Flood affected citizens not compensated
UNP election propaganda
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
and Arthur Wamanan
The people of Ratnapura heard the
announcement of a provincial election in
Sabaragamuwa at a time of devastation. An
emergency situation had been declared in
disaster prone Ratnapura when the news of
the poll came.
An election was the last thing on their
minds a month ago. But in the true spirit of
Ratnapura, a politically active district
sometimes giving way to violent expression,
as the floods subsided, campaigning
commenced and is now in full swing.
All three main parties, the UPFA, UNP and
the JVP are visible in the district, with
different areas showing different political
allegiance. The campaigns appear intense and
creative, while keeping election related
violence at a low ebb which is commendable.
But for the people of Ratnapura, it is
one sorry tale of getting washed by floods
four times in just two months. In May and
June, some 17,151 persons within the
district became flood victims. According to
the Disaster Management Relief Centre in
Colombo, a Rs.58 million allocation was made
to help rebuild their lives.
But the sorry tale is that the majority
of the victims, who do not qualify for
Samurdhi benefits, did not qualify for
monetary compensation. They only received a
poshana malla or a bag of dry rations
"The floods did not discriminate us. But
when it comes to compensation, there was
tremendous discrimination. Only Samurdhi
recipients got monetary compensation to
rebuild. Others only got a Rs. 517 worth bag
of dry rations," lamented K. L. D. Neville
Ananda, a Ratnapura town resident.
The May and June the floods devastated
their lives and economies. And the people
fear that floods have increased since 2003.
"There had been years when Ratnapura did not
get flooded even once. But after 2003 the
floods are regular," noted Ananda.
Ananda’s story is common currency.
Experts on floods say that floods are
connected to the lack of profitable gem
mining. But the severe resource depletion
apart, there is ecological damage that has
rendered the district extremely vulnerable
to disasters. An area surrounded by hills,
the gem pits now tend to fill up fast with
rainwater causing floods within hours.
When floods hit the district, Ananda’s
house went only six feet under water. There
were others like H.V. Dhanavathi whose upper
story also went under water, causing her to
leave in a canoe and suffer a minor accident
as a result while trying to save her life.
The roads leading to the low-lying areas
where we found Dhanavathi and others have
been severely damaged by the floods. There
is some patchwork repairs carried out, but
the next floods will leave the roads with
holes the size of small ponds.
Two months after the floods, the moisture
upon the wall had brought on fungi, mud
stains, and weeds growing upon the cracked
walls could be seen. Most flood victims we
spoke to were living in temporary homes or
with relatives and friends.
"It is devastating to suffer floods four
times in two moths. I have had enough. I
want to live in a house that is not located
in a low-lying area. I have two young
children to care for and no husband. I don’t
want to jump into a canoe in the middle of
the night with kids as water levels rise.
This nightmare must end," said Dhanavathi.
But the floods experienced in 2003 were
severe than the 2008 experiences, they all
agree. There is also a difference.
Dhanavathi’s tiny two-story construction
became possible, post 2003 floods. Her
entire house collapsed leaving the family
with only the clothes they wore. The then
UNP government provided Rs. 100,000 for a
flood victim to rebuild homes. Roofing
sheets were gifted by the former mayor
recalls a grateful Dhanavathi.
"I built this small house with the
government’s financial contribution
following the 2003 floods. This time, the
government had not provided us with adequate
assistance. Just dry rations for two days,"
claims Dhanavathi, her eyes brimming with
Her house is a few feet below the road,
which makes it prone to flooding easily. The
house has a small walkway bridging the upper
portion of the house and the road. It is
built in such a way that the house could be
easily accessed from the road during floods,
"Thieves are also active during floods,"
added Dhanavathi who lost her belongings
first to floods and then to thieves. What
elections for people like us? People don’t
have the basics for survival and politicians
want power at our expense," she said.
If the weather gods did not discriminate,
the authorities sure did when compensating
victims. The rule was for non-Samurdhi
beneficiaries to receive only dry rations
worth Rs. 517. Others who are not so
fortunate received no monetary compensation.
" I got the money, my mother did not,"
lamented Dhanavathi whose only wish is now
to relocate and live in a peaceful place
that does not flood.
As for E. G. Chamini Renuka, a young
mother of four, it was disaster upon
disaster. The 2003 floods caused her entire
house to collapse. As water levels increase,
now she has to rush to a neighbours house
seeking refuge. As her family shifted from
the original home to another, she did not
get any flood relief.
