Second phase of the Ekata Sitimu (Let’s be together) national program commenced in Batticaloa
Several programs under the National Food Production Program launched
by Sugeeswara Senadhira
A new meaning to communal harmony and coexistence emerged from the multi-ethnic Eastern Province on the eve of Aluth Avurudda, when an unparalleled integrated public service was launched in the District of Batticaloa from April 8 to 12, which concluded with President Maithripala Sirisena’s appeal for collective efforts towards progress.
The second phase of Rata Wenuwen Ekata Sitimu (Let’s be together) national development program was launched on Monday (8) targeting the Batticaloa District.
President Sirisena emphasized that it is the responsibility of everyone to dedicate themselves to building the country, overcoming the economic crisis by standing together. The President said so joining in the closing ceremony of the Batticaloa District Ekata Sitimu (Stand together for the country) held at the Weber Stadium.
The main object of the “Stand together for the country” project is to make the special projects of the President and other national development projects by different ministries and social welfare projects to be conducted efficiently, to reap more benefits to the rural people and at district level. The programs include, the drug prevention program conducted under the guidance of the President which is a national development project, the national program for protecting children, and the national program for environmental conservation.
“This is the largest ever integrated program of this kind held in the Batticaloa District,” said Sudharshani Srikantha, Additional District Secretary, adding that, “public enthusiasm was unprecedented, all public servants worked hard to ensure that the services were provided to the public.” She said that although it was a four-day service, her staff had been deployed to continue the follow-up activities to ensure that everything is concluded to the fullest satisfaction of the people.
As per the instructions of President Sirisena, the Presidential Secretariat commenced the Program of Ekata Sitimu with the aim of monitoring the implementation of national development projects such as, Gramashakthi, National Drug Prevention, Protect Children National Program, National Chronic Kidney Prevention, National Food Production, and Environment Protection, and various other projects implemented by Ministries.
This program will help to identify the public issues already identified by the Government institutions and work to solve them through the state mechanism.
The very first program was held in the Puttalam district recently and it is now proposed to implement them island wide.
The second phase of the project covered all (14) Divisional Secretariats in the Batticaloa District. Also several development programs were implemented under the National Food Production Program at several Divisional Secretariats.
The first program was held in the Thanthamelai area in the Manmunei Divisional Secretariat where supplementary food crop seeds were distributed and awareness programs held for farmers.
In addition, TOM EJC mango plants, water pump, peanut seeds were distributed.
It was followed in the Manmunaiiputthu, Kirankulam Central area and the Eravur Pattu, Mawalayaru area at Koralayapattu Central area.
The far flung villages in this Muslim majority district (72%), face many grievances due to difficulties in accessing the city-based public offices. Many of their issues were brought to the mobile services during the Ekata Sitimu program, said the Additional District Secretary. Different mobile services were provided at Vakarai, Eravur, Manmune, Kathankudi, Porathivu, Valachchanai Koralepaththu and other divisions in South, East, West, North and Central.
Governor of Eastern Province M L A M Hisbullah, expressed his gratitude to President Sirisena for the special attention given to the Batticaloa District, and for the widespread integrated mobile services.
The Gramashakti, the Village Empowerment Program was greatly appreciated by the farmers and the self-employed, especially small entrepreneurs because they could obtain the private sector facilities including raw material and buy-back arrangements.
The first district project started on March18 in the Puttalam district covering 16 divisional secretariats and all 32 Grama Nildhari domains. Services were provided to give solutions to issues related to education, health, and vocational matters. Drug prevention, kidney disease prevention, environmental conservation, and other special programs are being conducted at different places in the district.
Many programs including the handing over of wheelchairs to disabled persons and self-employment kits also took place.
The President opened the Puttalam District Smart Lanka Vocational Guidance Institute and the Puttalam Urban Council Auditorium, built with grants of the National Policy and Economic Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In Batticaloa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a mobile consular service on April 10 and 11, in coordination with the Government Agents of Batticaloa and Divisional Secretariats of Kattankudy and Chenkalady.
Through the Rata Wenuwen Ekata Sitimu program, the people of the Batticaloa District availed themselves of consular services, including the attestation of documents, assistance to families of Sri Lankans stranded and detained abroad, registration of births and deaths that occur overseas, and assistance on compensation-related issues.
Further, contact information of Sri Lankan Missions overseas and services provided by those Missions to Sri Lankans living and travelling abroad were made available to the public via the mobile service. The mobile service also featured activities pertaining to the Economic Diplomacy and Public Diplomacy programs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.