Uva development on a new high
Badulla District Secretary, Rohana K. Dissanayake
A road under construction. Pictures by Indrajith Perera
Badulla District Secretariat Complex
Uva, widely known as Uva Wellassa, is a historic area where thousands
of our valiant heroes sacrificed their precious lives for the sake of
the territorial integrity of the country in the ancient times. Uva
serves as a catchment area for many rivers and streams nurturing
agriculture and several waterfalls such as Dunhinda, Diyaluma, Rawana
Ella. The landscape and the scenic beauty has been a huge tourist draw
The Daily News recently visited the Uva Province to review the
ongoing development activities in the area, mainly in the Badulla
At first we decided to meet the Badulla District Secretary who bears
the main responsibility of carrying out Government’s decisions, as
provincial head of administration.
Under the guidance of the Central Government, a comprehensive
development program is being implemented in the province, District
Secretary, Rohana K. Dissanayake told the Daily News.
A massive development program launched by the Government is rapidly
“Badulla is an agricultural district where tea, vegetable and paddy
are cultivated. In the Upper Uva, tea and vegetables are abundant while
in the Lower Uva paddy is cultivated. The population is around 850,000
in 567 G.S. Divisions. Of this 175,000 are estate workers. A recent
survey has revealed that 32 percent of the population in the province is
below the poverty line which is a grave condition”, Dissanayake said.
Therefore it is vital for the Government to introduce a mechanism to
alleviate poverty while ensuring overall development in every sector. As
planned, development priorities are set to achieve its targets. The
district is being developed in all aspects, he said.
Gama Neguma one of the leading development programs which commenced
in 2006 aiming at upgrading infrastructure development in rural areas
has also stepped into the Province. A number of development activities
such as roads, infrastructure development, social activities and
livestock development are being carried out through the Gama Neguma
project in the area.
Five years ago only 45 percent of the housing units had the
electricity facility. Today, more than 75 percent of the houses have
been provided electricity.
”Development of the road network linking Badulla district with
neighbouring towns is the main reason for the rapid development.
Wallawaya – Badulla road, Badulla – Kandy road, Badulla – Welimada road
are a few among the main road development projects.
The construction of the Badulla – Colombo main road is nearing
completion. Once it is completed the distance between Colombo and
Badulla will be shortened by about four hours. It will facilitate the
transport of Uva produce to the capital city, largely. It will further
help increase the income of the Uva cultivators, Dissanayake said.
Education and health sectors in the province have been significantly
developed during the past few years. The Government has allocated Rs.
850 million to upgrade health facilities in Uva to provide adequate
relief to over 1.5 million beneficiaries.
Three buildings are being built to expand health facilities. The
Badulla Provincial General Hospital will be further developed with the
provision of additional specialities into a full fledged hospital.
The Government has taken steps to solve the teacher shortage in the
Province in line with the ‘Equal education for all’ concept. Several
computer laboratories have been established in schools facilitating
students to access modern technology.
The Uva-Wellassa University which will be opened soon by President
Mahinda Rajapaksa is considered a boon for Uva. The university is
constructed in a serene location ideal for studies. The university
comprises all academic and other facilities such as modern lecture
halls, laboratories, libraries, broad-band fiber optic connections and
A six storied building is being built at a cost of Rs. 303 million,
for the District Secretariat office fulfilling a long-felt need. The
foundation stone for the complex was laid in 2005 by President Mahinda
Rajapaksa, as the then Prime Minister.
”Protecting youth is a valuable investment for the development of the
country. A special program has been launched under the theme, ‘Let’s be
the front-liners to build a better society’. The program is carried out
in three steps. Initially, we have taken steps to protect youth from
drugs, alcohol and smoking which are the worst enemies of youth.
Secondly, moves are underway to protect youth from accessing
Thirdly, a move will be initiated to instill discipline in private
tuition classes in the area. “Most of us are aware that private tuition
leads to indiscipline. Therefore, we had a discussion with all tuition
masters and persons organizing tuition classes in the area. They agreed
to maintain discipline in tuition classes” Dissanayake said.
Over 900 development projects have been carried out through the
Provincial Secretariat offices. Under these projects, more than 100
kilometers of rural roads have been constructed or renovated. For the
benefit of the Estate Community, Tamil speaking Grama Niladaris have
been appointed. More than 3,000 Tamil teachers have been appointed to
Tamil medium schools in the district to meet the shortage of Tamil
teachers. In addition, 10 estate hospitals have also been developed to
cater to the health needs of the people.
The Uva Provincial Council has launched 300 development projects
allocating Rs. 900 million, Chief Secretary to the Uva Provincial
Council P.B. Amarasekara said. “Under this, a large sum amounting to Rs.
400 million has been allocated for the development of education in the
Province. Additionally Rs. 280 million has been reserved to develop the
health sector and Rs. 60 million to develop the road network. Rs. 60
million has been set aside for tourism promotion”, Amarasekara added.