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State Minister Duminda Dissanayake inaugurating the road carpeting programme. Picture by Nimal Wijesinghe, Anuradhapura Additional District Group Corr.

Under a concept to establish a solar power station per village, it has been planned to open 10,000 rural solar power stations to provide 1MWh from 10,000 transformers. There is a plan to make 100,000 Samurdhi recipients into independent income earners through the provision of solar power to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) in the near future, Renewable Energy Sources Development State Minister Duminida Dissanayake said.

He said so at the inauguration of the carpeting of the Gelnewa – Kalankuttiya Vidyala Road, as well as the Obadayagama – Thammennagama road under the government’s programme to carpet 100,000 kilometres of roads within the next four years.

Speaking further, the state minister stressed that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa expects ministers and state ministers to work hard to achieve the targets in the particular ministries without wasting time on ceremonies and gatherings.

Dissanayake emphasised that it is aimed to complete the renovation of 30,000km of roads during 2021. The President’s ambition is to strengthen the country’s new economic process by providing a better road network for people to travel comfortably. “There is no progress in people depending solely on Samurdhi benefits which are limited to Rs.2,000 to Rs.3,000. Certain people even take it for granted and remain idle. We plan to change this ‘dependant mentality’ and encourage them to put up solar panels for their use, and also to help the CEB add to the national grid,” the state minister said.

The programme, which is currently limited to 100,000 recipients, is to be expanded to one million under progressive stages of the project, he added.

State Minister Dissanayake said that the heavy electricity bills of government institutions have been a big burden to the country’s economy, and solar panels are to be used to solve this problem. As requested by the President, arrangements are under way to supply solar panels to the areas surrounding Mihintale, inducing the Raja Maha Viharaya. Furthermore, it has also been proposed to provide solar-powered water pumps to farmers in the North-Central Province.

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