December 2010


A Tribute To A Leader
December 2010




Norochcholai power plant

His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, was sworn in as the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on November 19, 2010 thus beginning his second term as the Head of State of this island nation.  With a solid foundation laid for peace, unity and prosperity during the President's first term, the vision for the new tenure is for Sri Lanka to be developed to become a major player in the region and emerge as the Wonder of Asia.

Focusing on the development of Sri Lanka as the centre of a five fold hub that encompasses Aviation, Shipping, Commercial, Energy and Knowledge, the country is poised to take off with progress being made in all key sectors during the last five years thus giving the solid base for the implementation of new development plans that will ensure the realisation of the emergence of Sri Lanka as the Wonder of Asia. President Rajapaksa's approach to development which was articulated in his manifesto, Mahinda Chintana, emphasis was placed on  (a) restoring peace and security, a necessity for the country to move forward - the 30 year long conflict against terrorism was brought to an end with the liberation of the North and East in May 2009 during President Rajapaksa's first term thus providing the impetus for peace and massive economic development, (b) infrastructure development, which is a prerequisite for accelerated development (c) social and cultural development underscoring culture, arts, religion and sports to create a value based and healthy society (d) agriculture and SMEs; the backbone of our economy that provides livelihood to a majority (e) promotion of value added industries, services and local entrepreneurship (f) widening the access to education and health services across the country (g) focus on the development of Information Technology (h) empowerment of the rural and plantation economy, (i) strengthening labour relations and productivity (j) private sector development by providing incentives for exports and competitive import substitution activities (k) promoting prudent financial policies for a stable economic environment with a market friendly policy framework and (l) an environment friendly development.

Furthermore Sri Lanka will seek economic growth in diverse spheres such as sports, arts, e-commerce and knowledge sectors aside from the more traditional sectors such as agriculture, services and industries, thereby elevating the standards and facilities that can attract foreign remittances.

At this time when President Rajapaksa is beginning his second term, the country is witnessing the completion of the coal power plant in Norochcholai, which will be expanded to generate 1000 MW, completion of the Upper Kotmale hydro power project, Kerawalapitiya power plant, rehabilitation of existing power plants and also the exploration of non-conventional renewable energy sources such as wind power, the completion of the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota and the steady physical progress of the Colombo South Port, with provision for three terminals on completion. Water supply schemes have been launched to augment water supply in Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy, Galle, Ampara, Kurunegala and Jaffna. A large number of irrigation schemes including the abandoned Moragahakanda and Uma Oya are also under construction. Capacity augmentation of existing major irrigation reservoirs as new capacity creation through Deduru Oya, Weheregala, Kirindi Oya, Rambukkan Oya, Heda Oya and Uda Walawe left bank have commenced and/or completed.

The country is also witnessing a large-scale roads, bridges and railway development programme at both national and provincial levels, involving massive investments. Improved and newly constructed bridges and roads connect many districts resulting in less travel time and fuel costs. Rural development is a priority and a central focus in the development programme where empowering the rural sector and ensuring equal opportunities for all has been of the utmost importance. President Rajapaksa's strategy is not to be confined to one or two aspects of the overall management of the country but to achieve complete development thereby successfully balancing all objectives.

Five key ports are being developed in strategic locations around the country, thereby providing the necessary infrastructure and facilities in order to develop Sri Lanka as a Naval Hub. The Colombo South Port with its five kilometre breakwater will create larger capacity and capability to accommodate modern day vessels and increase the efficiency of the Colombo Harbour thereby establishing it as a dominant port in the region. The Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota is one of its kind, where the harbour basin has been built inland with seawater being filled through a breakwater thus changing the coastal belt of the country.  With the Port at its heart a city will be developed and industries will be established thereby creating an economic centre in the Southern region. The first ships anchored at this Port on November 18, 2010. Situated at a strategic location on the international shipping line the Port in Hambantota will become a prominent player in the maritime sector. The Galle Port is being developed as tourist port utilising the comparative advantage of the coastal city with its historical elements to attract tourists. The Galle Port provides ideal conditions for yachts and thus construction is underway to construct a yacht marina and other associated facilities. Oluvil Port in the East is being built to address the medium term needs of the fisheries sector and will feed the Ports in Trincomalee and Hambantota.

In the North, the Kankesanthurai Port is being developed to essentially provide the required services to the area and also to facilitate trade. With the development of these ports, Sri Lanka will once again become the centre of the modern Silk Route.

