was a unique scene to witness a Muslim Mowlavi calling for national
unity and amity among all communities
at the foot of the statue of Lord Buddha at Viharamahadevi Park. The
call for peace was followed by a peace march led by all religious
organisations in Colombo last week
Photo by Ashoka Peiris
against dropping CJ’s impeachment
all the way
prevents elephant removal
protests with regard to the largest elephant Kadira being released from
the Pinnawela Elephant orphanage by a group of animal rights activists
prevented the animal from being taken from the orphanage.
The Sunday Leader learns that another five elephants are to leave
the orphanage depending on the demands for elephants by temples and devales
in the country.
to The Sunday Leader Environment Minister Rukman Senanayake
denied accusations levelled against him with regard to the release of
elephants from Pinnawela. “According to the cabinet paper elephants
can be presented to Raja Maha Vihares and devales
depending on the necessity,” the Minister explained.
Minister went on to say that originally it was decided that five
elephants were to be given to temples and another five to be auctioned.
However, due to the demand of elephants by temples and devales he
scrapped the auction and decided to give the remaining five elephants
also to temples and devales.
these five elephants are released approval will not be given for the
release of any other animals. My Ministry has prepared a cabinet paper
and it has been approved in parliament,” the Minister said.
on whether he would give into political pressure after the release of
these five elephants, the Minister said since there is a cabinet paper
politicians, priests or anybody else would not be given permission to
take elephants from Pinnawela.
to the Minister when a male elephant reaches the age of eight or nine
years they have to be given away as they become boisterous. “Only one
elephant has to be kept at the orphanage for inter breeding” the
are animal rights activists making a fuss about elephants being given?
During the previous government elephants were released from the
orphanage,” the Minister said.
Minister explained that the Prime Minister’s office had nothing to do
with the approval of Kadira. “My Ministry drew up the papers for the
release of Kadira as he was getting boisterous at the orphanage,” the
the details of the cabinet
paper drafted on August 19, 2002 and approved on February 26, 2003 No.
02/1465/116/034, Environment Lawyer Jagath Gunewardene said “Donation
of elephants and tuskers to temples and devales and the sale of
elephants to private parties with the latest addition of the sale of
elephants should be done on tenders and the minimum price decided by the
talks between CBK and PM
that took place between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday ended successfully, government
sources said. The duo who met at President’s House had also opted to
hold another meeting by next Wednesday.
sources say by Wednesday both leaders are expected to finalise whatever
they initially decided to agree upon.
President had told the Premier that she is now willing to meet the four
member committee that was appointed to facilitate a working arrangement
between the UNP and the PA on Tuesday, December 9.
shooting in Colombo
daylight shooting in the heart of Colombo sent shock waves among the
residents living in Colombo Central on Friday.
Maradana Police confirming the shooting incident said two unidentified
men shot at a director of a company. According to the police there have
not been any eyewitnesses.
Priya Karunaratne who was shot was in his vehicle while it was halted at
the traffic lights. He was accompanied by another person, but according
to police he had not received any injuries. Karunaratne is at present
receiving treatment at the General Hospital. The police said he is out
police said it was too premature to speculate the motive behind the
attempted murder. They believe this may have been a personal vendetta. Karunaratne (41) was shot at twice. The incident took place
opposite Buhari Hotel in Maradana.
Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake has called on Ports Minister
and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Chief, Rauf Hakeem to act with a
sense of ‘collective responsibility’ over issues that are sensitive.
Minister made this observation at the last cabinet meeting when the
security situation in Kinniya was discussed.
referring to statements made by Hakeem from abroad, accusing both the
government and the Premier and holding both responsible for the spate of
killings that took place in Kinniya, said Hakeem did not bother to blame
the Defence Minister who is the President but tried to blame the
government for these incidents.
Kumaratunga has reported to have asked Sri Jayewardenepura University
Vice Chancellor Dr. Epitawatte to relinquish his services as the Vice
Chancellor of the university with immediate effect.
Secretariat Media Director, Janadasa Peiris who could not confirm the
President’s decision said though he too had heard about this there has
not been any official intimation to this effect.
to The Sunday Leader, Tertiary Education Kabir Hashim said, for a
person to be removed from his post there should be a reason.
