Last week, President Maithripala Sirisena , commemorating four years of Presidency vested the new Laggala green city in the people. It also marked the realisation of a sustainable development target set by the President after taking office on January 8, 2015.
For millennia, Mahaweli, the longest river in the country had been the lifeline of the nation. Having the largest catchment area of a single river and with a network of tributaries, the Mahaweli flows through sustaining one sixth of the land mass of the island (10,448 square kilometres/4034 square miles).
The gigantic Mahaweli Development Scheme, was to benefit Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Ampara, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Jaffna districts with its life giving water.
However, it was not to be, for 40 years.
When the accelerated Mahaweli project prioritised electricity generation, irrigation and drinking water requirements of the people took a backseat, until the project was revived and implemented during the past few years.
It was the intervention of President Maithripala Sirisena which breathed life into a dormant project. His agitation for its revival since the time he was elected a Member of Parliament from the Polonnaruwa District resulted in its launch during the tenure of President Rajapaksa.
However, it was actively pursued only after January 2015, under the leadership of President Sirisena.
Out of the project’s total water capacity amounting to 660,000 acre-
When such colossal projects are undertaken, most of the time residents of these areas have to make sacrifices. This was true for this project as well. The residents of the old Laggala town, made a tremendous sacrifice for the success of the Moragahakanda-
Each family who sacrificed their land in the old Laggala town for the project was granted 2 acres of land including 1 ½ acres of paddy land, in the Kalu Ganga valley. A total of Rs. 110 million, was also paid to the families as compensation.
A new town with modern amenities spanning over 75 hectares was built with a total capital outlay of Rs. 4,500 million, which includes Rs. 2,043 million for the 112 government buildings.
The Laggala new town is a complete town with all modern facilities by way of schools, hospitals, shopping complexes, public play ground, central bus stand, post office, banks and many other public utilities.
While the city’s garbage would produce organic fertiliser and bio-