1 May 2023 12:02 am – 0      – 237

 

A A A

 

 

The late President R. Premadasa selected the town of Mihintale in 1993 to stage the Gam-Udawa integrated development plan for Anuradhapura District. His intentions were two-fold. i.e.  

 

K. B Ratnayake who was a Minister in the 1994 government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga mooted the idea of converting this Gam-Udawa site to set up a university which eventually resulted in the Rajarata University at present

 

  1. To carry out an integrated town and rural development plan encompassing the Anuradhapura District with the hub at Mihintale with an Agro Industries Processing and Export Centre. This centre had the capacity to store and process agriculture produce of the North Central and Northern Provinces for export to uplift the lives of the agriculture farmers. This centre was also to have large cold storage and freezing facilities, food processing machines and other machinery for agro-related processing.
  2. To convert the existing SLAF Airport at Hingurakgoda (in the neighbouring Polonnaruwa District) to an international airport from where agro produce and processed products could be exported. In addition, which would have provided easy access for tourists from overseas to visit Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Dambulla and other areas. Another reason being that the Polonnaruwa/NCP receives North East monsoon rains which would have been ideal as an alternate diversionary international airport when landing flights at Colombo Katunayake International Airport is impossible due to heavy South-East monsoon rains.

 

On this Remembrance Day of the late President, let us remember his effort to have the Gam-Udawa IDP at Mihintale in 1993 by which the farmers and entrepreneurs of North Central Province and Northern Province would have benefited and also our country by having a proper and alternative International Airport at Hingurakgoda for exports, tourism and flight landing emergencies.

 

However on May 1, 1993 a suicide bomber claimed the life of President R. Premadasa and put an end to all his plans. The succeeding President Mr. D. B Wijetunga (Voted in Parliament) decided to cancel the 1993 Mihintale Gam-Udawa development plan. Thereafter, Mr. K. B Ratnayake who was a Minister in the 1994 government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga mooted the idea of converting this Gam-Udawa site to set up a university which eventually resulted in the Rajarata University at present.

On this Remembrance Day of the late President, let us remember his effort to have the Gam-Udawa IDP at Mihintale in 1993 by which the farmers and entrepreneurs of North Central Province and Northern Province would have benefited and also our country by having a proper and alternative International Airport at Hingurakgoda for exports, tourism and flight landing emergencies.

(The writer is a former Member of Parliament (1989-1994) and Member of the North Central Provincial Council from 1999 to 2002)

Author


Hit Counter provided by technology news