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    President boosted country’s image in Asia - Basil at Gami Diriya meeting Featured

    October 12, 2014

    “Not only did President Mahinda Rajapaksa awaken the country but also restored its freedom and strengthened the village so that Sri Lanka could be on par with any other country in Asia”


    Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa made the above observation when he addressed four meetings of persons representing rural organisations in 11 districts under the Gami Diriya project at the Ape Gama complex, Battaramulla. Nearly 4000 Gami Diriya representatives from the Kegalle, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Monaragala, Hambatota, Ratnapura, Galle, Matara, Kurunegala, Badulla and Kalutara attended these meetings.


    Minister Rajapaksa urged them continue their rural development work uninterrupted since the President has decided to allocate funds for the purpose from next year’s Budget.  The Minister assured that no organisation under Gami Diriya would be dissolved. 


    Gami Diriya was launched in Polonnaruwa in 1999 as a pilot project to improve community and livelihood development. According to the agreement reached between the World Bank and the Sri Lanka Government the project was activated in 11 districts through 1,844 rural organisations by September 30, this year. Gami Diriya has introduced 9,400 infrastructure development programmes, through which 433 productivity groups have been formed and created 386,622 livelihood improvement projects. 


    Speaking further the Minister said that Gami Diriya was launched to economically strengthen the village with a loan obtained for the purpose at a time when the country’s economy had almost collapsed resulting from among other reasons the tsunami which claimed many lives and affected the livelihood of the fishing community.


    He recalled that investors avoided the country because of LTTE terrorism.  However after President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power in 2005 he awakened the country by ending the war. Until then there was no way providing electricity, building schools and strengthening household economy in the rural areas.  But the President changed all that and gave to the people all what some persons thought could not be given.  He allocated funds from the People’s Budget to improve conditions in rural areas.


    Minister Rajapaksa added that the President has created the background for Gami Diriya organisations to successfully continue their work even after the period of the agreement with the World Bank ends.


    The Minister alleged that a small group is trying to sabotage thus work for narrow political gains by attempting to deceive the people.


    “No Gami Diriya organisation will be dissolved, he stressed.  They will never be allowed to collapse.  They are owned by the people and it is they who have the right to make decisions on the work of the organisations. They will be encouraged to expedite rural development work and thereby strengthen the community through poverty alleviation.”


    Economic Development Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke, Project Director and Engineer S.K. Liyanage, Additional Project Director (Programmes), Dr.W.G. Somaratne and representatives of rural organisations also spoke. (SDF)


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    Last modified on Sunday, 12 October 2014 23:43

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