Poverty Alleviation Day Commemorated in Ratnapura

Ratnapura Corr.

The International Poverty Alleviation Day was commemorated at the Samurdhi Hall, Ratnapura New Town, recently.

Speeking at this ceremony, Ratnapura district MP and Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, W. D. J. Seneviratne said that the government under President Mahinda Rajapaksa is determined to develop the country economically and raise the per capitol income to 4000 US dollars.

"We cannot achieve this goal by neglecting the poor. The Samurdhi programme is not just giving assistance to the poor, but it makes them engage in self employment projects to increase their income levels.

"The ceremony was organized by the Ratnapura Divisional Secretary to felicitate Samurdhi officials.

Addressing the Samurdhi officials the Minister said that poverty prevails at international level. It is not confined to Sri Lanka alone. That is why October 14 is named as International Poverty Alleviation Day.

Minister Seneviratne said that all governments in power adopted various measures to eradicate poverty. Earlier Sri Lanka gave one kilo of rice free of charge every week.

"We started the Janasaviya programme. Samurdhi which was introduced in 1995 has given strength to the government’s poverty alleviation programme.

Poor families eligible to receive Samurdhi Assistance are overlooked. Those who are not eligible receive Samurdhi. While some wanted an increase to Samurdhi assistance, some surrendered their Samurdhi cards. Such a gesture is appreciated. These cards can be issued to those needy eligible persons.

By providing the people with water, electricity and roads and other basic needs, the government expects the participation of the poverty stricken people in its perseverance to develop this, he said.

Ratnapura Divisional Secretary Mrs. C. M. Kottawatha said even though our district is blessed with gems, tea and other resources, ours is the poorest division in the Ratnapura district. There are 53 grame seva vasams and 916 families depend on Samurdhi assistance. We are trying our utmost to uplift there poor families introducing various projects and expect to overcome poverty in the near future.

Provincial Council Chairman Ranjit Bandara also spoke.

Children from the Samurdhi families who performed well in the Lama Kekulu Competition received their prizes from the Minister. Samurdhi officials were felicitated.

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