President bans filling of paddy landsJuly 1, 2012, 9:17 pm
By Cyril Wimalasurendre
KANDY – President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a meeting held to review the progress of State development projects in the Kandy district strongly objected to the filling of paddy lands and warned that Divisional Council (Pradeshiya Sabha) chairmen would be held responsible for such action.
The President said that some land owners willfully allowed paddy lands to be filled or abandoned so as to put up buildings there later on.
Divisional chairmen should be vigilant and prevent any paddy lands from being filled, President Rajapaksa told the meeting at the President’s House, Kandy on Sunday (June 24).
President Rajapaksa was responding to a statement by a participant whether there were requests from land owners for permission to construct buildings on abandoned paddy lands.
Even in Colombo certain, elements had filled paddy lands or lowlands and constructed buildings and as a the capital got flooded during the rains, the President said.
"We were compelled to demolish many such unauthorised buildings, some of which were even two-storeyed," he said. "Therefore, don’t allow anyone to fill paddy lands. If any paddy land is filled, the Pradeshiya Sabha Chairmen concerned will be held responsible."
In the up-country there was the risk of earth slides. The officials should review the decision taken to declare certain areas in the Kandy District as vulnerable areas and name the areas which were no longer prone to disaster. People should be allowed to build their houses on lands declared risk free, the President told the meeting.
"The exclusion of land areas from the so-called risk regions should be made known within one week," he emphasised.
However, no constructions should be allowed on lands prone to landslides. The government was responsible for paying compensation for building affected by land slides, the President said.
President Rajapaska said that he had learnt that there were many foundation stones laid years back for roads and bridges in the Kandy District but constructions had not come up.
The President said that it was better to call the proposed highway the Northern Expressway rather than the Kandy-Colombo Expressway as it really linked Colombo with the North including Trincomalee Via Kurunegala and branched off to Kandy on the way.
That road had been planned to be built parallel to the railway track from Enderamulla and it would reduce the distance from Colombo to Kandy considerably, the President said.
Kandy District Secretary, G. A. Gamini Seneviratne tabled the list of development projects in the district. Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake proposed the vote of thanks.
Among participants were Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Mahinda Amaraweera Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella, S. M. Chandresena, Deputy Ministers Earl Gunasekera, Abdul Cadre, MPs. Lohan Ratwatte, Dilum Amunugama and Eric Weerawardana, IGP. N. K. Ilangakoon, Senior DIG, H. N. B. Ambanwala and political leadership of the district and secretaries of ministries.
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