President points out the need of program to protect island's rivers

President Maithripala Sirisena pointed out the urgent need for a systematic program to protect the island's river system as the rivers have come under threat due to erosion of the river banks. President Sirisena made this observation meeting with a group of World Bank officials at the President's Office on Thursday (10th).

The President noted that from the center of the country 103 rivers flow into the sea and the Mahaweli River is the largest river. However, due to the lack of a proper program for the conservation of rivers and the lack of a dedicated institution, the Mahaweli River and other rivers have been severely challenged and all responsible stakeholders should pay urgent attention to this, the President stressed.

The President appreciating the support extended by the World Bank for the development of Sri Lanka, said Sri Lanka expects the global lender as a responsible partner of Sri Lanka's development to continue to support in the future also.

Reminding the challenges Sri Lanka as well as other countries have to face due to the climatic changes occurring with global warming said although the floods and droughts are not new to Sri Lanka, the country has never before experienced such a disastrous weather as in the past few years.President Sirisena gratefully acknowledging the contribution made by the World Bank to provide relief to the people in this backdrop said that a range of World Bank supported projects were helpful to encounter such adversaries in the country and support the vulnerable people.

The President, briefing on the progress of the World Bank-funded Dam Safety and Water Resources Planning project, said the government anticipates the assistance of the World Bank for the envisaged transformations in the water management in Sri Lanka during next few years. He said the government also pays attention to the development of the power sector as well as the agriculture, and irrigation sectors and priority has been given to the renewable energy.

"Regardless of whatever Foreign Direct Investment comes into the country, Sri Lanka government has placed confidence in an agriculture-based economy," the President emphasized