Govt will never abandon rural development - President
COLOMBO: President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated that despite
the recent gruesome LTTE bombings and the resulting carnage, the
Government will never reverse its planned development projects in the
villages in pursuit of a developed and prosperous village.
The President said that when the LTTE is defeated in the North and
the East and is made to bend down on their knees there, the LTTE in
sheer frustration is striving hard to incite and instigate the civilian
polity and antagonise them.
“The people however, will not be antagonised and driven to violence.
Neither will the Government lose its interest in defeating terrorism,”
President Rajapaksa also affirmed that in realisation of the utmost
importance in the country’s poverty eradication programme, he will never
ever abolish the Samurdhi project, but will further consolidate it,
retaining it under his own ministry.
President Rajapaksa made this affirmation when he presided at a host
of ceremonies pertaining to the Samurdhi Movement, including the
presentation of cheques to the Samurdhi Housing Lottery beneficiaries,
the pinning of the first flag to the President to mark the World
Anti-Smoking and Anti-Alcohol day which falls on May 30, handing over of
ownership of 44 houses to Samurdhi beneficiaries under the ‘Diriya
Piyasa’ programme and the awarding of ‘Sipdora Shichyathva’ scholarships
to 25 students, at Temple Trees yesterday.
“I have much faith in the Samurdhi project. However, there was an
unwarranted phobia created by some quarters that the Samurdhi was to be
scrapped. The Samurdhi will never ever be scrapped. We will further
consolidate it,” the President said.
He however pointed out that if the last Presidential election
differed, based on what was said by the UNP at the election campaign,
there was certainly a possibility of it being scrapped.
Within the last 18 months, 99 per cent of the pledges given in the
‘Mahinda Chintanaya’ has been already fulfilled. The highest budget
allocation this time, has been for the Samurdhi.
“We have increased the Samurdhi subsidy by 50 per cent. A Samurdhi
beneficiary expectant mother receives a ‘Nutritious Pack’ (Poshana Malla).
She receives an enhanced allowance of Rs. 5,000, instead of the rupees
2,000 received earlier.
The number of Scholarships and their values have been doubled. The
‘death Allowance’ too has been doubled to Rs.10,000. The
‘Self-Employment’ loan has also been increased to rupees 100,000,” he
The President pointed out that today Samurdhi has been placed under
the ‘Nation Building’ Ministry and combined with the ‘Jathika Saviya’
Its leadership is in the able hands of inspiring and rural leaders,
in the calibre of Ministers Jagath Pushpakumara of Thanamalwila, S.M.
Chandrasena of Anuradhapura, D.M. Dassanayake of Anamaduwa, Gunarathna
Weerakone of Karandeniya, Susantha Punchinilame of Ratnapura and Rohitha
Abeygunawardena of Kalutara.
“These rural leaders certainly understand the woes, trials and
tribulations encountered by the poverty-stricken rural folk. In another
five to six years time, Samurdhi will grow from strength to strength and
produce wonderful results,” the President added.
President Rajapaksa noted that some were anticipating his Government
would fall on to their laps. They go overseas, betray and under-estimate
the Government and its sovereignty, by making wild allegations of Human
Rights violations and suppression of media freedom. “They forget that
they have to come back and opt for the franchise of the people,” the