D. S. Senanayake’s Proposals Not Implemented | Daily News

D. S. Senanayake’s Proposals Not Implemented

D. S. Senanayake-Sir John Kotelawala-Philip Gunawardena
D. S. Senanayake-Sir John Kotelawala-Philip Gunawardena

We’ve been missing out on all the previous opportunities for restructuring the economy, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, recently, reflecting on Sri Lanka’s past missed opportunities for development, specifically highlighting the failure to implement Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake’s proposals and the Shenoy Report of 1965. He added that the country’s progress was hindered by the ethnic issue of 1978 and other violence, which impeded the chance to rebuild the country’s foundation for development.

The President further added that the Government should surpass the IMF programme and concentrate on establishing a thriving community for upcoming generations, emphasizing the Government’s dedication to this goal.

When we became independent, Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake said, “let’s be independent, cultivate and let us aim to be self-sufficient in rice. When we save that foreign exchange, we’ll be much better off,” he said. He also asked Sir John Kotelawala to start the hydro-electricity systems, the President said.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe went on to say that the first round of reforms after that was not introduced by the UNP. The most significant one was Minister of Agriculture Philip Gunawardena’s Paddy Lands Act. It was not a communist measure; the Americans had carried out massive land reform pertaining to paddy land in Japan, in South Korea and Taiwan. He just adopted that and it actually led to the growth of production in those countries. So he brought that together with the Agrarian Services Department, the Government had to establish the People’s Bank. It was shot down not by the Opposition. It was shot down from within the Government. And you have this watered down Paddy Lands Act, which is there today.

So we missed the first chance of building upon what D.S. Senanayake had done. The second chance came again in 1965 with Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake’s report and the Shenoy Report: the starting of industry, the Industrial Development Board, education reforms, increasing productivity and tourism. Some of these were implemented, but the Shenoy Report was not implemented, and as a result, we lost the next opportunity.

If we had gone ahead with those reforms, that were similar to what Park Chung-hee brought in, in South Korea and Lee Kuan Yew brought into Singapore. The third round came in 1978. J. R. Jayewardene opened up the economy and went ahead, but we had to slow down because of the ethnic situation and the conflict that broke out in the country. Nevertheless, in 1989, the second stage was done by President Premadasa and when we pushed ahead, firstly to divest ourselves on some of those Corporations which are doing quite well, like Kelani Tyres and as well as the push for investments both in the apparel sector as well as the tourist sector and a lot of other new industries which we started. But then that came to an end after 1994 as the next Government focused completely on resolving the ethnic issue at the expense of economic development. It went on. So we missed that opportunity. The countries behind us got ahead of us.

Then came ‘Regaining Sri Lanka’. We missed that. So how many more opportunities are we going to get? We haven’t got any, this is the last chance. Are we going to take it or not? That’s all that you to decide here. The details you can work out. We have a six month IMF programme review, another six month review. But what is in the IMF programme we have to go ahead with. But on what we are doing on the growth programme, yes, we can discuss that further.

And once the debate and the IMF programme is over and the resolution is put to vote, thereafter we put out a sketch or a White Paper on how the growth should take place, and I would like the National Council of Parliament to be engaged with the Government and for all of us to engage the rest of the sectors of society in determining what our future is going to be.

So, all I request of you is to make up your mind that we are going to grow and this is the last chance. Let’s press the accelerator to the floor. There is nothing else that we can do and I ask all of you to join the Government in this task we have undertaken. Instead of blaming each other, let’s come together to build a prosperous society for future generations, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

Epilogue: Sir John Kotelawala as the Minister of Works started the Laxapana Hydro-power Complex that has blossomed into a massive hydro-electricity scheme which can be described as Kehelgamu-Maskeli Oya Complex, as the five power stations in the Laxapana Hydro-power Complex are situated along Kehelgamu Oya and Maskeli Oya. The main large reservoir at the top of Kehelgamu Oya is Castlereagh Reservoir, where the rainwater from the catchment area above the reservoir gets collected. Main reservoir associated with Maskeli Oya is Maussakelle Reservoir.

Water collected in the Castlereagh Reservoir is brought down along a power tunnel to Wimalasurendra Power Station to operate the two hydro turbine-generators, each 25 MW in capacity. Water released from Wimalasurendra Power Station after operation, gets collected in Norton Pond, which is not a large reservoir. This water is brought down along another tunnel to Old Laxapana Power Station to operate five turbine-generator units, where three units are of 8.33 MW and other two units of 12.5 MW. Water released after operations of Old Laxapana machines gets collected in Laxapana Pond.

Similarly, water collected in Maussakelle Reservoir is taken along a tunnel to operate the two Canyon Reservoir machines of 30 MW each. Water discharged after operations gets collected in Canyon Pond. This water is brought down along another tunnel to operate the two New Laxapana machines which are 50 MW each. These two machines release the water to Laxapana pond as well as Old Laxapana machines.

Water collected in Laxapana Pond is taken along a tunnel to operate the two machines, which are 37.5 MW each, at Samanala Power Station at Polpitiya. Water released from Samanala machines flow into the Kelani Ganga, which is formed by Kehelgamu Oya and Maskeli Oya.

It is said that initially when there cropped up some impediments in carrying on the work of the Laxapana Hydro-power Complex, Sir John Kotelawala made a vow that the path to Sripada up Samanala Kanda would be illuminated first and it was possible to proceed with the work, thereafter.


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