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Friday, 29 June 2012

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Government Gazette

On President’s instructions:

Special committee to handle relief

* Dry rations for affected farmers

* Opposition using drought to gain political mileage

The government will take steps to provide dry rations to farmers whose crops have been destroyed by the severe drought in the country, with immediate effect.

Addressing a media-briefing in Colombo yesterday, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said dry rations will be provided based on information provided by Government Agents with regard to farmers in drought affected districts. He said the President had appointed a special committee comprising officials from the Treasury, Agrarian Services and Wildlife Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, Disaster Management Ministry, Defence Ministry, Environment Ministry, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Ministry and Economic Development Ministry to provide immediate relief and assistance to drought hit farmers.

“President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed to take all measures to continuously provide relief to farmers affected by the severe drought scorching farm lands in all parts of the country,” Minister Amaraweera said.

The minster further said the Opposition is engaged in making various allegations based on the drought.

They must understand that the drought is not an act of sabotage by the President or the government. It is due to the prevailing weather pattern.

Members of the Opposition are trying to use the drought as a tool to obtain political advantage with an eye on the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, funds amounting to Rs 21.8 million has been allocated to provide drinking water for people in the drought affected districts. "We have already allocate funds to the respective District Agents in Ampara, Kurunegala, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Kegalle, Jaffana, Kilinochchi, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Mannar, Monaragala and Puttalama districts, severely affected by the drought.

He said the continuous drought has deprived farmers of their traditional livelihood specially in the North Central Province and other parts of the country.

"Water levels in the catchment areas have gone down due to inadequate rain fall. Therefore, most of the reservoirs will not be used for power generation.

Therefore, we urge the public to use electricity sparingly," he said. "We do not receive the North- East monsoon rains to the extent we expect because there was no formation of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal in May and June.

Therefore, we can not expect rains at least for one more month," Meteorological Department Director General, S.H.Kariyawasam said.

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