"We live on canoes. That’s what we call
flood transport," she smiled sadly. In some
areas, canoes are scarce, and people have to
wait for their turn. As Neville Ananda
noted, there have been instances when
children nearly drowned due to canoes being
As for early warning of disasters,
Ratnapura has a long way to go. Many who
spoke to us have never received prior
warnings to evacuate. "We watch the skies
and if the compound fills up quickly, then
we call for a canoe, or wade through the
waters," said Renuka.
Such is the predicament of many a
Ratnapura citizen and Ratnapura District
Secretary, Malini Premaratne agreed that
only the Samurdhi beneficiaries were offered
"It is only for the low income persons.
We provided cooked food and essentials for
about a week to the others affected."
The statistics also vary with the
District Secretariat claiming some 8,000
persons were affected as opposed to the
Disaster Relief Centre’s figure of 17,151.
Although, only 30% of Ratnapura’s total
population qualify for Samurdhi benefits,
Premaratne claims nearly 50% of the flood
victims benefited through the Samurdhi
scheme. Given the discrepancy in flood
relief where monetary compensation is denied
to others and only to Samurdhi recipients,
the politics that prevail is evident.
While floods occur mostly in Elapatha,
Kuruwita, Ayagama and Ratnapura, there is
also no disaster management plan or a proper
mechanism to alert people making matters
It was equally disastrous when
chikungunya hit the district, villagers
alleged. When Eratna recorded 800 cases of
chikungunya patients, the provincial health
authorities did not take steps to contain
its spread. Eventually, the entire district
was affected by it with only the Samurdhi
beneficiaries getting priority medical
treatment at government hospitals.
"Even then, Rs.200 was deducted from a
Rs.1000 worth Samurdhi card for medicine,"
It is in this backdrop that Ratnapura is
facing a keenly contested provincial poll.
UNP’s District Campaign Manager, John
Amaratunga claimed that the party has the
edge. " We have a much loved super star
contesting as UNP’s chief ministerial
candidate. We also started the campaign,
fast. The government is only getting
started, post SAARC," he said.
The UPFA admits to commencing its
campaign late. "We got no fight. It is going
to be a clean sweep," says UPFA District
Manager, John Seneviratne.
For the Ratnapura citizenry, this is an
ill-timed election. Though campaigning is in
full swing, people have other concerns such
as compensation for flood victims,
livelihood issues, malaria and water borne
diseases to deal with — the staple of a
flood prone area.
Adding lustre to the Sabaragamuwa race is
UNP’s chief ministerial candidate, Ranjan
Ramanayake, a popular film idol who is
contesting from Ratnapura.
While the towns showed equal intensity
between UPFA and UNP campaigns, in pockets
where the JVP is strong like Embilipitiya,
the Marxists showed a strong presence.
The people as always appear to have
pinned their hopes on the possibility of
drawing the attention of politicians to
their crying needs, at least during election
time. Naturally, there is road construction,
culverts being repaired and electricity
being provided, ad hoc election
While developmental activities are being
suddenly experienced in Ratnapura, it
appears that the pre-election period is the
only time the politicians feel the pulse of
It is hoped that post election, the one
million population would not be
‘One Shot’ in full swing
IN the City of Gems, there is a super star
seeking public office. Popular actor cum
director, Ranjan Ramanayake is making
popular waves in the district, contesting as
the UNP’s chief ministerial candidate.
There is much in Ramanayake’s campaign
that reminds one of South Indian politics,
dominated as it was by yesteryears’ film
idols like MGR, Jayalalitha, and Rajnikanth.
There is heightened interest when he is a
couple of miles away from the venue.
Ramanayake also needs no security. People
simply converge by the roadside — those with
motorcycles and push bicycles forming a
vehicle parade on their own volition to
escort Ramanayake to the venue.
As he disembarks, Ramanayake gets
waylaid. There is so much hugging, touching
and shaking of hands with children, youth
and women thronging to see the film idol.
For many minutes, he has to pose with fans,
carry their children to be photographed by
film crazy parents before the meeting
We met Ramanayake while campaigning in
Kamburugamuwa in the remote Kolonne
electorate. The next step is for Ramanayake
to autograph litho printed posters, grabbed
by hundreds of fans at the election meeting.
He signs all of them, surrounded by
little fans who make their way to his table.
