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Government Gazette

Expedite Kataragama development work before pilgrim season

President tells officials:

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed officials to complete development work of the Kataragama Sacred City before the coming pilgrim season ensuring all modern facilities to visiting pilgrims.

The President issued this directive when he chaired a progress review meeting of Kataragama Sacred City Development Scheme at Temple Trees on Monday.

A Presidential media release said during the discussions the President emphasised that development activities at Kataragama should be undertaken in a manner that would preserve the natural beauty of the area with an accent on developing the local tourist industry too.

He said the banks of the Menik Ganga should be preserved as a green park. The President also said all unauthorised structures within the Sacred City should be demolished and a shopping complex built in conformity with the sanctity and pride of the city for the displaced shop keepers and stall holders.

The President also said arrangements should also be made to provide parking facilities for vehicles in a manner that would avoid traffic congestion during the pilgrim season.

The President stressed that strong action should be taken to prevent pollution of the Menik Ganga. Legal action should be taken against certain hotels which discharged effluents to the river, he said.

The President said a Kataragama Conservation Board would be set up shortly with a trust fund to supervise conservation and development work in the Sella kataragama area in keeping with its historic significance.

A Cabinet Memorandum would be submitted in this regard for approval soon. He also asked Urban development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena who was present to utilise the abandoned Kataragama Gam Udawa site for erecting buildings for government offices and ministerial holiday resorts.

He also requested Minister Gunawardena to draw up a proper development plan for Moneragala town and directed officials to complete all development work before August this year.

Ministers Jagath Pushpakumara and Sumedha G. Jayasena, Kataragama Maha Develaya Basnayaka Nilame Shashindra Rajapaksa and Secretary and their officials of the Urban and Sacred Area Development Ministry attended the meeting.

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