He said the committee appointed by the President has
submitted a report to the President recommending that Dr. Epitawatte
should not be removed.
over crime rate
Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
rate of criminality is serious cause for concern and an equally serious
concern for President Chandrika Kumaratunga who took over the Interior
Ministry expressing her ‘grave reservations’ about the UNF
government’s ability to maintain law and order.
for her part emphasised the need to take charge of the Police Department
which comes under the Interior
Ministry to check the increase.
truth being stranger than fiction, statistics obtained by The Sunday
Leader on crime rates for the month of November show that within a
period of 20 days — from
November 4 to 24 — the country has recorded 69 rape and sexual abuse
cases, 103 reported robberies, 122 cases of house breaking and theft,
along with 104 cases of theft of property including valuables over Rs.
5,000 among many others. The number of murders committed was
grand total of the number of crimes that took place between November 4-
24 stands at 521.
to The Sunday Leader, Director Crimes, Mahinda Hettiarachchi was
rather baffled as to how this newspaper received statistics relating to
crimes committed islandwide from November 4 – 24 as he claimed that
the official report would be released only by December 10.
when asked about the crime rates, referring to the October report stated
that there had been 111 cases of murder, 125 cases of rape and sexual
abuse, 129 cases of theft of all types of vehicles, 128 cases of
robberies worth above Rs. 25,000, 127 cases of theft of properties above
Rs. 25,000 and two cases of manufacturing counterfeit currency among
for the 111 cases of murder, Hettiarachchi explained that 83 cases have
been solved. When queried what he meant by “solved,” he said that
these cases have now reached the “inquiry stage.”
rest of the cases (28), according to him are murders committed in an
organised nature, which would take some time for the police to
‘solve’. He said that most of these unsolved cases are murders
committed by underworld gangs.
asserted that out of the 125 cases of rape and sexual abuse reported for
October, 102 have been solved, which meant they were now in the inquiry
stage and the balance 23 cases are being looked in to.
added that the highest number of rape and sexual cases were reported
from areas in the Ratnapura, Anuradhapura and Tangalle Districts.
asked whether there was an
increase in the number of crimes committed in the country, Hettiarachchi
stated, “There is no such increase.” He however, admitted that there
is no decrease in the number of crimes committed in the country either.
to his estimation, there is no increase in the number of murders, and
explained that it is the nature of the murders that have alarmed the
further explained that murders are committed more openly and more
brutally which makes people feel that there are more murders taking
place in the country now than before.
observation is that crimes couldn’t be totally eradicated from
society. However, the prime concern of the police
is the detection of crimes and solving them. “The public needs
to be shown that action is being taken against wrongdoers and the good
done by the police in solving crimes should also be highlighted to
create a positive impact on the general public who are fast losing
faith,” he said.
tables blamed for bus chaos
strike action by the private bus operators islandwide badly affected the students sitting their Ordinary Level
examination, but authorities claim that the strikes would recur until
and unless proper time
tables are introduced.
the many demands made by the strikers, the entire issue finally boiled
down to disorganised travel schedules and the National Transport
Commission (NTC) not having control of the Pettah bus stand.
solve private bus operators’ problems as well as public grievances, a
survey is being conducted
by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Its outcome is expected by March.
“The next procedure would be to prepare a time table for each bus
route” says Chairman, National Transport Commission, A. D. Thalagune.
He says that there
are around 20,600 private buses as against 4,500 Sri Lanka Central
Transport Board (SLCTB) buses.
owners have no control over their drivers and conductors. All they want
is to get their money. Drivers take advantage of the situation and
overload the buses,” explained Thalagune.
to him, the extra cash is
pocketed by the drivers, and this is the main reason for them not
wanting to work according to a timetable as that would prevent the
Private Bus Owners’ Association (PBA), Gemunu Wijeratne said the
recent bus strike was a planned one. “A politician with connections
with the PA and the UNF was involved in this strike. Politicians due to
their influence get what they want. If this was a genuine strike why
were 70 private buses damaged and one bus from Weligama set on fire
during the strike?” Wijeratne asked.
to Wijeratne his organisation was planning to stage a strike at 2 p.m.
on December 1. But due to the influencing and threats of this particular
politician the strike took place unexpectedly in the morning on December
politician blocked some of the Moratuwa buses on Galle Road, the
Avissawella buses on the High Level Road and the Nittambuwa buses on the
Kandy Road. This was the cause of buses on their way not coming into
Colombo that morning,” Wijeratne said.
is a direct attack on me and the government. But until the government
has sufficient powers in the transport sector the private bus problem
instead of improving will only get worse,” he warned.
went on to say that when he made a police
entry informing them
of this planned sabotage the police didn’t take any action “It was
only after the situation got out of control that the police stepped
in,” Wijeratne said.
to The Sunday Leader, Chairman, NTC, A. D. Thalagune said
the survey was first handed over to the Moratuwa University.
