"Let's turn the ocean into a lucrative
“It is a shame to import canned fish for consumption spending
billions of rupees as an island while endowed with a resourceful ocean
around the country “, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa was at Bogambara Grounds recently at
the Rata Ekata program. Here he is seen giving a patient hearing
to two little boys
Pic : Sudath Silva
Addressing a gathering after opening the first-ever State fish
canning factory in Galle he said we should strive to end imports of not
only canned fish or connected processed fish products, but, all such
commodities which can be produced and grown in this fertile soil of
He said opening of a fish canning factory was a commendable
fulfillment of the profound objective of transforming the ocean into a
lucrative resource as envisaged in the Mahinda Chintana.
The first fish canning factory established and operated as a joint
venture between the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation and Happy Food Lanka (Pvt.)Ltd
in the Galle Fisheries Harbour is the first cannery out of three such
proposed State industries.
He said owing to the encouragement and concessions given by the
Government to the agriculture sector, the country is by now
satisfactorily self-sufficient in rice and maize as well. " But it is
regrettable that we still import many agricultural products, such as,
green gram, onion and even kurakkan which are conventional food crops of
the country. We have to end this practice of maintaining the dependable
economic practice", he said.
”I was pleased to hear that almost 80 per cent of the Government’s
anticipated goals with regard to the Fishery Industry have been
accomplished by now as revealed by Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
Minister Rajitha Senaratne”, President Rajapaksa said.
“With the progress of the fish canning industry, we would be able to
end the import of canned fish to the country, thereby saving a massive
amounts in foreign exchange. Further, the new cannery will be a boon to
the fishery community and the people as well. It would encourage the
fishing industry. I hope all officials and authorities responsible for
the uplift of the fishery industry should work with proper understanding
about the needs and aspirations of the fishery community. I also expect
that the other two proposed fish canning factories would also be soon
established,” the President said.
It was at the meeting held at Temple Trees organised to take forward
the policy of 'One Country' that President Rajapaksa said while the
Government was capable of dealing with any pressures that came from
Geneva, New York or Washington, it was the public servants and heads of
corporations who should ensure good governance to improve the image of
the country internationally.
The 'One country' policy was designed to respond to current
challenges faced by the country and to mark the completion of two years
of the Government that came to office in the General Election in April
Addressing a gathering of public servants, heads of state
corporations, provincial and local government political leaders on the
challenges facing the country, President said the public administration
should be aware of the challenges that have taken place in society, the
new expectations in an era of peace, and learn to be responsible to the
public in all their actions.
Referring to current challenges before the country, he said such
challenges were not new. He recalled that the Government was able to
face up to and overcome tremendous pressure from the time it declared
commitment to a unitary state. " It was able to take the message of
unity against foreign pressure. It was able to face challenges such as
fuel price increase, closure of banks due to the international financial
crisis, and most importantly the major threat of terrorism. We were able
to overcome these through the policy of non-alignment. We will remain
non-aligned and therefore we can declare that we will not waiver in our
policies whatever pressures we have to face", he said.
The President said the Government had pressing economic needs today
and it had spent nearly Rs. 130 billion on public service to improve the
quality of service to the people.
Duty to serve the public
"This should be borne in mind by all those whose duty is to serve the
public. Public administration officials should take note of the changes
in society due to the rise in per capita income to $ 2600 and that led
to increased expectations among the people. Many development policies
carried out by the Government have brought new roads, new access to
electricity and water and much better expectations from the
It was necessary to curb wastage and mismanagement and look into the
actual necessity of products that are being imported, which could be
produced here. He said there were many research institutes and a large
number of experts too that could contribute to this. The private sector
should be incentivised to look into new opportunities. There must be a
new mindset that will ready to drink fresh milk produced in the country
and not to look for powdered milk said to strengthen bones", he said.
President Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka was now moving towards a new era
and it was the duty of the public servants to be responsible and ensure
good governance for the sake of the country, for the sake of our
children, for the sake of the children yet to be born and for the sake
of the future generations.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa launching the 'Mihi Meth Suwa Sara'
programme to alleviate the malnutrition in the country and control the
no-communicable diseases among the country's population said the
Government strengthened the free health service while implementing
qualitative and timely measures such as free education.
Quality health service
He said the Government targets to build a healthy nation of sound
mind and body and will provide the necessary strength through quality
health service while developing the country as a whole." Sri Lanka has
the best health indicators in Asia and successfully managed epidemics
such as malaria and polio due to the free healthcare available to the
country's people", he said.
The program was organised to create awareness among the people on
leading a healthy lifestyle and forming a wholesome society to prevent
non - communicable diseases (NCD) among Sri Lankans, which have become a
major reason for the increase in deaths.
"Most students go even to nearby schools by bus or school van.
Schoolchildren take fast food as a result of the busy lifestyle of their
parents. We have to play a pivotal role to be safe from NCDs," President
Rajapaksa said. The President noted that it has been observed that more
people are paying attention to their health. "The recently constructed
jogging tracks are popular among the people. The law cannot prevent
people from NCDs but it has to be achieved by individual dedication and
determination," President Rajapaksa said.
He emphasised the importance of children as well as adults engaging
in physical exercises and said that the government has taken measures to
build playgrounds and walkers' lanes in every city to promote good
health through exercise.
At a development review meeting held in Matara President Rajapaksa
urged public officials and political representatives to work according
to a well-planned road map when enacting economic and social development
initiatives in the provinces.
He said that such prudent planning could bring about better results
in line with the people's expectations. While emphasizing the importance
of proper planning, the President also said that it was important to
minmise wastage when carrying out development initiatives.
He opened the newly constructed building complex of Matara District
Secretariat. Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas
Alahapperuma, Matara District Parliamentarian Sanath Jayasuriya,
Southern Province Governor Kumari Balasuriya and District Secretary W.
K. K. Athukorale were also present.
The 29th Asia-Pacific Regional and Sri Lanka’s Centenary Scout
Jamboree was declared open by the Chief Scout, President Rajapaksa in
Dambulla last Sunday.
“While announcing that the 29th Asia-Pacific Regional and Sri Lanka’s
Centenary Scout Jamboree has been officially declared open, I am pleased
to extend my warmest felicitations to all Sri Lankan and foreign scouts
and officials participating in this event,” he said.
The Jamboree with the participation of nearly 750 foreign scouts from
26 countries and 6,000 local participants will continue till April 7. In
1912, F. G. Stephens launched the Scout movement in Sri Lanka.
The first ever scout contingent was established in Christ Church
College in Matale. Since then the scout movement had extended throughout
Sri Lanka with a membership of over 46,000 today.
It was a happy and unforgettable moment for the Veteran film maker
Dr. Lester James Peiris as the President of Sri Lanka was with him to
celebrate his 93rd birthday. President Rajapaksa paid a personal visit
to his residence to extend his best wishes to Dr. Peiris, who is
rendering an immeasurable service to Sri Lankan film industry.
The President has presented a Rs. 2.5 million life insurance policy
to the veteran film maker, who is considered as the father of Sinhala
cinema and revolutionised the Sinhala film industry with his globally
acclaimed film "Rekawa" in 1956.
The internationally acclaimed film director, screenwriter and film
producer went on to produce 28 such award-winning movies as Sandesaya,
Gamperaliya, Delovak Athara, Golu Hadawatha, Nidhanaya, Madol Duwa,
Weera Puran Appu, Kaliyugaya, Yuganthaya, Baddegama, Wekanda Walauwa and
He has earned many accolades including the Sri Lankabhimanya title,
Sri Lanka's highest honour for a civilian.'Avurudu Nekath Seettuwa', the
traditional document that lists the 'nekath' (auspicious times) for the
customs to be followed during the upcoming Sinhala and Hindu New Year
was handed over to the country's leader, President Rajapaksa on Friday
at the Temple Trees.
A messenger handed over the traditional document to the President at
an event organised by the Ministry of Culture and the Arts.