In a historic move to empower the agricultural sector and strengthen the export economy, President Ranil Wickremesinghe unveiled the “Urumaya” Freehold Deed Program during the first phase of the public awareness campaign for the 2024 budget proposal. The President emphasized that this program is a tribute to the farmers who have been the backbone of the nation for generations.
President Wickremesinghe outlined the key objectives of the initiative, stating that the export economy would be significantly fortified by transforming every village into an enterprise village. He also revealed plans to establish agriculture modernization service centers, providing essential facilities to support the growth of the agricultural industry.
Addressing the gathering in Nochchiyagama, Anuradhapura today (26), the President raised a pertinent question, questioning the allocation of freehold land for the Shangri-La Hotel while pondering why a similar privilege couldn’t be extended to the hardworking farmers who have cultivated the land for generations. He emphasized the potential for generating foreign exchange through strategic land allocations, citing the example of providing land to the Shangri-La Hotel while underscoring the importance of modernizing the agriculture industry as a means to strengthen the export economy.
A significant highlight of the program is the allocation of two billion rupees in the 2024 budget to provide “Urumaya” freehold deeds. President Wickremesinghe proposed a departure from the existing deed categories, such as Jaya Bhoomi, Saumya Bhoomi, Swarna Bhoomi, in favor of a unified freehold deed system, slated for implementation in 2024.
In his address, President Wickremesinghe urged unity in working for the country, transcending political differences. Reflecting on the challenges faced upon assuming office, he highlighted the successful efforts to stabilize the country’s economic situation, steering it away from bankruptcy.
The President announced plans to resume stalled development projects, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding cultural and historical sites like Malwathu Oya and Maha Viharaya in Anuradhapura. Additionally, a budget allocation of one and a half billion rupees for cricket development in rural schools was disclosed.
The Governor of the North Central Province Maheepala Herath commended the President for his pivotal role in navigating Sri Lanka through legal and economic challenges. Describing the state of the law in the country as “wild” at one point, Governor Herath praised the President’s acceptance of this challenge and emphasized the commendable efforts that led to the country’s economic recovery. The Governor highlighted the President’s visit to Anuradhapura and the Urumaya program, which is expected to unconditionally grant land rights to farmers. This gesture is seen as a significant step in empowering the agricultural community. Governor Herath underscored the President’s commitment to redirecting the nation’s economy and reclaiming Sri Lanka’s lost standing on the global stage, attributing these achievements to the President’s political maturity.
Minister of State for Finance Shehan Semasinghe revealed that the President has included a groundbreaking provision in this year’s budget, granting freehold land rights to all citizens. Despite facing challenges in incorporating this proposal in the 2023 budget due to prevailing circumstances in the country, the President’s commitment to fulfilling the people’s need for land rights remained unwavering. Minister Semasinghe emphasized the President’s proactive measures in addressing agricultural concerns, particularly the provision of essential fertilizers to farmers, ensuring that the entire requirement for yielding seasons has been met. The President’s comprehensive program has not only established political stability but has also laid the foundation for social and economic stability in the country. He expressed satisfaction in resolving a fundamental issue faced by the people, as they can now enjoy land with the rightful ownership determined by the President’s decisive actions.
Member of Parliament Duminda Dissanayake expressed gratitude to President Ranil Wickremesinghe for his leadership and the implementation of the Urumaya program, which grants farmers the heritage of their great-grandfathers. Mr. Dissanayake commended the President’s political maturity, highlighting the effectiveness of this year’s budget in demonstrating the President’s thorough preparation. The MP praised the President’s decision to allocate a ten-thousand-rupee allowance to public servants, provide freehold deeds to farmers, and grant tenants the rightful ownership of their houses. This, according to Mr. Dissanayake, underscores the President’s commitment to addressing the needs of various segments of society and showcases his leadership acumen.
Member of Parliament S.M. Chandrasena commended the President for the significant financial allocation to the Anuradhapura district in the latest budget announcement. Notably, funds have been designated for crucial projects such as the Malwatu Oya initiative and the Maha Viharaya. MP Chandrasena underscored the President’s commitment to the agricultural community by highlighting the proposal in this year’s budget to grant freehold deeds to farmers. He emphasized that these measures, aimed at providing relief to a nation grappling with economic challenges, exemplify the President’s political maturity and his dedication to addressing key issues faced by the country.
The event witnessed the presence of prominent figures, including the Chairman of the Anuradhapura District Development Committee H. Nandasena, MP Uddika Premaratne, Former Chief Minister S. M. Ranjith, Former Minister P. Harrison, Attorney-at-law Mr. Kasthuri Anuradhanayake, and Land Commissioner General Mr. Bandula Jayasinghe. (PMD)