“But since the university quoted Rs. 2.3 million for the survey
we had to put it on hold. Rs. 2.3 million may not be a big sum of
money to some but the NTC cannot afford that kind of money,”
According to Thalagune the other major problem faced by the
NTC is that the Gunasinghepura Bus Stand in Pettah and the Bastian
Mawatha Bus Stand near the Fort Railway Station are totally under
the control of the Provincial Road Transport Authority (PRTA).
“Since all the inter-provincial buses start from these two bus
stands we cannot monitor the times each bus leaves,” he said.
Thalagune went on to say that while the luxury buses and the
semi luxury buses run according to a timetable, the other private
buses run according to the way their owners want. “Some private
bus operators run their buses only during peak hours. This in turn
affects the new private bus owners as they have no allocated times
to operate their buses,” he explained. According to Thalagune
some of the new private bus owners have only one bus operating.
“So if that bus does not get a trip the owner doesn’t get an
income for the day,” explained Thalagune.
The other problem is that the already established private bus
owners want to run only the popular bus routes. Routes such as
Kandy-Colombo, Matara-Colombo, the coastal line, Kurunegala-Colombo,
and Chilaw-Colombo are some of the popular ones. As a result of
these buses running on the popular bus routes only, poor villagers
in remote areas have to depend on the SLCTB buses which are
insufficient to meet the demand,” says Thalagune.
Monitor for international schools
mushrooming of international schools
and students showing more interest
in an English education,
what is plaguing the supply and demand of education in this medium is
the lack of a body to monitor overall
is not just the lack of a monitoring mechanism that is lacking, but also
the lack of regulations.
Sri Lanka, it seems that anybody has the licence to start an
international school if they have the necessary capital. They are
registered as business concerns under the Companies Act.
Stafford International School, Noreen Welikala said that
international schools are necessary to meet a growing demand for English
language education, particularly the kind provided by international
on standards, Welikala said
the standards of some international schools are far short of the
required standards. Some schools she observed did not have qualified
supports the view that the Education Ministry should intervene and at
least play the role of monitor at the time of setting up. The needs are
far beyond the physical facilities like suitable buildings and qualified
English speaking teachers, she asserts.
are no general standards maintained like in government schools. So
parents must be careful when
sending children to these schools. One must check out the history of the
institution thoroughly,” she observes.
to The Sunday Leader Principal and Chairman, Gateway International School, R. I. T. Alles said
international schools have become a significant component of the Sri
Lankan education system , specifically catering to an existing and fast
growing demand. He noted that a difference existed between government
and international schools’ syllabi.
asserts that international schools open up a new world to the young
student and makes him/ her a global citizen. ‘This is part of the
reason for parents to give their offspring such an education,” Alles
he is a strong believer of regulation to ensure uniformity in the
standard of education at all these institutes. Further, he advocates the
registration of these schools under the Education Ministry as well.
visas to UK for Lankans
High Commission has introduced the Working Holidaymaker Visa (WHM ) to
Sri Lankans since August this year.
to The Sunday Leader Second Secretary (Political/ Information),
British High Commission, Margaret Tongue says, “This scheme is
open to citizens aged between 17 and 30 years of Commonwealth
present the British High Commission in Sri Lanka processes 90 working
holidaymaker visas a day but Tongue noted that unfortunately there is an
81% refusal rate for WHM visas,“mainly because of the vast general
misunderstanding of what the visa involves.”
visa is available to citizens who want to visit the United Kingdom for
an extended holiday for up to two years. They will also be permitted to
work during their stay.
she noted, “These people will have to take a holiday during their stay
in the UK,” but stressed “this visa is not a work permit as such.”
pointed out that the application forms for these visas are available at
their web site www.ukvisas.gov.uk
explained that for applicants to make an appointment at the British High
Commission they have to telephone in, adding that the British High
Commission has bookings up to early February.
explained “This scheme has been running for several years and has now
widened to include all Commonwealth
citizens in August this year. There is no quota for Sri Lankans, nor
will there be an end date,” she said.
further said that “If people are not planning to travel to the UK in
the next few months, there is no need to apply now.”
