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Thursday, 13 January 2011

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Rural renaissance

For long years the country's rural outback took a back seat in terms of development while urban cities and the metropolitan areas were given pride of place in this regard. This naturally bred resentment and was the chief cause for Southern uprisings. Kolombata Kiri Apita Kekiri became a common slogan at the time to depict this asymmetry.

It is in this context that the emphasis laid by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on rural development bears relevance. Speaking at a function at Temple Trees to distribute certificates of the Local Government Diploma Course on Tuesday the President said his Government has given top priority for rural development for which the strengthening of local government institutions is of paramount importance.

All Governments in the past only paid lip service when it came to rural development. Although some of the most prominent Ministers came from rural constituencies nothing much was done to improve the quality of life of the rural masses. While the bulk of the resources were concentrated for further expansion of cities, the rural areas received stepmotherly treatment. This needless to say bred resentment and created an unhealthy dichotomy that was translated into hatred.

President Rajapaksa unquestionably is the only leader who saw the need to uplift and upgrade the rural areas on par with the urban cities not only in terms of development but also introducing all facets of the city into the rural outback. The transformation of Hambantota from a sleepy rustic backwater to a modern hub with the centrepiece a brand new International Port and Airport no doubt is a catalyst of what is to follow in the hitherto neglected backward rural landscape of the country.

The President who is essentially from rural stock no doubt knows first hand the impact of poverty on the rural community due to long years of neglect. Hence his resolve to provide all opportunities for the rural community especially its youth to emerge out of the rut and be on par with their more fortunate brethren in the cities. Hence his exhaustive plans and strategies for the rural areas as enunciated in his election manifesto all of which are gradually being implemented.

The President is aware that it is the rural community which forms the bedrock of his support and thus owes them the bounties which are enjoyed by the city folk denied them for long years. His initiative to take English and IT education to the rural outback too is one of the moves in his plans to uplift the rural community demonstrating that he is determined to raise rural areas not only in terms of physical development but also making its people more enlightened to be on par with their more sophisticated city counterparts and be equally resourceful too. This would not only open them up to the new world of knowledge but also help a leadership to emerge from the rural areas to challenge the established order. The rural villager who contribute the most to the national economy deserves a better deal after long years of neglect and relegation from the mainstream.


Help generously

Unprecedented floods countrywide has caused large-scale devastation and dislocation of communities. The Government alone cannot be expected to shoulder the gigantic task of providing succour to the displaced. All countrymen should be part and parcel of this endeavour to mitigate the misery of the tens of thousands rendered homeless.

This is the time for all civic organizations, charity movements and service organizations to come forward to play a more active role to collect cash and material goods on behalf of the affected. With their resources and organization such bodies no doubt would be able to muster sufficient wherewithal to help out the distressed. It is regrettable that some of the well-known Service Organizations who make big shows of their largesse for charity by hosting cocktail parties in Five Star hotels have not come out with speed to help the victims of this latest natural disaster to hit the country. Hopefully they would take cognizance of their responsibilities without delay. Our Sportsmen especially the cricketers who earn mega bucks too should come out prominently and lead from the front.

Leading schools could organize 'Walks' or other events to collect money and goods while work places too should make their contributions. These should be done out of a sense of responsibility towards our fellowmen who are in dire straits, on a voluntary basis.

Confronting emerging infection threat

The lecture Confronting the threat of new emerging infection, one of a series called Meeting of Minds was organized by the University of Hong Kong. It is trying to bring scientists from Hong Kong to talk to students,

Full Story

The Morning Inspection

Finger-pointing and moral high ground

Higher Education Minister S B Dissanayake recently stated that all undergraduates who have accepted admission to the university system will have to undergo a course of leadership training in the Army. The Convenor of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF), Udul Premaratne reacted to this announcement by saying that all State officials should similarly be trained before the Ministry focuses on students.

Full Story

Development FOCUS

‘The Wonder Nation of Asia’:

Sri Lanka on track

The growth of the marine fishing industry has reached a satisfactory level following the lifting of time restriction on marine fishing, after the end of the war. This has recorded a steep increase in marine fish production in the Northern and Eastern Provinces amounting to 134.1 percent and by 45.8 percent respectively

Full Story

 

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