out value added products from the surplus stocks of rice,` he said.
Deputy Minister of Urban Development of Water Supply Mahinds Amaraweera Deputy Minister of Fishers Nihal Galappaththy of parliamentarian Vijitha Ranaweera were also present.