Some of the qualifications for this WHM visa include that
applicants be Commonwealth citizens and between the required age group.
Applicants also need to provide evidence of funds to support them during
their stay, as well as their ability to finance the return journey back
to Sri Lanka, or an onward journey when applicants plan to leave the UK
at the end of their holiday.
on this visa can only stay in the UK for two years from the date of
entry and should count any time spent outside the UK during that period
as part of the two years.
are no work restrictions applied with regard to the type of work
applicants can apply for and can take up either part time or fulltime
work but it is essential that they take a holiday during this stay.
that senters the UK under this category, is permitted to switch into
work permit employment after one year in the UK.
when making the application the
applicant will need application form
vaf1-non-settlement. If there are any dependents under 16 years
included and will be travelling with the applicant, they can be included
on one form, while older dependents should complete separate forms.
Other essentials are a valid passport and travel documents, and two
recent passport sized photographs.
entry clearance officer may be able to decide on
further inquiries, but applicants may be asked to attend an interview
during the processing.
addition applicants may
also be asked and told to give evidence of their financial standing and
warning system for floods
and Water Management Ministry under
the instructions of Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera is in the
process of preparing a project report for an early warning system on
Minister took this decision after the major damage caused in the country
by the floods in May.
According to Ministry officials the Irrigation Department is setting up
an early warning system to predict floods in the Kelani, Kalu,
Gin and Nilwala rivers.
Maduru Oya, Gal Oya, Rajangana, Kalawewa, Lunugamvehera, Uda Walawe and
Inginimitiyawa reservoirs have also been identified as flood prone.
purpose of this project is to reduce damage to life and property and
make reservoir operations convenient and safe during times of
total cost of the project is estimated at Rs. 25 million. The project
has been approved by the Regaining Sri Lanka (RSL) task force on
irrigation, water and economic policy.
Sunday Leader learns
that the Director General, Department of National Planning has requested
the Director General, National Budget to include this project in the
year 2004 budget.
members to be reappointed
on Public Enterprises (COPE) that was dissolved automatically when
President Chandrika Kumaratunga prorogued parliament on November 3, is
to be reappointed on December 11.
to informed sources, the members of the
dissolved body would meet in parliament to elect a chairman.
former chairman of COPE and PA parliamentarian, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle
had to relinquish his post after the prorogation.
said Fernandopulle is likely to be reappointed as COPE chairman.
are 15 members in COPE — seven from the opposition and eight from the
Fernandopulle told The Sunday Leader once the COPE is constituted it would carry on with the old cases that
were pending. “As it is COPE is defunct. But we will continue with our
work after COPE is
reappointed,” he said.
folk to benefit from electrification projects
Rehabilitation and Expansion (RE)
schemes launched by
the Power and Energy Ministry under the Deepaloka programme will provide
electricity to 285,000 homes, benefiting 1.2 million people. The
projects have been identified under three different categories and 1025
schemes have already been identified and implementation has commenced.
programme which was launched by
Minister Karu Jayasuriya will not only provide electricity but will also
assist rural folks in utilising resources in the village for maximum
economic gains. Through initial rural electrification programmes there
has been increased productivity of small-scale industries, modernisation
of business establishments and effective use of modern telecom
accelerated rural electrification programme is bound to raise the socio-
economic level of the rural population significantly. The increased
production capabilities by using available
resources will act as a catalyst for the generation of job opportunities
within the villages, which would help reduce unemployment
objections against proposed Health Master Plan
Master Plan that was to be introduced
last month has been temporarily shelved due to growing opposition
from health experts who say they had not been properly consulted prior
to preparing the draft of the plan.
Japan Agency for International Cooperation (JAIC) in collaboration with
the World Bank prepared a Master Plan for the health sector that was to
be presented formally to the government on November 24. However, as
planned the Master Plan could not be submitted to the state for
implementation as senior health sector employees opposed the proposed
official launch has now been postponed by three months. However, senior
health sector employees say if the plan fails to meet the standards and
the requirements of Sri Lankan society, there would be more
opposition with further stepped up campaigns that would follow.
to health sources the draft has been prepared at a cost of nearly Rs.
