Written by Staff Writer
11 Sep, 2016 | 10:31 pm
Villagers in Katukeliyawa, Mihintale depend on paddy and chena cultivation for their livelihoods. There are 120 acres of paddy fields in Katukeliyawa.
The paddy fields, belonging to 60 families in the area, have not been cultivated for the past three seasons.The paddy farmers in this village are well aware that they will be unable to cultivate next season as well. This is because the only water source for irrigation in the area, the Kalpitiyawa Reservoir, has been ruined by a contractor.
The task conferred on this contractor via the limited tender scheme which functioned in the North Central Province for a while, to fulfill the limitless wants of the provincial authorities and officials, was to remove silt from the reservoir and renovate the bund.
While no silt has been removed from the reservoir, the work carried out by the contractor on the bund can be classified as dismantling rather than repairing.
The 12 foot wide bund has shrunk to eight feet in width after the contractor completed work.
The contractor who used soil instead of gravel to build the bund, has failed to properly set the soil to prevent the bund from disintegrating. What is far more serious is that Irrigation Engineers of the North Central Province have turned a blind eye to the substandard work and granted certification for the various tasks, creating the opportunity for the contractor to make off with Rs.4.4 million of public funds.
The valve, a crucial element of the reservoir has been removed and relocated in an adjacent field under this renovation program.
While water is leaking from the two renovated sluices, this has prevented the paddy farmers of Katukeliyawa from cultivating over three seasons, even when rain was plentiful, driving them to the brink of losing their homes.
What were the irrigation pundits of the province doing while the access road to a village was being destroyed and a life=giving water source was being dismantled?
Chief Secretary of the North Central Province, This is over to you…..
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