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Freehold land ownership granted to 45,253 Mahaweli Walawa settlers

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has stated that through the “Urumaya” program, the government’s intent is to express gratitude to farmers who have supplied rice to the country despite not owning the land.

He also emphasized that the current government aims to provide both knowledge and rights to the people, akin to how C.W.W. Kannangara promoted education through free schooling.

President Wickremesinghe made these remarks at a ceremony held this morning (June 17) at the Embilipitiya Mahaweli Stadium. 

The event was for the awarding of freehold land deeds to 1,524 out of 45,253 eligible settlers in the Mahaweli Walawa region as part of the national “Urumaya” program to provide 02 million freehold land deeds. 

The President participated in the Urumaya ceremony and the symbolic distribution of land deeds.

Addressing the event, President Wickremesinghe further stated;

I have instructed all relevant authorities to issue freehold land deeds within the next two months. District Secretaries, the Land Commissioner General, and the surveyors’ office will collaborate to expedite the delivery of these land deeds. Local government officials will also contribute, ensuring the efficient implementation of this program.
For the past 75 years, people have been given land without freehold rights. The “Urumaya” program was introduced to grant these legal land rights, marking a significant change. During difficult times, everyone shared the burden. Now that the economy is improving, everyone should benefit, especially the farmers who provide rice to the nation.

In addition to granting free land rights to farmers, we are working to provide housing rights to 250,000 low-income residents living in the Colombo flats. This program aims to ensure that every citizen owns land, a house, or a vehicle. Just as C.W.W. Kannangara provided free education in 1944, this government is committed to providing both knowledge and rights to the people.

Farmers in this area have been growing crops and harvesting without owning the land, preventing them from obtaining bank loans. This problem has persisted for three generations. To address this, the government implemented the “Urumaya” program to grant them land rights as a gesture of gratitude to the farmers of this country.
When we assumed office, the country was in crisis, with no electricity, and a lack of fuel and medicines. To recover, we prioritized increasing production. Paddy production rose during the 2022 and 2023 seasons, thanks to the farmers’ efforts. The government provided necessary support, including fertilizer.
Our support for farmers goes beyond land ownership. To eliminate rural poverty, we must carry out an agricultural revolution. The agricultural modernization program is designed to increase farmers’ incomes alongside land ownership.

We urge everyone to participate in this program, which will begin next year with prompt funding. The government also plans to modernize and restructure the agricultural service centers.
I extend my gratitude to the farmers of this area for their service over three generations without land rights.

Minister of Wildlife,Forest Resources Conservation and Irrigation, Pavithra Wanniarachchi;

Today marks the historic achievement of receiving land rights after generations of deprivation. The suffering endured without these rights has been immense. Today, the President has taken decisive steps to fulfill the fundamental needs of our people: land, housing, and food.
The joy experienced by families through owning freehold land is invaluable. This initiative, led by the President, is seen as a transformative revolution aimed at empowering and bringing immense joy to your families.

A significant revolution is underway as 02 million families are granted freehold deeds, providing them with long-awaited land rights.
In addition, the President aims to launch the agricultural modernization program. Equipping farmers with modern technology cannot be achieved alone, which is why the initiative to provide modern agricultural equipment has begun with support from the Asian Development Bank.

Development initiatives in schools, hospitals, and infrastructure across the country are progressing steadily. Today, under the President’s astute leadership, the nation has achieved remarkable development. We cannot afford further experimentation; therefore, your support is crucial for sustaining this program.

Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries Mahinda Amaraweera;

There was a time in our country when disputes over land led to tragic conflicts, even within families. Land issues remain a significant cause of police complaints and public grievances that we, as public representatives, frequently encounter.

Today, you have received a freehold title deed, marking President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s largest privatization effort. He is committed to allocating millions of acres of land to the people. Despite the country facing immense challenges, the President stepped up to lead, yet some criticize instead of offering support. Under his leadership, farmers protesting were returned to their fields, ensuring our nation’s rice needs were met locally, not imported.