Every year, air traffic is increasing at the only international airport in the country, Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) for both passengers and cargo handling. With the dawn of permanent peace and stability in the country, Sri Lanka is aiming to become one of the best tourist destinations in Asia and the country is expecting a massive leap in tourism arrivals, thus with the anticipated tourism boom and with emergence of Sri Lanka as an Aviation Hub, large double decked aircraft will require facilities to enter Sri Lanka. These factors have resulted in the need for expansion of the existing international airport as well as for a second international airport. Thus, expansion projects have been carried out at the BIA with the construction of new passenger terminals, export cargo terminal and further developments in the pipeline.

The national carrier, SriLankan Airlines  and Mihin Lanka Airlines are being recognised as the centerpiece in the Aviation Hub concept where they will be given a privileged position by all aviation related institutions in Sri Lanka, whether it is tourism, airport and aviation, catering, petroleum, insurance or banking.

The second international airport is under construction in Mattala, Hambantota and on completion it will be one of the largest airports in Asia. It aims to promote Air-Sea-Transshipment Hub operations in conjunction with the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port. This international airport will provide an alternative to BIA and offer considerable fuel and weight savings for airlines.

Sri Lanka will become a centre for aviation skills and training, catering and maintenance facilities, thereby increasing the number of airlines stopping in Sri Lanka.

Tourism is a key sector in the Sri Lankan economy. As such, resort development have begun in Kuchchaveli and Passekudah in the East and Kalpitiya in the North Western coastline. Furthermore, Colombo will become a Port City with international hotel chains securing prime land in the commercial capital. With urban development being considered important, other than Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Jaffna and several other towns will be developed as urban townships with market places, shopping complexes and hospitals so that there will be more than one commercial city in the country.

“Remember this! We are not a miniature of a developed country.

We are Sri Lanka. Our motherland is Sri Lanka.” His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa,

President of Sri Lanka November 19, 2010, Presidential Secretariat, Colombo

 

Connecting all communities in the country through the provision of infrastructure has been one of the highest priorities. Thus, mega projects in road and railway development have been initiated and many have been completed. In the East, regions that could only be reached by ferry are now connected by bridges, in the North, greatly alleviating the burden of the people - the Sangupity Bridge, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka - is being constructed thus connecting Pooneryn to Jaffna over the ocean thereby serving as an alternative route to A9 greatly reducing travel time. Furthermore, the Southern Expressway, the Outer Circular Road in Colombo, Anuradhapura-Padeniya Road, A9 and the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway to name but a few are under construction with much work nearing completion. The construction of the Northern Railway line and the Southern Railway line are also in progress thereby connecting the Nation where everyone has equal access.

With sports being identified as a key factor for a healthy nation and also an area for a diversified economy, international level facilities are in the stages of completion in Diyagama, Pallekelle and Sooriyawewa. Arts, is also an important aspect and as such performing arts theatres are being constructed as part of an overall plan. The development of Information Technology is considered very important not only with regards to creating Commercial and Knowledge Hubs but also at an individual level.  Programmes have been initiated at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education as well as infrastructure development in this sector.

His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa is a visionary; his aspiration for the Nation reflects those who have given him the mandate to lead the country.  With President Rajapaksa at the helm, a new Sri Lanka will emerge as the Wonder of Asia, with pride.

 

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    Galle Port

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    Upper Kotmale hydro power plant

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    His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka with First Lady, Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa and sons – Rohitha Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa MP and Yoshitha Rajapaksa following the swearing-in ceremony

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    His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa being sworn-in as the President of Sri Lanka before Chief Justice Asoka de Silva. Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Mr Lalith Weeratunga – Secretary to the President, Rohitha Rajapaksa, Yoshitha Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa MP are also in the picture

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    The Jetliner entering the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota – the first ship to anchor at the Port

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    Northern railway line, Omanthai

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    Southern railway line over the Nilwala river

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    The international airport in Mattala will resemble this model on completion

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    The revamped Bandaranaike International Airport

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    Southern Expressway

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    Kinniya Bridge, Trincomalee

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    Colombo-Katunayake Expressway under construction

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    Colombo South Port

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    Kankesanthurai Port, Jaffna

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    Mahinda Rajapaksa International Sports Complex, Diyagama

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    Sooriyawewa International Cricket Stadium

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    Weheregala Reservoir

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    Oluvil Harbour

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    Sangupity Bridge

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