More photos and Ramanayake is off to making
He speaks of his early days as an
unemployed youth and how he managed his
first film, Kristhu Charithaya based
on the life of Jesus Christ portrayed by
Ramanayake was an extra and his payment
was a packet of rice. Such was his feverish
desire to act, he settled for so little. To
date he watches and re-watches the movie to
find his two appearances in the film. They
are not there.
"From then onwards, I gained secondary
roles and later became the mega star that
you love. I have not forgotten my
beginnings. I am grateful to you for raising
me to this level of opulence and giving me
this luxurious life. I want to show
gratitude. I want to serve you differently,"
says Ramanayake, amidst cheers.
And he speaks of an artiste’s inability
to turn a blind eye to the many crises the
country faces. Pledges that no immigrant Sri
Lankan worker would be harassed or beheaded
if he is elevated to the rank of chief
minister. He speaks passionately about
disaster mitigation and employment
Whether the crowds throng to see their
favourite film star or as potential voters
is difficult to see. But there is no denying
that Ramanayake pulls crowds, and like his
super hit films, his political meetings are
Violence low in Ratnapura
According to pre-election violence
records, Ratnapura recorded the least number
The Ratnapura Police has received 14
complaints — none very serious.
Police said six complaints of assault,
three recorded instances of threats and
intimidation and three instances of causing
damage to property and one incident of
poster removal by opponents was also
recorded. Ratnapura Police claimed that
compared to the presidential election when
some 300 incidents were recorded, there was
reason to be happy about minimum violence.
The police said posters, cutouts and
banners were being removed on a regular
basis. They have also held AG division level
meetings with candidates to educate them on
the election law and how to minimise
election related violence.
IN the Sabaragamuwa economy, the five
largest sub-sectors are food crop
agriculture, wholesale and retail trade,
manufacturing, transport, storage and
communication, and mining and quarrying. The
Ratnapura District is the gem-mining
Ratnapura has two geographical features —
the arid and the wet. World famous for its
precious gemstones, the Balangoda man or the
fossils of a pre historic human form,
Ratnapura has its wealth polarised.
Importantly, some of the electorates form
part of the unique Sinharaja Rain Forest. It
is also home to the famous Adam’s Peak, a
revered place of worship.
The district is divided into eight
electorates, namely — Balangoda, Kalawana,
Pelmadulla, Nivithigala, Ratnapura, Kolonna,
Eheliyagoda and Rakwana.
Scarce and harsh
Some areas are more difficult like
Kolonna where water is scarce and the
weather harsh. But the more resourceful
areas like Ratnapura, Pelmadulla and
Nivithigala are lined with tea estates.
There is a concentration of the wealthy in
the main cities where gem merchants are
Ratnapura’s soil was once considered its
wealth and fortune — for only here could the
most rare gemstones be found. Its soil,
hence, was much valued.
But all the gem pits and the incessant
digging have rendered Ratnapura the most
disaster prone district in the country.
The district is yet to have a
comprehensive disaster management scheme and
a flood control scheme — two crying needs.
A hub of leftist politics, the district
produced Sri Lanka’s first woman prime
minister, Sirima Bandaranaike. Likewise, it
was infamous during the outbreak of a bloody
JVP-led insurgency in 1987, with many
considering Ratnapura to be place where the
seeds of dissention reached the stage of
No longer wealthy
Plagued by water-borne diseases, malaria,
malnutrition and issues concerning
education, Ratnapura is no longer a wealthy
district, not just due to resource depletion
but more due to resource mismanagement.
According to the Official Poverty Line (OPL)
as of May 2008, the OPL stands at Rs.2,825
and Ratnapura stands at Rs. 2818.
A district with left leanings, during the
2004 PC polls, the SLFP-JVP combine polled
213,619 while the UNP polled 119,681. At the
2005 presidential election, out of the
555,074 total valid votes in Ratnapura, the
UPFA secured 294,260 (53.1%) against the
UNP’s 252,838 (45.55%).
Ratnapura has 713,198 registered voters
and will elect 27 members to the Provincial
MP’s security attacked
UNP Parliamentarian Thalatha Athukorale’s
security personnel were attacked on
Wednesday night after a political meeting in
MP Thalatha Athukorale said her
supporters came for the meeting and were
about to disperse when they came under
attack along with her security personnel.
