President commences Grama Shakthi People’s Movement to promote rural life

President Maithripala Sirisena says that steps will be taken to increase taxes imposed on imported fruits in the near future to protect the local farmers. The President made these remarks when he visited the Thalawila production village operated under Grama Shakthi People’s Movement, yesterday (13th).

This is the first time that a President has visited to meet the people of Thalawila. It is significant moment and the people warmly welcomed the President when he arrived there. President Sirisena, who mingled with the people engaged in a cordial discussion with them, and the people briefed the President on a few issues that they faced for a long period of time.

Among those issues, water scarcity, issues related to electricity facilities and access roads, shortage of agricultural equipment and issues arise when they sell their products, were given prominence. The President promised speedy implementation of a programme to provide a permanent solution to the  electricity issue of the area.

President Sirisena said that a team of representatives from the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Agriculture and Presidential Secretariat will be dispatched to the area within a one week to inquire into the solutions that can be provided to all these issues. The fruit farmers apprised the President regarding their issue of not receiving an appropriate price for their products and requested to provide solutions to the problems faced by them  due to imports of fruit into the country.

The President said that it is expected to take the necessary actions in the near future on importation of fruits and vegetables into the country. Accordingly, steps will be taken to increase the tax imposed on imported fruits to protect the local farmers.

The President symbolically handed over the first installments of funds that are offered to the Thalawila Gramashakthi people’s movement committee. The President also inspected the Thalawila solar power project established by the Department of Agriculture under the National Food Production Programme.

After arriving at the Mohottuwarama production village, the President was warmly welcomed by the farmer community at the Mohottuwarama Sinhala Maha Vidylaya and he paid attention to their problems. He also promised to provide necessary solutions to their problems. President Sirisena symbolized the releasing of the first quarter of the funds provided to Mohottuwarama Grama Shakthi People’s communities by the Grama shakthi people’s movement.

There was a request for a boat for the transportation of the students of Mohottuwarama Sinhala Vidyalaya who travel from Kalpitiya to Mohottuwarama. President Sirisena paid attention to this and advised the officials of the Department of Disaster Management to take relevant action. A donation of School equipment and books also took place at this event.

State Minister Palitha Range Bandara, Deputy Minister Indika Bandaranayike, Chief Minister of North Central Province Dharmasiri Dassanayake, Provincial Minister Sumal Thisera and other public representatives and government officials were present in this event.

Meanwhile the water purification system built in Pulichchakulama under the programme to prevent the Chronic Kidney disease of unknown etiology was handed over for the usage of the public by the President. The total amount spent on this is 2.2.miilion rupees.Minister Rauff Hakeem, Director General of Mahaweli Authority Sarath Chandrasiri Vithana and other officials were present in this event.

President Sirisena who visited Thalawila today engaged in the religious rituals held at St. Anne’s Church  , Thalawila.The souvenir published to mark the 250th anniversary of this chapel was also presented to the President. Bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Chilaw, Devasritha Dr.Valence Mendis, and other priests were present in this event.

Later, Presdient Sirisena went on an observational visit to the Kalpitiya Pradeshiya shaba