US Army’s Pacific Region head, General Robert Brown and his delegation currently in Sri Lanka met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees yesterday. Acting US Ambassador Robert Hilton, US Embassy Political Affairs Officer Joanna Princhett, Army Commander Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake and PM’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake were present.
The Moragahakanda- Kalu Ganga project will spur a massive development drive to rejuvenate the country’s agricultural hinterland, President Maithripala Sirisena declared in Laggala yesterday, presiding over the water filling ceremony of the Kalu Ganga reservoir. “Today is the happiest day in my life,” said President Sirisena, adding that the water scarcity faced by the Rajarata inhabitants will now be a thing of the past. “Someone could ask me whether the day I became President was not the happiest day in my life.
The water filling of Kalu Ganga under the Kalu Ganga- Moragahakanda project was inaugurated by the President Maithripala Sirisena today (23rd).Kalu Ganga reservoir will be created by blocking the Kalu River at Laggala and Pallegama areas and the capacity of the reservoir is 248 million cubic meters, stated the President’s Media Division.
Sri Lanka, primarily an agricultural nation, marks a significant milestone today (July 23) when the waters of the last but largest reservoir of multipurpose Mahaweli Project at Kalu Ganga will receive waters from the river to irrigate parched dry lands in the Rajarata, Wayamba, Central and Eastern Provinces on one hand and faraway Vanni in the Northern Province on the other.
Water filling of the Kalu Ganga - Moragahakanda reservoir, which is six times larger than the gigantic Parakrama Samudraya, constructed centuries ago by King Parakramabahu the Great to make our country self sufficient in rice, takes place today with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. This also marks completion of the Mahaweli Multipurpose Project of which the first project at Polgolla in the Central Province by the then Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike on January 8, 1976.
Indeed, Mahaweli is truly the biggest multipurpose national project, which was implemented by different governments during the last four decades. The project first planned and feasibility studies were done by the governments of Dudley Senanayake and S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, was initiated by Mrs Bandaranaike in 1976 at Polgolla. However, the bulk of the work was done during the J.R.Jayewardene period, during which the 30-year project was speeded up to be completed in five years under the able leadership of Minister Gamini Dissanayake.
Although the bulk of the work was done during the UNP regime under the accelerated Mahaweli programme, the last phase-that of the Kalu Ganga-Moragahakanda project was considerably delayed due to various reasons. Maithripala Srisena, watched these developments first as a youth belonging to a Mahaweli farmer family and later as a novice Member of Parliament representing Polonnaruwa, the cradle of rice farming.
Much later in 2007, he succeeded in obtaining the government approval and initiated the Kalu Ganga-Moragahakanda project, which was a dream vision of his. Immediately thereafter, he ran into difficulties starting with non availability of funds. Undeterred, he continued his struggle and finally he could take effective steps to accelerate the project when he became the Executive President three and a half years ago.
Today, water filling of the Kalu Ganga reservoir will commence at the Kalu Ganga Dam, which is a large gravity dam, and the second vital component of the Kalu Ganga Moragahakanda Project that was constructed at a cost of Rs. 2,300 million, which is almost three times the entire cost of the previous projects of the accelerated Mahaweli Multipurpose Project.The capacity of Kalu Ganga reservoir is 265 million cubic meters and will divert 100 million cubic meters a year to the Moragahakanda Reservoir. The reservoir will irrigate 3,000 hectares in the Kaluganga basin.
Water from both, the Moragahakanda and Kalu Ganga reservoirs, will be primarily used to support agricultural needs to an area of at least 81,422 hectares. This will increase rice production by 81% or 109,000 tons, amounting to an estimated monetary benefit of US$1.67 million, annually. In addition to irrigation of land, water from the Moragahakanda Reservoir generates 25-megawatt power at the Moragahakanda Hydroelectric Power Station. The Kalu Ganga irrigation scheme is a historic turning point of the country’s agricultural and irrigation development component, since the time of our great ancient kings.
Once the Moragahakanda scheme is connected to the Kaluganga project, the water scarcity in North Central, Eastern and North Western areas including the North would be solved to a greater extent. It has been estimated that by 2019 under this Moragahakanda - Kaluganga irrigation project, an extent of 185,000 hectares would receive adequate water for cultivation both in the Yala and Maha seasons.
Leading the Government delegation to rollout Enterprise Sri Lanka in Jaffna yesterday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reminisced about the glory days of the Northern district, saying it was only rivalled by the district of Colombo before three decades of war destroyed the socio-economic fabric in the region.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that easing visa requirements for tourists is an important step in boosting Sri Lanka’s rapidly developing tourism industry.Speaking at the Hotel Show Colombo 2018 at the BMICH yesterday, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the basic requirements of entry into the country must be streamlined. This should include the process of entry and reception at the airport.
President Maithripala Sirisena today assured that he would not change the decision taken by the government to implement the death penalty for drug smugglers under any circumstance and despite the objections raised by some factions against the move. He expressed these views while addressing a ceremony held in Polonnaruwa to commence the construction works of the National Nephrology Hospital.
President Maithripala Sirisena who is on a three-day visit to Georgia to the participate in the Open Govt Partnership Global Summit and the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili met in Tbilisi yesterday (18th July).
Action will be taken against any minister if found to be protecting underworld leaders, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.The Prime Minister made this comment replying to Joint Opposition MP Udaya Padma Shantha Gunasekara who queried on newspaper reports which said that a minister has employed five underworld leaders as his private bodyguards.
President Maithripala Sirisena said that forests provide many socio-economic benefits, including food, energy and shelter, which are basic human needs and to sustain the products and services that help meet these and other needs, forests must be sustainably managed.
President Maithripala Sirisena arrived at Fuimicino International Airport in Rome yesterday (15) to attend the 24th session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) and the 6th World Forest Week organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations scheduled to begin today.