256 million. “This is similar to the Presidential Task Force on health
that was prepared by the previous People’s Alliance (PA) regime at a
colossal amount of money. The then regime too wasted public money but
finally it was not used as this system did not meet the basic
requirements of the Sri Lankan society,” senior medical experts said.
to Spokesman, Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), Dr.Channa
Perera the planners had failed to consult some of the senior members of
the health sector while only consulting junior members prior to
preparing the draft.
should not have been the case. There are so many senior medical officers
who could have been consulted. But it did not happen,” Dr.Perera
said for instance in the contents of the Master Plan primary health care
is not given emphasis. According to him Sri Lanka’s health care has
been on par with other countries because the state has always given
prime emphasis to primary health care. “So this plan, according to the
new Health Master Plan, is not going to work out well as a result of
this,” he said.
further, he said another issue that needs
focus is the cluster hospitals that are to be formed
under the new plan. He says according to the new plan all small
hospitals would come under one hospital like the cluster bus companies.
“We cannot agree to this. This system is not going to work out well in
Sri Lanka,” he said.
to another proposal, which he said is ‘unsuitable’ for Sri Lanka, is
an insurance scheme for the patients. “I am sure 60% of the patients
will not be able to afford this,” he said.
some other provisions of the Master Plan the doctor said the plan has
indicated that abortion is the second largest reason for admission of
women to hospitals. Refuting this he said ‘it was wrong.’
Chairman, Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), Dr.Ananda
Samarasekara says there has not been proper consultation between the
planners and the stake holders and attributes this to the present status
of the Master Plan.
He says any such proposal must be discussed with the
stakeholders as well since they would be directly involved in
any changes that are to be brought into the health sector.
union action against proposed Water Reform Bill
Religious and Multi Racial Organisation for Human Rights has threatened
to go ahead with trade union action until the government gives a firm
assurance that the proposed Water Bill would not be implemented.
organisation is in the process of collecting signatures from members of civil
society targeting one million. So far, the association’s spokesman
said, close upon 100,000 signatures have been collected.
Sarath Fernando says the signatures would be handed over to both the
President and the Prime Minister for their intervention prior to the
bill being passed in parliament.
the Supreme Court held that the bill must be passed by a simple majority
in parliament only if all provincial councils agree as the bill
under the 13th Amendment came under the provincial council
learns the Uva Provincial Council has passed a resolution against the
massive protest was launched by the multi religious and multi racial
organisation opposite the Fort Railway Station last Wednesday against
the Water Services Reform Bill.
to the alliance the bill would pave the way for multi national companies and any local traders to privatise
and regulate the water supply throughout the country, which may lead to
the violation of human rights of the people
bill provides any company that obtains such a licence the opportunity to
subsidise consumers and to enter into fresh contracts with the
consumers, which means the consumers, could have to pay a security
deposit. Consumers would also have to pay any expenses incurred in
Board creates Intelligence Marketing Division
The Sri Lanka
Tea Board (SLTB) is planning to merge three of its vital units within
the board, in order to optimise output.
to The Sunday Leader SLTB, statistician, Palitha Sarukkali stated
that there are three main units in the SLTB, which are the Statistics
Unit, Information Technology Unit and Library and that they would be all
brought under one umbrella in the future.
these three departments are to be combined and an Intelligence Marketing
Division is to be created. He said these services will be further
enhanced and added, additional in-depth information would be made
available to the public. “Some
of these the board has not done before, such as giving information about
cost of production, which would be done now,"
the cost of sales, production, auction prices and other data which were
available at three different units will be made available under the one
unit of Intelligence Marketing, giving
locals as well as other countries access to more in-depth studies and
information on the subject of tea in Sri Lanka, Sarukkali explained.
Intelligence Centre Sarukkali explained will provide an up to date
database on tea production, export performance, marketing and sale
prices of the tea industry both globally and locally.
“When Sri Lanka releases data of our tea performance the whole
world is interested to know what happened,” Sarukkali told The
information will be published on a regular basis. Under this programme the board would also be highlighting
problems the tea industry is facing
and provide a well-documented and useful reference facility with
a library, where persons interested in the tea industry could engage in
research relating to the industry,” he said.
to him the new unit will also carry out market research studies as and
when required in consumer and potential market countries, which
Sarukkali noted was lagging earlier.
activity that is to be undertaken is the evaluation of import and export
regulations in producer and consumer countries. Then compilation of cost of production data for Sri Lanka and
other producing countries for comparison purposes is another activity
that will be done,” he explained.
says analysis of prices relating to auction prices; prices of sales and
demands as well as retail prices will be available.
told The Sunday Leader that about 90% of Sri Lankan tea is
exported. As a result, he
explained, this Intelligence Marketing unit would be extremely useful to
other countries as well as locals.
through the SLTB website people can even make purchases of tea either
from abroad or localy and the SLTB will deliver quality tea to the
person,” he added.
members meet LTTE on Dec. 9
the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) are expected to meet the
political wing leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
on December 9, a spokesman for the alliance said.
