A survey had been carried out by a team from the Geology Department of the University of Peradeniya on the Moragahakanda Multipurpose Project. Members of the team are of the opinion that if the Kalu Ganga Project was first completed, it would have been an ideal project that would have enhanced values. This is not to say in any way that the Moragahakanda project would be of less value.
This survey was undertaken by Dr. Lalith Dissanayake and undergraduates of the Geology Department. They covered all aspects of the project. They have found that the people who settled down had been asked to take whatever they wanted from the areas they left, hence their mentality and capacity had increased. They had taken whatever they could like plants and material. This has enabled them to tell others, “this is from my old house or that this is a plant brought from the place I lived in”. This has given them mental satisfaction when moving from one place to another, a feature which the team found was missing in other projects where people had been displaced.
- According to the original plans, Moragahakanda should have been constructed after the Kalu Ganga Project
- However the Moragahakanda Project is highly regarded and had the least problems
- It has to be said that 10 percent of the settlers had not ‘settled’ in the new system
The Moragahakanda Project commenced in 2007 as a multipurpose project. The project envisaged to build a dam near the Thalagoda-Moragahakanda Village. Those engaged in the project wanted to collect 521 million cubic metres of water to build the reservoir. But, later, they included the Laggala Pallegama area into the same project and made a dam in Kalu Ganga which resulted in the project being taken over as Moragahakanda and Kalu Ganga Project. When taking into consideration all 13 Mahaweli Projects, Moragahakanda can be termed as a successful venture, but could have been better if the Kalu Ganga Project had been implemented before Moragahakanda, opined Dr Jayasinghe.
According to Dr. Lalith Dissanayake the purpose of this exercise is to make a study of the settlement of families from the Kalu Ganga Project with the target year being 2011. Further more the intention was to find out how they could move from one place to another with the minimum hardships. Resettlement was one of the major issues associated with this project. But how did they overcome all obstacles or hardship?
Considering all Mahaweli Projects that had come under the various resettlement plans, the Moragahakanda Project had been an exemplary one, according to the survey.
The findings also show that people received compensation between rupees three lakhs to eighty lakhs. It is reported that those who were moved out of their settlements had hope. Further they had been presented with half and acre of land and another one and half acres for paddy cultivation.
The settlers who were most contended were those who had been allocated land and paddy lands.
Through this survey, Dr.Lalith Dissanayake observed that the settlers were contended. Thus they were afforded a way of living which was available to them in the settlements they left. They now have luxury vehicles and new gadgets, things which add to leading a contended life. It has to be said that 10 percent of the settlers had not ‘settled’ in the new system, but there is likelihood of them doing so.
Also they had been provided with facilities to attend to their daily work. Some of these facilities are wells, water pumps and pipeborne water.
According to Dr. Lalith Dissanayake the purpose of this exercise is to make a study of the settlement of families from the Kalu Ganga Project with the target year being 2011
Dr. Dissanayake said that the survey team interviewed a person whom they identified as Podi Banda. He said that his family was contented and added that rupees 3000 each had been given monthly to each of the older folk. He said that the land was worth gold and they could make profits out of whatever was planted. But, according to him the main obstacles people had faced before was the lack of water. This was before the new project was completed. Till then water bowsers supported their needs.
According to the original plans, Moragahakanda should have been constructed after the Kalu Ganga Project. But due to tender procedures the work seems to have been delayed. The survey team had noted that this had caused various problems at the beginning due to delays in the Kalu Ganga Project.
There had been problems due to the shortage of water and this too had been due to the delay in completing the Kalu Ganga Project. However the Moragahakanda Project is highly regarded and had the least problems with regard to resettlement of people. Most people who were resettled were satisfied, according to Dr. Dissanayake.