The Free Education Act was passed with great difficulty. - Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena

Those who gained progress through free education do not even mention that.

It was a giant step by Mahinda Rajapaksa to build the Hambantota Port

The Prime Minister mentioned this on 29.06.2024 at the occasion of vesting in the public, the new three-storied building of the Lunugamwehera Divisional Secretariat.

The Prime Minister speaking at the event stated that -

"When talking about Hambantota that day, Mr. D.A. Rajapaksa, father of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Chamal Rajapaksa, brought the people of Hambantota towards a big revolution in our country. When it comes to see the vote for free education, D.A. Rajapaksa voted for free education. That bill was passed by one vote. If we had lost that day, we would not be able to bring a bill for free education in this country for another fifty years.

In Sri Lanka’s history, all those who have studied through free education, those who come out of universities and work for the development of the society do not even mention about that historical battle. C. W. W. Kannangara was allowed by Parliament to bring and pass the bill only after ten years from that.

If not for the victory of the previous decision, then the right to free education would not have been available for a long time.

Some people ask what we have done when we went to the parliament. The short answer is that, you too were given the free education to learn. Free education is the great treasure.

At the time when Chandrika Lake was initiated, Mr. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, Mr. Philip Gunawardena and Mr. D.A. Rajapaksa started the Chandrika lake in the middle of a forest. From Chandrika Lake, Walawe Valley was changed into a new programme. The Walawe valley was then developed.

When I was the Minister of Urban Development, ground breaking ceremony for Hambantota Port was held, with Mr. Chamal Rajapaksa, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, along with the Chinese Ambassador. Many people said many things. It took five hundred and twenty years to develop Colombo into a good port. After that, a container ship came to Colombo. After the fall of the Kotte kingdom, it took five hundred years for the western nations to turn the port of Colombo into a developed port.

It did not take much time for Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa to plan Hambantota port and bring the ships that travelled on our seas. Ports are being developed step by step. The period of time that ports are built varies according to the attractiveness of those fields and through the industries built around them. How much will it cost to make that port now if that giant step was not taken for the future back then? Don’t we need a second port? We have to compare these and invest for the future of the economy. That investment has to be developed and won."

Hambantota District Coordinating Committee Chairman Member of Parliament Mr. Chamal Rajapaksa commenting at the event said that -

"There were tenant farmers in Hambantota district. They suffered a lot. In 1956, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena’s father, Mr. Philip Gunawardena, became the Minister of Agriculture in Mr. Bandaranaike’s government. He was the one who brought the Paddy Field Act and secured the rights of tenant farmers. Today, after the death of tenant farmer his son inherits it. We give that honour to our Prime Minister, Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena, on behalf of his father.

The Prime Minister is not new to Hambantota. His mother is also from Hambantota district. So you are very close to us. Since then, I remember that you joined many meetings of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna in the villages of Hambantota district. Therefore, you it is not necessary to tell you about this Hambantota district. I hope that Hambantota district will get everything it deserves during your tenure.

Because we built airports and ports in this area, the value of land in this area increased. It was done for investors to come to these areas. When they came and started industrial businesses, many people who were left in the forest in our area got jobs. Along with this development, a firm policy is needed. With this system that changes from every five years, there are obstacles for us to move forward. We have to have long term plans. Otherwise this country will not develop."

Permanent appointments to the employees of the local government institutions of Tissamaharama electorate, awarding of land deeds, and giving houses also took place in this event.

Maha Sangha including Ven. Dewalegama Dhammasena Thera, Chief Incumbent of Tissamaharama Rajamaha Vihara, Ven. Lelwala Samitha Thera, Viharadhikari of Sithulpava Rajamaha Vihara, Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa, State Ministers Ashoka Priyantha and Janaka Wakkumbura, MP Yadamini Gunawardena, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration Pradeep Yasaratne, Hambantota District Secretary H.P. Sumanasekara, Divisional Secretaries and public participated in this event.

Prime Minister’s Media