Tangible benefits for people
A massive 54,000
development projects are to be vested in the public this week to
mark the second term inauguration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
This indeed is a novelty since on all previous occasions the
larger masses did not benefit in any tangible form on special
events to honour the country's leaders. True, during the time of
President Premadasa there was the Gam Udawas to mark his
birthday, each year, but these were more or less tamashas that
projected his own image. It was said that these Gam Udawa venues
long after the event were occupied by stray cattle. True, roads
would have been renovated, broken culverts mended and new
infrastructure laid in preparation for the events. But the
people did not receive any lasting benefit.
On the contrary the masses stand to directly benefit under
these new projects to mark the President's inauguration. These
have been specially planned taking into account the needs of
each community. Thus they are bound to transform the lives of
the people in the form of new livelihoods and general progress
of the community. Among these projects are new irrigation canals
that would benefit the farmer. There are also housing projects
for the homeless, electrification of villages and setting up of
self employment avenues that are all bound to transform their
lives for the better. These projects are in addition to other
national scale development initiatives that are taking place
The Government must ensure that these projects run their full
course and the maximum is derived by the masses. We say this
because there is tendency to forget things once the initial
euphoria dies down in this country. Today we see numerous stone
plaques erected with the names of Ministers and MPs carved into
them to commence some project or other, overgrown with weeds
with the work yet to get started. Such lethargy should be
checked and work proceed at an accelerated pace if we are to
achieve our development goals.
As the country is set to celebrate the second term
inauguration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa it is also pertinent
to bear in mind that if we are to achieve these long term
development goals the nation as a whole should put its
collective shoulder to the wheel. Petty differences and
parochial interests should not stand as an impediment on the
path to progress.
There is also a need for a more streamlined administration
and a strong public sector that could be a driving force to
achieve these goals. The public sector particularly should be
shaken up from its notorious slumber and galvanized into action.
No doubt the budget that is to be presented next week is going
to be a development oriented one that mirror the course
chartered for the country to realize its development objectives.
It would also spell out the new vistas opened up for the
President's vision to make Sri Lanka Asia's Wonder. All this
would require commitment and dedication by all. It is therefore
incumbent upon all sections to work as a single unit to take the
nation forward in this new era of independence ushered after the
eradication of terrorism from our soil.
In a news report we carried yesterday Sri Lanka Tourism
Chairman Dr Nalaka Godahewa was quoted as saying that tourist
arrivals came close to the 500,000 mark by the end of October.
This he said was an increase of 43 percent over the 2009 figure
If the trend continues Sri Lanka is in for a tourist boom
next year which could even come close to the one million mark,
the magical figure coveted by the Government and stakeholders in
the tourist trade.
There is therefore a need for all stakeholders to get
activated to exploit the prevailing peaceful environment to
attract more tourists into the country. In this respect a recent
documentary on a well known foreign TV channel depicting the new
Sri Lanka following the end to three decade of terrorism no
doubt would have gone a long way to impress foreign travellers
to visit the country. The narrator of that program cleverly
juxtaposed the war ravaged past with the new peace and
tranquillity that has descended on the country with appropriate
clippings showing the famous tourist spots in the country
including the North.
The Tourist Board would do well to initiate more such
documentaries in addition to its own promotional campaigns since
these would catch worldwide attention giving a lucid insight
into the new Sri Lanka that would have huge impact on would be
visitors to the country.