- Says Minister Rauff Hakeem
“When we came into power, we promised to make certain changes to the constitution and have done a part of it through the 19th amendment. However, we have no sufficient time now to change the executive presidency system or the parliamentary election system. If we try to do it now, the entire set up will end up in a total mess.
Rauff Hakeem, Minister of City Planning, Water Supply & Higher Education and Leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress said so in his opening address at the inauguration ceremony of the “Praja Jala Abimani” scheme held at Kalatha village, in the Udapalatha area, in the Kandy district, recently.
The “Praja Jala Abimanya” inauguration ceremony was to commemorate Minister Hakeem’s concept of ensuring and improving the water supply system in 1000 villages in the country under an integrated format. It is to be noted that this event was celebrated simultaneously, in village levels, in 25 districts of the country on the same day.
Minister Hakeem further said,
“It is quite unfortunate for us to get caught to the 30 years long fierce war on a question of devolution of power. We must note that even during the decades long war period, the Tamil community did not demand for the change to the constitution. What they asked for is the justified and acceptable devolution of power. We must admit that there are problems among the Tamil community and Tamil speaking people even now. We could have done something fruitful to solve their problems long before, but unfortunately this didn’t happen”
“As we were in the Committee for the Constitutional affairs in Parliament, the Chief Ministers happened to share their opinions and proposals with us. At the outset, we observed that those from the South insisted on more power devolution to the Provincial Councils than those of the Northern Province. We accepted some of the proposals placed before us and arrived at certain decisions. This was done based upon the acceptance of the proposals by the majority of the parties involved”
“We cannot simply ignore or dismiss the problems that prevailed throughout the 30 years fierce war. As the Party Leaders, we had a discussion with the President regarding this vital issue”
“The opposition parties have made it a practice to go to temples and keep on blaming us with their baseless and senseless allegations. I think they find some sort of satisfaction or fun by finding faults with us. Their latest allegation is that we are causing damages to the solidarity of this country.
In addition, they move one step ahead and accuse us for making attempts to demolish or degrade the principal place Buddhism is holding in this country. Their allegation is a deliberate lie, made in an attempt to misguide the people. Nevertheless, we are quite certain that their conspiracy is not going to materialize among the people”
“We are trying to enhance the devolution of power concept. By doing so we will be able to execute at least one of the promises we have given to the people. The President too had agreed with me on this issue. As a result, he had agreed to call for a meeting with the Party Leaders by next week to discuss this matter.
“The Praja Jala Abimanya project targets sufficient and efficient water supply to 1000 villages in the country. It is going to be carried out at its full swing. We have made all arrangements to get the maximum cooperation of the villagers for the successful implementation of this worthy project.
In the process, we are going to invite the representatives from all these 25 districts to the ‘Temple Trees’ within this month to discuss our plans with them under the leadership of the Prime Minister”
“It is my pleasure to note that the Minister of Finance too had accepted my concept by principle and had requested me to make arrangements to start it before this budget. He had promised me his maximum support through his ministry towards this project”
“With the consent of the Finance Minister, we are planning to go ahead with our arrangements to visit all these villages concerned and identify the natural water sources such as fountains and springs. After our detections and restorations it is going to be the sole responsibility of the villagers to safeguard these vital resources and maintain them properly, for their own benefits”
Lucky Jayawardena, State Minister of City Planning & Water Supply, K.N. Mangala Tissa, Secretary to the Ministry of City Planning & Water Supply, Jayatilake Herath, Director General. Department of National Social Water Supply and many other participated at this ceremony.