Moneragala ready for Deyata Kirula
The Uva Wellassa region comprising Moneragala and Badulla districts
is significant in local history. It is well-known as the place of the
Buddha's first visit to the island thousands of years ago, to
Mahiyangana. Under colonial rule it became known for its warriors as the
1818 rebellion was launched from the area.
Soon after this unsuccessful rebellion, the then rulers virtually
destroyed the rich culture and livelyhood of the people.
For centuries Uva Wellassa was left to struggle on its own.
Successive governments were keen to develop other areas, but gave
step-motherly treatment to this province; so much so, that even in
schools it was taught that Moneragala was one of the poorest districts
in the country.
However, this sad trend has now changed. The steering wheel for this
development is Deyata Kirula.
As Secretary of the Organising committee of Deyata Kirula, Udaya R.
Gamage said, it is not just an exhibition, but it is a development
process ushering in economic benefits to the entire region.
Never in the history of development in Sri Lanka has a sum of Rs. 20
billion been allocated for one district within six months. The
Government did not want the stepmotherly treatment handed out by
successive governments to Moneragala to continue.
The district with a population of 435,000 in 319 GS divisions has now
received the much-needed infrastructure, thanks to the hosting of the
Providing a solution for the human-elephant conflict was one of the
priorities and steps are being taken to expand the electric fence which
prevents elephants from entering villages.
One of the main problems facing the public was the inability to
obtain identity card and birth and death certificates. A prompt solution
was found for this problem through several mobile camps and over 11,000
new identity cards were issued along with birth and death certificates.
Special credit scheme
Providing self-employment and technical know-how in agriculture were
also considered priorities during the lead-up to the Deyata Kirula
exhibition. It was also decided to renovate over 60 mini reservoirs in
With the support of State banks, special credit schemes were
formulated giving a much-needed boost for youth engaged in
self-employment. This was carried out under the Samurdhi movement.
In a bid to provide better living conditions, Rs. 200 million were
given as soft loans to Government employees. Lack of ownership deeds was
one of the burning problems the residents faced and to overcome this
issue, over 20,000 deeds were given to the rightful owners of land.
Similar to the Hambantota district, drinking water was something far
beyond the reach of the common man in the area.
Several solutions had been proposed over decades. However, only a few
pipes had been fitted and that too on a haphazard manner.
However, in the six-month lead-up to Deyata Kirula, permanent
solutions to this problem were initiated. The Buttala water supply
project has now been completed and would provide drinking water for
5,000 families. This includes a water purification plant and four tanks
with the capacity to store 80,000 litres of water.
The National Water Supply and Drainage Board has invested Rs. 140
million on this project and other mini water projects.
Carpet road network
The Moneragala district is to be brought even closer to Colombo with
a carpet road network, minimising the travel time to the area.
Some of the key roads such as the Udawalawe Tanamalwila Road,
Kataragama Badalkumbura stretch, Maligawila Road and the road to Buttala
are now being relaid. The total stretch of road that has been
reconstructed was 250 kilometres and was mainly coordinated by Chief
Minister of Uva Province, Sashindra Rajapaksa.
The total budget allocation fOr the superior road network was Rs. 600
Many roads leading to Moneragala have already being carpeted.
Rural electrification was another area that was focused during the
Deyata Kirula exhibition. The aim of the Government is to increase the
electrification penetration to villagers of the Moneragala district from
the current 65 percent to 90 percent and the investment for this project
was Rs. 1.4 billion.
A new 33,000 Volt line has been laid from Passara to Buttala.
Telephone density too has been increased mainly through CDMA
Township development too was a priority under the six-month lead-up
to the Deyata Kirula exhibition. The focus was on Buttala and the
project was carried out. this was done with a budgetary allocation of
Rs. 30 million.
A modern bus stand was built along with a shopping complex and the
Divisional secretariat building too is now ready for occupation. Four
new fuel filling stations too were built.
Beautifying the Buttala town too is now complete and a new look
Buttala is now seen.
Health is wealth
All hospitals in the region too have undergone major refurbishment
with Rs. 180 million being invested by the Peoples Bank to develop the
Buttala hospital. The SRi Lanka Ports Authority has redeveloped the
Kataragama hospital while the Bank of Ceylon was entrusted with the task
of renovating the Wellawaya hospital. The State Engineering Corporation
and Petroleum Corporation, in a joint effort, developed the Tanamalwila
hospital. Stage Mortgage Bank has come forward to uplift the
The base hospital in Moneragala is being converted to a four-storied
complex with the Ministry allocating Rs. 400 million for the purpose.
The Ministry of Health has ensured that ample stocks of medicine are
available at these hospitals while intensive care facilities too have
been provided for them.
Electricity is now being provided for the proposed industrial estate
which would be a boon for the investors.
Religious, sports facilities
The Uva Province's biggest Dhamma Hall has been built at Udaganawa
and would be opened by the President on February 4. A sum of Rs. 30
million was allocated for this.
Sports development too was in focus with nearly Rs. 750 million being
Construction has commenced on a public swimming pool in Moneragala.
This is a luxury that was beyond the reach of the people in the area.
The pool is being built next to the Moneragala public playground. The
ground is also to be developed and Rs. 48 million has been earmarked for
the project. Volleyball, netball, a kabbadi tournament and a cycle race
would be held during the exhibition and Rs. 10 million has been
allocated for this.
People in the area are happy and content that Deyata Kirula, without
being just another exhibition, would it help develop Uva Wellassa which
had been cold-shouldered for centuries.