Colombo, Nov 7 (PMD) – The revolutionary change promised in the “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” policy statement will definitely be made, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says.
The people demanded a revolutionary change. In achieving this, difficulties and obstacles will have to be faced, the President said noting that he will act with commitment to overcome those challenges.
He made these remarks addressing a function held at the Mandaduwa Public Stadium this afternoon (November 06) to vest with the public 1,500 completed roads on the same day.
“Like the rest of the world, Sri Lanka had to face the COVID pandemic. In the face of a collapsed economy, a number of plans were put in place to save the lives of the people while facing the enormous challenge thrown at by an unrecognized pandemic. Due to this, the promises that were made could not be fulfilled as pledged.” The President however said that he would continue to protect the trust placed in him by the people without any difference.
The President also spoke of how the tourism industry collapsed due to the COVID pandemic. As a result, close to three million direct and indirect jobs were lost. More than 150,000 people lost their foreign employment and the economy was disrupted for everyone from top to bottom. Despite the massive economic collapse that followed, development work continued. All public servants were paid on time. Steps were taken to settle the foreign loan installments of USD 4 million on time.
Assistance was provided to the families of the COVID patients and to all those who were quarantined. Measures were taken to provide a guaranteed price for paddy.
The President recalled that all this had to be done in the face of a massive economic crisis.
The President said that he would never hesitate to make the change for organic farming as well as renewable energy generation.
Imports of 16 crops including green gram, cowpea, undu and turmeric were completely stopped. Today, the farmers are enjoying the results of this decision. The farmer is receiving higher prices for cinnamon, pepper and turmeric. The President stressed that steps would be taken to protect the consumer and not to reduce the income received by the farmer.
The President urged all farmers to understand this situation and join hands in overcoming the challenge of green agriculture, and further said that he did not intend to make that change by compelling the farmers or the people.
“As soon as I came to power, the youth started painting on the walls. Others cultivated barren paddy fields,” the President said this while inviting all of them to come forward to accomplish the revolutionary change with the trust placed in those days.
As pledged in the National policy framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour,” the project of carpeting 100,000 km of island wide rural roads has been initiated.
Marking the vesting of 1,500 completed roads to the public under this project, Minister Chamal Rajapaksa declared open the Meegasara, Kudabubula and Kapuwaththa roads on the same day.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that if the development projects were stopped in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would not be possible to open 1,500 such roads today. The Prime Minister pointed out that the priority has been given to develop rural and estate roads under this programme and that the rural road network should be developed to build the country.
The Prime Minister also reminded that the government is focusing on programmes that can uplift the economy of the rural people in line with road development.
Addressing the gathering, the Minister of Highways said that the first phase of the New Kelani Bridge and the Central Expressway will be opened to the public by the end of this year.
The World Bank will provide a US $ 500 million subsidy for the development projects in the country, stated the World Bank’s Vice President for the South Asia Region, Hartwig Schafer.
Cabinet and State Ministers, the Governor of the Southern Province, Members of Parliament, People’s Representatives, Foreign Representatives of the World Bank, Secretaries to Ministries and Officials were also present.