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Thursday, 18 November 2010






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Government Gazette

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 countrywide.

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.

Good news

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 upto October.

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.

Development since 2006

Some of the highlights of development activities carried out in Sri Lanka since 2006 under the guidance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa,

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Presidentís second term:

Manifestly futuristic

Sri Lanka successfully withstood the harsh impacts of a global recession under Presidentís stewardship. While many Western nations were performing triage on their sick economies success has arrived steadily in Sri Lanka,

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