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No more barriers for development

After thirty years now we can live without fear in our own island. During that period our country had to face so many difficulties and setbacks because of the cruel war. This war situation of the country affected to the economy and the development of the country. Because of the dedication of our President, defence secretary and the armed forces our people now have a peaceful Sri Lanka. So this is the time to develop our country in every field. Now we don't have barriers, Agrarian Commissioner General Ravindra Hewavitharana said.

Agriculture is the main topic when we talk about development. "Before the long- standing conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) began our people who lived in northern and eastern parts of the country got maximum use of their golden land. Until the war started, the agricultural production showed very rich results than other parts of the country especially rice, vegetables, fruits and other commercial crops. During the past thirty years the people who lived in the north and east parts of the country had to suffer from substantial decline in agricultural production and declining living standards because of the war," he said.

He also said "Because of this long running conflict, our irrigation system in that area has been badly damaged. So first what we have to do is to restore irrigation schemes before re-cultivate the lands. Already we have started some projects to do that. I think everyone had an idea about the Mavil Aru incident. Mavil Aru is a waterway that supplies water to some regions in eastern Sri Lanka and it feeds 15,000 families. In the year 2006 LTTE closed the sluice gates of Mavil Aru. After that people who lived in the eastern part of the country had to face severe difficulties. This was a major problem caused by the LTTE as irrigation was vital for the people who depended on it for agriculture.

"During the past thirty years we couldn't go there and find out what the difficulties were that people had to face in agriculture field. But however we helped them as far as possible though we were far away from them. When they asked for help from us sometimes we couldn't do that because of security problems. When they asked for fertilizer we sent them by ships with the help of the Commissioner of Essential Services. We had to pay more money than the cost of the fertilizers for transport. But now we don't have that kind of problems," said the commissioner.

He said further "We have to rebuilt the Agrarian Services Centers in north and east regions which were destroyed by the LTTE. After that we can help farmers, the businessmen and others and re-cultivate the lands. We hope to do them through 'Uthuru Wasanthaya' and 'Nagenahira Navodaya' programmes. I think government will give financial support to us. We are going to re-construct irrigation reservoirs in that area with the support of the Nation Building and East Infrastructure Development Ministry."

Finally he said, "If we can develop agrarian services in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka where there was a vast potential for agricultural development it will help to contribute a large percentage to the national economy and accelerate the development of the country."

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