Lanka seeks Japanese, Saudi funding
Japan has agreed in principle to fund the completion of the US $ 303 million Moragahakanda project which will provide water for thousands of farmers, in the North Central and Eastern Provinces during both Yala and Maha seasons, by a diversion of the Mahaweli river, Presidential Secretariat sources said yesterday.

The Government is also negotiating with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for the funding of the US $ 314 million Kaluganga project in Matale which will provide water for agro based industries and drinking purposes for thousands of villagers in the Eastern and North Central Provinces, the sources said.

The new Secretary to the Ministry of Irrigation and Director General of the Mahaweli Authority Ivan Silva confirmed that a fact finding mission from Japan was to arrive this week in connection with the Moragahakanda project.

He said that both these projects commenced on January 25, 2007 and came under the purview of Minister of Agriculture and Mahaweli Authority Maithripala Sirisena who was scheduled to submit a Cabinet paper next week to resettle 2,200 families.

Foreign advice will be sought for construction of the two dams. The Moragahakanda tank will have an water area four times and the Kaluganga tank two times of the Parakrama Samudura.

He said that plans had been prepared to resettle 1,550 families who would be displaced as a result of the Moragahakanda project and 650 families displaced as a result of the Kaluganga project.

He said that Kaluganga was a tributary of the Ambanganga which in turn was a tributary of the Mahaweli Ganga and the tank will be situated in the Laggala and Pallegama area and provide for 2,000 more hectares of new water.

The tank of the Moragahakanda project will be above Elahera anicut and supply water to Kawdulla tank increasing its capacity by 2000 hectares.

These waters will be utilized for agriculture especially benefiting farmers in water stress areas upto Kantalai in Trincomalee and upto Padaviya in Anuradhapura during Yala and Maha.

It will also meet the demand for clean drinking water from villagers in Trincomalee and Anuradhapura and also benefit Agro based industries and increase production in inland fisheries to increase nutrition intake among the poor farmer community.

The projects would also mean a saving of over a Rs 1,000 million annually spent on treating the acute kidney problems and prevent flooding in the Manampitiya area which at times makes the road impassable.

All the infrastructure development needs for the project are completed and 50% of two bridges already completed.

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