Government to renovate 103 rivers, reservoirs

The government has initiated a programme to clean 103 rivers and strengthen the banks of tanks in the country, Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday.

The minister and said he would visit Anuradhapura on March 31 to commence the construction work of the Lower Malwathu Oya Reservoir, adding that he intends to discuss with the officials responsible for the protection of the Tissa Wewa regarding the misuse of its water.

Responding to a question raised by MP Buddhika Pathirana, Minister Rajapaksa said that the Tissa Wewa has been contaminated. He added that unauthorised settlers and hotel owners were responsible for it.

MP Pathirana said that the main concern surrounding the matter was the formation of racketeer groups.

Futhermore, the minister said that bathing has been prohibited at the tank, adding that alternate bathing spots have been set up at the banks of the Abhaya Wewa, Bulankulama Wewa, and Malwathu Oya. He added that a programme would be conducted to raise awareness on the matter.

Pathirana also inquired whether it was possible to construct two reservoirs inside the Sinharaja Rainforest under the Irrigation Ordinance. Rajapaksa said that there were many weaknesses in the current Irrigation Act, and that the ministry has proposed amendments to it to the Attorney General’s Department.

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