Athukorale lodged a complaint with the
Nivithigala Police but investigations
commenced based on a subsequently lodged
complaint by government supporters, she
Registered voters: 713,198
Breakdown of registered voters:
Eheliyagoda – 86,538
Ratnapura – 89,272
Rakwana – 81,659
Nivitigala – 81,659
Kalawana – 54,832
Pelmadulla – 71,091
Balangoda – 91,970
Kolonna – 121,698
Number of members to be elected: 42
Number of counting centres: 1,600
Education key issue
UPFA candidates display their
posters, A colourful entrance to a
meeting venue of the JVP, and An
election meeting of the UNP in
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
and Arthur Wamanan in Kegalle
Kegalle is a shining example of peaceful
electioneering so far — its pre election
record only marred by a handful of minor
But unlike in Ratnapura, there is a
silent majority in Kegalle that does not
approve of an election being held now, and
who are disgusted with the fact that two
decades after the introduction of provincial
councils, their district has been on a
There are more pressing concerns for the
people of Kegalle. There are health issues,
malnutrition and above all, economic
concerns in the tea and rubber sectors for
them to contend with.
But the real heart burner in Kegalle is
the collapse of the education system. With
some 102 schools out of 1103 in the province
shutting down during the past five years,
most of them plantation sector schools
catering to the poorest of the children, the
education sector is in deep crisis.
While former chief minister Maheepala
Herath protests about the education related
issues and claims to have set up 19 language
schools for plantation children to stem
their drop out rate, it is worthwhile to
query from the administrators why the
underprivileged children were made to lose
their right to education.
In Kegalle we find a multi-ethnic
community with the plantation sector heavily
reliant on the Tamils of Indian origin. As
plantation workers, theirs is a shared
plight of low, personal economies, living in
line homes, lacking basic sanitation and for
the younger generation — lack of good
But government officials say that they
are having a much better life than they used
to, thanks to several development programmes.
Though most of the plantation workers are
members of trade unions, their economic
issues remain largely unaddressed.
Sabaragamuwa’s former minister of land,
agriculture, animal production and
irrigation, Ranjith de Soysa claims that
essential needs of the community living in
the region were met by the former
The development process in the province
has not been completed, but is carried out
on a rapid pace, according to him. He
however admitted that there were sections of
the community whose issues have not been
"The basic needs of the people in
Sabaragamuwa have been met by the government
to a large extent. There are some needs
however in the estate sector and agriculture
sector that should be addressed," he said.
Ad hoc development
According to him, more than 50% of the
roads have been repaired and are suitable
for transportation — a claim the people
strongly disagree with, angry that ad hoc
development was visiting their villages, now
that the elections are just a fortnight
Likewise, authorities agree that teachers
are in short supply and plantation sector
children have little opportunity to study.
But former chief minister Herath refutes
this allegation claiming that he had done
his best to employ educated people and had
managed to recruit 6,000 when the actual
requirement is 21,000.
The claim of having the district’s needs
met through developmental activities was
brushed aside by the JVP, a party with a
strong trade union hold in the plantation
JVP’s Sabaragamuwa Province Leader,
Mahinda Jayasinghe noted that the
infrastructure needs in both the districts
required much more effort by the government.
He said civilians continued to face
hardships due to badly maintained roads and
transport facilities. He also noted that if
the Rs.400 million spent on the polls could
be utilised for infrastructure development,
it would have been more beneficial.
Schools shut down
Amidst all the economic hardships, what
is proving a real heartburn to parents is
the problems relating to education. Dozens
of schools have been shut down at a regular
pace — most of them either located in remote
areas and others, in the plantation areas.
Apart from a few schools in the urban
areas, the schools scattered in the rural
areas are faced with dire consequences — the
lack of basic infrastructure facilities,
lack of teachers, great distances to travel,
children suffering from malnutrition due to
poverty and the time lost for studies due to
Although the lack of facilities plague
most of the rural schools, the schools that
lack most of the basic facilities are
located in the estate sector. Some of the
schools in the sector lack electricity and
clean drinking water. Children have to walk
for miles on slippery slopes and cross
waterways to reach their schools that are
indeed a sorry sight.
However, even if the parents manage to
send their children to schools amidst great
difficulties, there is a lack of teachers
for key subjects like Science, Math and
The Sabaragamuwa Province is divided into
seven education zones — Kegalle, Mawanella,
Dehiowita, Ratnapura, Balangoda,
Embilipitiya and Nivithigala.