State Minister of Plantation Industries and Mahaweli Development Lohan Ratwatte;

The Mahaweli Authority oversees a significant portion of the country’s land, and under President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s vision, numerous families have received freehold land deeds through the Urumaya program. President Wickremesinghe has steered the country with a well-structured program, rescuing it from dire circumstances. As various candidates vie for the presidency and social media buzzes with campaigns, it is crucial that the President’s initiatives continue for another five years. It is imperative for all of us to prioritize the nation’s interests and collaborate towards its progress. Failure to do so risks plunging the country into turmoil once more.

The event was attended by the Maha Sangha of the province, former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa, State Ministers Janaka Wakkambura, Shashindra Rajapaksa, Jagath Pushpakumara, Lohan Ratwatte, Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Chairman Kanchana Jayaratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Irrigation Saman Darshana Padikorala, Mahaweli Authority Director General M. L. D. C. M. Abeywardena, Senior Additional Secretary to the President Chandra Herath and numerous government officials and policymakers.

(President’s Media Division)

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MP Ali Sabri Raheem released on bail (Update)

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Puttalam District MP Ali Sabry Raheem has been granted bail after being produced before the Puttalam Magistrate’s Court today (July 20).

The Puttalam Acting Magistrate has ordered the MP to be released on a surety bail of Rs. 200,000 and also to appear before court on 22 July.


(Previous News on 20th July, 2024 at 11:51am)

MP Ali Sabri arrested

Puttalam District MP Ali Sabri Raheem was arrested by Kalpitiya police earlier today (20). 

The parliamentarian, against whom a warrant had been issued recently, had appeared before the Kalpitiya Police this morning (20), after which he was arrested, police said.

Police said that he will be produced before the court today.

In March, the Puttalam District MP was suspended from Parliament for a period of one month, after a resolution proposing the suspension of Raheem from parliamentary proceedings was approved in the Parliament.

Raheem was embroiled in controversy last year after he was detained at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Colombo along with a stock of undeclared gold and mobile phones.

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Teachers and principals to work to rule for two weeks starting Monday

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The Teacher-Principal Trade Union Alliance has announced that the work-to-rule campaign will begin for two weeks starting Monday, as previously decided.

The Alliance stated that this action is due to the failure of negotiations held yesterday (19), which included Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, Treasury officials, Public Service Commission officials, and others.

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105 killed in Bangladesh protests; nationwide curfew imposed

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At least 105 people have been killed in Bangladesh as police cracked down on unrelenting student-led protests against govt job quotas despite a ban on public gatherings.

The govt has decided to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy the army.

Earlier in the day, telecommunications were disrupted and television news channels went off the air.

Authorities had cut some mobile telephone services the previous day to try to quell the unrest. 

According to reports, police and security officials fired bullets and tear gas at protesters and banned all gatherings in the capital Dhaka. 

The protests, which began weeks ago but escalated sharply this week, represent the biggest challenge to PM Sheikh Hasina since she won a fourth consecutive term in office after the January polls.

The government has deployed police and paramilitary forces across the capital to lock down campuses and break up protests. 

On Wednesday, universities including the country’s largest suspended classes and closed dormitories, and on Friday police in Dhaka said they were banning all gatherings and demonstrations in the capital. 

According to foreign media, border guard officials fired at a crowd of more than 1,000 protesters who had gathered outside the head office of state-run Bangladesh Television, which was attacked on Thursday. 

The border guards shot at the crowd with rifles and sound grenades, while police officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Bullets littered the streets, which were also marked by smears of blood. 

Internet services and mobile data were widely disrupted on Thursday night and remained down on Friday in the capital, Dhaka. 

Social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp were also not loading. A statement from the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission said they were unable to ensure service after their data center was attacked by demonstrators, who set fire to equipment. 

Student protesters said they will extend their calls to impose a shutdown on Friday, and urged mosques to hold funeral prayers for those who have been killed.

Source: Times Of India

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