Written by Bella Dalima
06 Mar, 2015 | 8:37 pm
The sixteenth edition of the Gammadda programme was held in Makullella, Bandarawela on Thursday.
As in the past, the News1st Gammadda programme this time around too focussed attention on addressing issues and grievances of the masses; bringing together the people, politicians and authorities to a platform where questions could be asked and suggestions could be made on the problems they face and get an immediate response from their public representatives thereby discussing solutions to their shortcomings.
Ahead of the programme, ten PE+ water tanks were distributed to individuals who were selected by the Divisional Secretariat.
This edition of the Gammadda programme was focused mainly on the problems people of the area face since the commencement of the Uma Oya Multi-purpose Development Project which has now been temporarily suspended.
The Uva Province Chief Minister Harin Fernando, Uva Provincial Councillor Senarath Jayasuriya, Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority Prof. Lal Mervin Dharmasiri, Project Director of the Uma Oya Multi-purpose Development Project Dr. Sunil de Silva, Divisional Secretary Nihal Gunarathne and JVP Uva Provincial Councilor Samantha Vidyarathna were present at the event as a team of experts.
Several questions were raised by the people including questions on delayed payments on compensation, issues pertaining to non availability of basic sanitation facilities in houses provided for those who have relocated as a result of the Uma Oya Project.
When the question was raised on the Rs. 8000 livelihood fund, the Uva Chief Minister Harin Fernando stated that he will look in to the matter and even suggested to form a dedicated committee who will meet with him every two days to discuss the progress and current situation.
Speaking further on his take on the Uma Oya project, the Chief Minister stated that he is prepared to work with the people and find a solution to their issues in the shortest possible time.
The discussion got heated up as the people raised questions on the ignored reports which were given regarding the environmental damage the project could cause and the promises which were not fulfilled since the beginning of the project and accused the team of experts for lying and called on the gathered crowd to not to listen to them.
Further questions were raised by the people as to why the project was not halted at the beginning when the villages in that area were affected by the project.
As a reply to this accusation and questions, the Chief Minister said that the group of experts and himself were appointed to the current posts recently and that they are here to right the wrongs done by the previous position holders.
He further added that the Uma Oya Project Proposal was rejected in 1991 by the then-UNP government due to reports on the same possible bad environmental impacts which have occurred today and stated that it was later commenced as an urgent project in 2008 by the Rajapaksa government.
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