The schools are categorised as Type 1A/B
(schools with Science, Arts and Commerce
classes for A/Levels), Type 1C (schools with
only Arts and Commerce classes for
A/Levels), Type 2 (schools that have classes
from Grades 1 to 8) and Type 3 (schools with
only primary classes).
With a student population of 368,000, sad
it is for Sabaragamuwa to find only 22,000
teachers with the requirement being 21,000
Sabaragamuwa Provincial Secretary, Ceylon
Teacher Services Union (CTSU), M.J.
Wijeratne explains that the provincial
education sector was rife with many issues
such as irregularities in the appointment
and transfer of teachers, shortage of
teachers, basic infrastructure facilities
and even school textbooks.
According to Wijeratne, several schools
in the province were yet to receive
textbooks for Grades 7, 9 and 11 even seven
months into the year. Rural schools have
been reported to be the most affected by the
"Some of the schools have not yet
received the science and math textbooks," he
He also added that teachers have not been
provided with the guidelines in covering the
syllabus as well.
Interestingly, Wijeratne said that the
authorities have requested the teachers to
download the guidelines from the internet.
"That too is a problem as only three main
schools in the Ratnapura District have
internet facilities," he said.
"The teachers don’t know how to form the
test papers without the help of the
guidelines," he added.
The irregularities in teacher transfers
and appointments too have caused a shortage
of teachers in the province.
Wijeratne explained that the inter zonal
and inter district teacher transfers that
were to be completed by January 1 are still
continuing amidst much irregularities. He
says that the Provincial Education Ministry
was transferring teachers even after the PC
"Most of the transfers are heavily
politicised and therefore the rule that
outlines teachers to serve in difficult
areas for a period of three years has been
violated. Teachers with political backing
working in difficult areas have been given
transfers to main schools," he said.
Wijeratne adds that the estate sector
schools lacked close to 1,500-2,000 teachers
for main subjects like Math, Science, Tamil
and English. He noted that the authorities
instead of making permanent 368 volunteer
teachers who are currently serving in the
schools, were looking at employing other
teachers. "There are many issues faced by
the teachers," he said.
The 2005/4 circular issued in May 2004
outlines the promotions that are to be
granted to the teachers. However, Wijeratne
says that no promotions have been made in
line with the circular and the teachers in
the province are to be paid arrears
amounting to Rs.280 million. "Even the
payment to be made to teachers for leave not
taken has not been made and the arrears
amount to Rs. 60 million," he explained.
Lack of infrastructure
Another injustice faced by the teachers
in Sabaragamuwa is the minimal amount
granted as distress loans. "The distress
loan has to be equivalent to the teacher’s
10 months salary but the amount allocated to
each teacher is around a mere Rs.50,000,"
Whatever the outcome of the forthcoming
Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council election,
the authorities need to pay more attention
to the needs of the future generation of the
country. And there is many a need to be
addressed in the education sector in the
With issues relating to education coming
to the fore, parents in Kegalle are anxious
to have education related issues to be
cleared as a high priority. "We could not
learn and we are paying for it. We want to
educate our children. We don’t want them
working on the fields or plantations. But
nobody pays attention to our real concerns,"
claims a disgusted parent, K.D. Premalatha.
As Kegalle citizens go to vote, there is
no doubt that they would remember the plight
of the education sector, the collapse of the
tea and rubber economies and the lack of
infrastructure in the district.
Former chief minister confident of
The former chief minister Maheepala
Herath considers himself a chief
minister in waiting. Brimming with
confidence, the UPFA’s main candidate
claims that he would win without a
"I can easily muster the votes. I
have worked. I am close to the people.
The UNP team is weak and has a chief
ministerial candidate who is an absolute
outsider," he points out.
Herath believes that his main
contender, Ranjan Ramanayake, would lure
people towards his platform but would
not see the fans turning into UNP
"He has no experience, no seniority
in the UNP. Above all, he is not a
native and is unaware of the issues."
Herath says a provincial council is a
separate government through which a lot
can be done to the area. "I count 17
years as a public servant and 14 years
in politics. This candidate has not even
served as a PS member," adds Herath.
When asked whether sudden
developmental work was taking place due
to the election, he said the PC does not
cease to function merely because polls
are announced. "The work will go on.
Anyone should appreciate it, not
attribute any motive," he said.
He believes the JVP’s defection would
not affect the poll and says the JVP
elected so many members to the PC on the
SLFP vote base.
