The 15th in the series of “Discussion with the Village” programme which will be presided over by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be held today in the Yombuweltenna village in Walapane Divisional Secretariat Division of the Nuwara Eliya District. The People’s representatives including the Ministers and MPs of the District, Secretaries to Ministries, Heads of various institutions and officials will be participating in this public forum which will begin at 10.00 am.
The ultimate goal of the “Discussion with the Village” programme is for President to go grass roots, with the officials, to witness himself the difficulties suffered by fellow citizens first hand, in order to uplift the rural sector.
The rural folks, which constitutes about 75% of the population of Sri Lanka, still suffering from a wide variety of problems including economic and social issues. landlessness, absence of proper title deeds, shortage of water for drinking and cultivation purposes, underdeveloped status of roads and transport issues, health and education issues, the human-elephant conflict, bureaucratic lethargy are a few of the major issues affecting them. The objective of the programme is to reach out to the people of the villages, understand their problems and find solutions through their own suggestions. Problems that can be solved on the spot are instantly addressed. The rest which take time to deal with are noted down to find solutions later.
President Rajapaksa is of the view that understanding the issues that affect the rural people from a one-sided perspective is one of the reasons for the delay in giving solutions for their issues. Officials see the problem from their own perspective and villagers according to their sentiments. The President believes out that the process of providing solution could be expedited through correctly identifying all aspects of the problem. This approach has been used in previous “Discussion with the Village” programmes to provide immediate and long term solutions to a number of issues.
The “Discussion with the Village” programme commenced on September 25, 2020 from Badulla District. Thereafter programmes were organized covering Matale, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura, Ampara, Polonnaruwa, Kalutara, Moneragala, Kegalle, Kandy, Puttalam, Trincomalee, Kurunegala and Galle districts.
The Yombuweltenna Grama Niladhari Division, which has been selected for today’s “Discussion with the Village”, programme is located 13 km away from the Walapane town. It is one of the most difficult villages out of the Grama Niladhari Divisions that belong to Walapane Divisional Secretariat Division. It is said in the folklore of the area that Yombuweltenna village is the place where Keppetipola Nilame rejoined with the soldiers of the Sinhala army to initiate Uva–Wellassa uprising . It is said that the village got its name due to the abundance of yombuwel, a medicinal plant. It has a population of 397 comprising 139 families. Cultivation of paddy and vegetables are the main livelihoods of the villagers.
The people living in Yombuweltenna and other surrounding villages suffer from a number of common problems. Issues related to the road network and transportation, inadequate school infrastructure, lack of health and sanitation facilities, the shortage of clean drinking water are among the major issues affecting them. The problems that young people in this area confront are lack of opportunities for formal vocational training and a lack of support for self-employment.