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Sunday, 10 February 2013

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Giant water supply project; costs over Rs. 5,000 m: Nominal tariffs for consumers:

Quenching the thirst of Trinco residents

President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated the necessity to protect water resources for the future generation.


President Mahinda Rajapaksa launches the project
Pix: Sudath Malaweera

The President said, as our ancestors had protected this valuable resource, we benefit from it.

President Rajapaksa was the chief guest at the opening ceremony of the Greater Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply Project. Addressing the gathering after opening the Water Supply Project at the Kantale Water Treatment Plant, he said nearly 43 percent of the people have safe drinking water. Water is a valuable resource which should be protected. Several countries are facing a shortage of water. There was an era when people walked miles to collect water. In some countries still the people go a long distance in search of drinking water.

"He was pleased to commission the giant water supply project which has found a sustainable solution to drinking water problems to people in the Trincomalee district. "Nobody appeared to solve this problem until we launched the Greater Water Supply Project. During elections everyone talked of water supply projects but none implemented it. They held long discussions, but there was no productive outcome. We initiated the project and completed it in a short period of two years" the President said. "We have taken steps to save rain water for future use. I remember there was an arrangement to sell our water resource, but we protected it for the nation. As a result now we could implement mega water supply projects like the Greater Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply Project. This is the only Government which allocated a huge amount of money on drinking water supply projects in the history of the country. Thus a solution has been found to the drinking water problems of the rural people, the President said.


Pumping plant

He said nearly Rs. 5,000 million has been spent on the Greater Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply Project, but only a nominal charge will be imposed on consumers.

The President asked the beneficiaries to refrain from wasting water. Every drop of water is valuable.

Up to now the Water Board has been using the Kantale reservoir water to supply drinking water. Now it could use the Mahaweli Ganga water obtained through giant tubes from Allai, Kantale nearly 22 kilometres away from Kantale.

"Those days Pinthaliya was used to collect water. The villagers filled the Pinthaliyas enthusiastically as providing water to quench one's thirst is a meritorious deed", the President said.

The Greater Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply Project covers Kantale, Trincomalee, Thambalagamuwa, Kinniya and a part of the Kuchchaveli Divisional Secretariat Division. Almost 330,000 people will benefit from the project.

The Mahinda Chinthana national development concept has stated that all basic facilities will be provided to ensure the smooth livelihood of the people. A large number of infrastructure and livelihood development projects have been implemented in the Eastern Province, especially in the Trincomalee district during the last few years, by the Government, the President said.

Sri Lanka's longest bridge is in Kinniya, Trincomalee. Next is the Verugal bridge, which is a milestone in the history of the country as it connects the Trincomalee district with Batticaloa. Since the construction of the bridge the people in both districts used the Polonnaruwa-Habarana route to reach Trincomalee from Batticaloa and vice a versa. The Irakkakandy and Salappai Aru bridges are the other important bridges in the Trincomalee district.

The construction of the Salappai Aru bridges is progressing, and will soon be commissioned to the public. President Rajapaksa ceremonially opened the water supply project by unveiling the plaque with the blessings of religious dignitaries.

President with Ministers and other distinguished invitees.

The Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardane, Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, Eastern Province Governor Mohan Wijewickrama, Eastern Province Chief Minister Najeeb A Majeed, Government Agent (GA) Trincomalee Ranjith Silva, Deputy Economic Development Minister Susantha Punchinilame, MP A.H.M. Azwer, Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka Christine Robichon, officers from the Water Supply and Drainage Ministry and Eastern Provincial Council members were present.

Deputy Minister Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardana, in his welcome speech said a large number of kidney patients were identified in the Wan-Ela, Jayanthipura areas in Kantale and some of them lost their lives. The Greater Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply Project will help prevent people becoming victims to kidney disease.

Deputy Minister Gunawardane expressed gratitude to President Rajapaksa and Minister Dinesh Gunawardane for implementing such a major water supply project for the people of Kantale, Thambalagamuwa, Trincomalee, Kinniya and the Kuchchaveli Divisional Secretariat Divisions.

The French Ambassador Christine Robichon during her speech said, the French Government is ready to fund the Greater Matale Integrated Water Supply Project. Almost 150,000 people who come under the project area will benefit.

She said safe drinking water is essential for a healthy life and is a fundamental human right. France plays an active role to implement this policy worldwide.

"I am delighted to participate in the opening ceremony of the rehabilitated Kantale water treatment plant which is part of the Greater Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply Project. France has allocated Euro 23 million for the project channelled through the French Ministry of Economic and Finance and the French Development Agency", Ambassador Robichon said.

Trincomalee and its surroundings, are currently supplied water through a hydraulic scheme, namely the Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply Scheme built in the early 1980s with funding from France.

The project commissioned by us today includes the rehabilitation of the existing infrastructure and construction of new facilities which will ensure the supply of water to 330,000 people in the Trincomalee city, other towns and villages in the Trincomalee district, she said.

"The Greater Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply Project is also a part of the Trincomalee integrated infrastructure development program funded by the France Development Agency (FDA) through a concessional loan of 69 million Euro. It focused on the reconstruction and the rehabilitation of public infrastructure in the Trincomalee district such as roads, bridges, water supply, electricity and community based infrastructure development projects", Robichon said.

"France has a long time partnership with the Water Board. In 2005 we completed a water supply project in Anuradhapura through a concessionary loan scheme. This was further strengthened in 2011 by funding the Jaffna-Kilinochchi water supply and sanitation project. It is a co-financing project funded by the Sri Lanka Government, France and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Once the project is completed 300,000 people will benefit", the Ambassador said.

Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardane said the Greater Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply Project was a concept of President Rajapaksa.

He ensured the uninterrupted supply of pure drinking water to the people in the Trincomalee town and other areas coming under the project. Up to now they were supplied water for only a limited number of hours a day.

With the opening of the Greater Trincomalee Integrated Water Supply Project a large number of villages in the project area will benefit.

Trincomalee is famous for its natural attractions and is bounded by Anuradhapura, Batticaloa and the Mullaitivu districts.

The land area covered by the district is 272,880 square kilometres. There are 11 Pradeshiya Sabhas and 2 Urban Councils in the district, represented by 230 Grama Seva Divisions.

The area covered by water resources amounts to 98 square kilometres. A majority of the population indulge in agriculture utilising 44 percent of the land. The Forest covers 30 percent of lands in the district.

The Government with its international donors has incurred millions of rupees to restructure and rehabilitate the region victimised by terrorism. When the development projects are completed the North and the East will be the gateway of development in the country.

The terrorism affected North and East are returning to normalcy. The Trincomalee District which remained a ghost city has turned into a paradise.

The people who were denied their fundamental rights by the LTTE are now leading a fear free life.

The Government has reached the peak of its development in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

The Supply of a safe drinking water to the people takes prominence over all development projects.

The Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage is engaged in the process of providing safe drinking water to the masses of the country including the North and East under the 'Mahinda Chinthanaya' national development concept.

The Ministry will formulate a national policy on drinking water and sanitation, implement awareness programs on the use of drinking water produced at a high cost formulate laws, relevant to the fields of water supply and sanitation and implement a national policy on Rain Water Harvesting and make proper arrangements to reduce non-income generating water.

The Ministry targets to provide safe drinking water to 85 percent and adequate sanitation facilities to 88 percent of the population by year 2015.

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