Admitting to problems in the
education sector he said there were only
6,000 teachers when the requirement was
"My dream is to raise Sabaragamuwa’s
education level to the island’s second
or third place. We were compelled to
employ educated people as tutorial
staff. There are moves to improve school
infrastructure," he explained.
Maheepala Herath has big dreams for
the province under his rule. He intends
promoting religious and cultural tourism
in the province and then to introduce
massive dairy farms with the assistance
of the Kerala government.
"We could not continue developmental
work because of the JVP’s political
decision to quit. We had no option but
to announce polls," he added, claiming
that he preferred to rule the province
for it kept him close to the people and
close to the issues that affected the
people he lived with.
Forming a part of the Sabaragamuwa
Province, Kegalle is reputed for its tea
and rubber, and is also home to the
country’s latex industry.
The largest sub-sectors are the food
crop agriculture, wholesale and retail
trade, manufacturing, transport, storage
This district too enjoys a unique
political history, having produced the
first Sri Lankan Prime Minister, D.S.
Senanayake and later, his son Dudley
Senanayake who succeeded him to the
Prone to earthslips, Kegalle suffers
from a bad road network and lack of
health facilities. One of the biggest
problems faced by the district is the
closure of schools, particularly in the
plantation sector that is retarding the
The district has nine electorates —
Kegalle, Aranayake, Deraniyagala,
Galigamuwa, Mawanella, Ruwanwella,
Dedigama, Rambukkana and Yatiyantota.
The district enjoys a unique blend of
all three communities with tea and
rubber growing electorates having a
higher percentage of Tamils, and in
Mawanella, a strong Muslim presence.
Together, Ratnapura and Kegalle do
not create a wealthy province, despite
their natural resources though Kegalle
manages to rise above the stipulated
poverty line. According to the Official
Poverty Line (OPL) as of May 2008 that
stands at Rs.2,825 and Kegalle is well
placed at Rs.2,893.
The province itself has 467,000
persons living below the official
poverty line, contributing 16.6% of the
poverty stricken population.
During the 2004 PC polls, the
SLFP-JVP combine polled 185,112 votes in
Kegalle winning the two bonus seats. The
UNP polled only 115,551 votes. At the
2005 presidential election, both parties
polled somewhat close with the UPFA
obtaining 239,184 and the UNP obtaining
Some 27 members from Ratnapura and 21
from Kegalle are to be elected to the
Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council on
August 23 by some 605,621 registered
Mahinda Jayasinghe pledges...
While the province’s poverty has
increased, the wealth of the
administrators has also increased,
alleges JVP Kegalle District Leader,
"Sabaragamuwa is the island’s second
poorest region with 33% of the people
living below the poverty line. Also, it
has nine out of 25 poorest PS divisions.
In education too, 60% failed their O/L
examination," adds Jayasinghe, pointing
out that since the establishment of the
PC, administrations have failed the
The blame for Sabaragamuwa’s plight
should be shared by the two parties that
administered the lush province. "The JVP
promises a genuine difference and a
chief minister who will not build a
mansion within a couple of years while
the poverty in the area increases," he
According to him, only 22% of the
roads are maintained by the
administration. Besides, education in
the district has suffered tremendously
with 102 out of 1103 schools in the
province being forced to close during
the past five years.
Jayasinghe alleged that the majority
of the principals were holding acting
appointments. "We have no opposition to
that, but what we do oppose is
appointing henchmen as principals," he
In the event of the JVP being elected
to power, the party’s district leader
promises three things — a corruption
free, efficient and people-centred
"Also, only 76% of the arable land
had been cultivated. We would increase
cultivation. And the 856 tanks and ponds
in the district will be reconstructed,"
he further pledged.
Postal voters: 10,959
Breakdown of registered voters:
Dedigama – 82,630
Galigamuwa – 63,819
Kegalle – 66,367
Rambukkana – 61,544
Mawanella – 81,844
Aranayake – 51,025
Yatiyantota – 68,792
Ruwanwella – 69,082
Deraniyagala – 60,518
Number of members to be elected:
Number of poling stations: 473
Election violence minimal
Maintaining low violence in the run
up to the election, the Kegalle District
registered some 12 complaints according
to election monitors — CAFFE while
PAFFREL maintained the figure as nine.
Most were of physical assaults with
both monitoring groups having different
figures. There were two recorded
instances of damage to property and a
complaint of intimidation/threat as well
as misuse of state property.