President unveils 10-year blueprint for comprehensive development in Eastern Province

Tuesday, 10 October 2023 00:57 –      – 46

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  •  Plans to harness untapped agricultural potential of Mahaweli A and B zones in Batticaloa district
  •  Set to implement comprehensive tourism strategy spanning from Nilaweli to Panama 
  •  Assures to address concerns of dairy farmers 

President Ranil Wickre-mesinghe unveiled an ambitious 10-year initiative aimed at boosting agriculture and tourism in the Eastern Province, with a particular focus on the development of Trincomalee.

He highlighted plans to harness the untapped agricultural potential of the Mahaweli A and B zones in the Batticaloa district, previously overlooked by Mahaweli projects. Additionally, a comprehensive tourism strategy spanning from Nilaweli to Panama is set to be implemented.

The President made these announcements during his attendance at the 149th-anniversary celebration of Chenkaladi Central College in Batticaloa.

Furthermore, efforts to enhance the college’s infrastructure were initiated in conjunction with its anniversary and President Ranil Wickremesinghe personally conferred certificates to students who successfully completed their Advanced-level studies at Chenkaladi Madhya Mahavidyalaya, Batticaloa.

“Batticaloa is a district of great fortune, boasting two schools with a distinguished 150-year legacy. Just yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the momentous 150th anniversary celebration of St. Michael’s College. Today, we are gathered here at Chenkaladi Madhya Mahavidyalaya. It’s worth noting that the late Minister K.W. Devanayagayan received his education at this very school and I had the honour of working alongside him during J.R. Jayawardene’s Cabinet.

He said the school has consistently provided high-quality education to the youth of Chenkaladi and Kalkuda areas. “The proof lies in the remarkable number of students it has sent to Jayawardenapura University, as well as those pursuing various courses, including accounting. These students have also excelled in the field of technology, despite the school’s lack of a proper technology lab. As a result, I am committed to establishing a state-of-the-art technology laboratory at the school to further enhance its educational offerings,” he added.

While this school has undoubtedly achieved academic excellence, its talents extend beyond the classroom, notably in the field of dance. “Today, the Chenkaladi area has seen significant development and it’s our duty to continue fostering progress in these regions, a shared aspiration of both Devanayagan and Rajadurei, distinguished Ministers from the Batticaloa district. I’m pleased to report that we are actively working to fulfil their vision,” Wickremesinghe said.

The President noted that education has been the cornerstone of Batticaloa’s development, yet the economic foundation requires strengthening. “Our 10-year plan for the Batticaloa district is poised to bolster its economic vitality. The late President J.R. Jayawardene initially intended to leverage the Mahaweli initiative for regional development, but the shadow of war prevented its realisation. Today, a new vision emerges as we plan to transform Trincomalee into a thriving city, in collaboration with India, tapping into mineral resources and creating a bustling trade hub,” he said.

Noting that Katunayake, Biyagama exists as a 400-acre investment zone, he said that Trincomalee has set its sights on establishing an expansive 1,000-acre investment zone. “A systematic development plan for the Trincomalee Port has been prepared by a Singaporean company Surbana Jurong and we are determined to see it through. This ambitious endeavour will transform Trincomalee into a major city and a robust economic hub,” he explained.

Concurrently, the President said the Government recognised the importance of agricultural development. “Plans are underway to harness the untapped potential of the Mahaweli ‘A and B regions’ in the Batticaloa district, previously overlooked by Mahaweli projects. Our aim is to create a modern agricultural industry in this area,” he added.

The province has achieved self-sufficiency in rice production and the Government is actively working to diversify our crop portfolio. Increasing liquid milk production through the introduction of new livestock management practices is also on the horizon. “We are seeking support from local companies like Ambewela in Sri Lanka and international firms to achieve this goal,” he said.

In terms of boosting the tourism industry in the Eastern Province, Wickremesinghe said the Government is mapping out a tourist zone spanning from Nilaveli to Panama. Plans include the development of forest and lake areas to enhance the tourism experience.

“Over the next 10 years, our focus remains on the comprehensive development of Trincomalee city, revitalising the Mahaweli A and B regions, modernising agriculture and promoting tourism. These efforts are poised to usher in a new era of economic prosperity in these provinces. Additionally, addressing the concerns of dairy farmers is a top priority,” he stressed.

The event witnessed the participation of esteemed individuals, including Eastern Province Governor Senthil Thondaman, State Minister S. Vyalendran, Chenkaladi Central College Principal Devadasan Kuhalasan, and a group of teachers and students.