05 July 2011/By Sandun A. Jayasekera
The law and democratic principles sometimes hamper development but a pinch of dictatorship can expedite the expected target at the expected time as witnessed in many Asian Tiger countries, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said.
Minister de Silva was on an inspection tour of the ‘Deduru Oya Multi–Purpose Development Project’ (DMDP) during which he laid the foundation stone for the 1.5 MW hydro power plant at Tummodara.
“It is no doubt that the people have to undergo hardship when large scale development projects are implemented either by the state or the private sector. But they will have to bear it for the larger interest of the country,” Minister de Silva said.
He pointed out that Lee Kwan Yew, the former strongman in Singapore was able to bring Singapore to its present position as he did not take financial and administrative regulations for granted and gave priority to development objectives bypassing all FRs and ARs.
It was a pragmatic policy that paid dividends. It was impossible to experiment that policy in Sri Lanka as the country was bound with volumes of FRs, ARs, human rights and fundamental and labour rights, he added.
However, the DMDP has paid over Rs. 1 billion as compensation to those evicted from the project sites. Compensation and alternative lands and housing would be provided to all before the end of 2012 as the DMDP was expected to be completed by 2013.
The most significant aspect of the DMDP was that it had been funded totally by the Sri Lanka Treasury without a single dollar drawn as foreign investment, loan or grant.
Once completed, the DMDP was envisaged to provide water to 2,400 hectares of existing paddy lands and 600 hectares of new paddy lands in addition to another 300 hectares of elevated irrigation under the left bank development project. Some 50,000 families will have access to drinking water.
Under the South Bank Development Project, 2,300 hectares will have water to harvest both seasons and a 1.5 MWs power station will be commissioned by 2013.
Senior Minister S.B.Navinna also participated in the inspection tour with Minister de Silva.