TNA will discuss the current political situation and especially the
reaction of the south to the present constitutional crisis the country
is facing, the spokesman said.
to fund power projects
The Power and
Energy Ministry has accelerated the rehabilitation and expansion of
electricity services after a MoU to this effect was signed with the
Asian Development Bank.
the Conflict Affected Area Rehabilitation Project (CAARP) funded by the
Asian Development Bank (ADB), the bank will allocate funds for
Rehabilitation and Expansion (RE) schemes in a number of districts.
Funds will be allocated for 28 RE schemes in the Jaffna
District, nine RE schemes in the Mullaitivu District, 11 RE schemes in
the Killinochchi District and one RE scheme in the Vavuniya District. In
addition in the Vavuniya and Manner Districts 27 sub stations will be
installed to improve the existing schemes and facilitate construction of
LV extensions. The development and construction of associated MV lines
will also be included under the project.
far, 38 RE schemes and associated MV lines have been completed in the
Jaffna District at a cost of Rs.380 million with
funds allocated by ADB.
industry to be revamped
changes are to be introduced by the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) with a
view to revamping and reviving the tea industry.
changes include a series of promotional campaigns that are to be carried
out by the board islandwide.
Tea Board, George N. M. Pelpola said that the board is carrying out
promotional campaigns to increase the consumption of tea in the country,
especially among the youth of the country.
explained that the SLTB hopes to open up tea counters in the southern
coastal belt with a view to attracting tourists. “Similar counters are
also expected to be opened in Pinnawela and Viharamahadevi Park so that
locals as well as foreigners could be assured of a good cup of Sri
Lankan tea,” he said.
also added that the SLTB has plans to reopen the Tea Shop at the
Katunayake Airport. He said those arriving from abroad would be given a
complimentary cup of tea for them to savour. He says the board plans to
implement this programme with effect from January 1, next year.
said that the SLTB is planning to man tea counters that are found in
popular rest houses attached to the Tourist Board with the assistance of
the Tourist Board.
plans are all aimed at providing the public with a perfect cup of tea as
well as optimise this product that the country has in abundance,”
also noted that iced tea is another product that the SLTB is trying to
promote in the country.
said another plan of the SLTB is the establishment of tea counters at
railway stations. Soft drinks are expected to face tough competition
with the introduction of iced tea as a thirst quencher. “This would
definitely compete with all other cool drinks in my view,” he said.
from these plans, the board has carried out several seminars all over
the country including Jaffna, to educate people on how to judge the
quality of tea they are buying. Through this method, they would be able
to ascertain for themselves whether the tea they purchase is of good
standard or not,” Pelpola said.
Centre that was set up with the sole intention of serving people of the
Mahaweli areas has within the course of this year expanded its services
for the benefit of the general public.
learns that Irrigation and Water Management Minister Gamini Jayawickrema
Perera has instructed officials at the Mahaweli Centre to serve not only
the people of the Mahaweli areas, but the entire island.
Minister has stressed the need for implementing new programmes through
the centre and instructed the relevant officials that funds should be
acquired through its own funding activities. “The center should also
target school leavers in the Mahaweli areas to engage themselves in
productive employment based on self reliance,” the Minister has said.
part of the ongoing programme, the Mahaweli Center is taking the
initiative to popularise Mahaweli products among people in the capital
and cities outside Mahaweli areas. One of the main programmes initiated
by the Mahaweli Centre was the establishment of the Mahaweli Art
Association in order to preserve the various art traditions and cultural
values for the benefit of future generations.
engaged in various fields of art are given the opportunity of improving
their living conditions.
programme was launched jointly by the Cultural Department, Tower Hall
Foundation and the Mahaweli Center. These organisations are now in the
process of formulating a structural set up together with an action plan.
As an initial step the relevant officials have decided to implement the
programme in the districts where all nine Mahaweli systems are located.