Dr. Thambugala Makes Yaya 18’s Dream Come True
By Eunice Ruth and K. M. Chandrika
Rajanganaya Yaya 18 of the Rajanganaya Divisional Secretariat area is a village which has faced many difficulties over a long period of time. Developing the village was a dream the residents had. According to the saying, “people who suffer a lot will be bestowed with happiness one day”, the first step in making this true has happened.
“The process of development has begun in the village” the residents said. M. P. Shriyani Ramyalatha said there were lots of bushes around her home and the village. Elephants visited the village daily at night.
She said the residents lead a hard life due to the wild elephants and the lack of water and other water related matters. Every day we expect it to rain but it doesn’t and we have no water for cultivation and our daily needs. She said on sunny days they visited other villages, seeking various job opportunities and were forced to work outside the village to earn their income.
“Since last September we suffered a lot without any help. We were eternally looking skywards hoping for rain. The majority of the people in the village have Chena Cultivations for their livelihood,” said Ramyalatha. G. P. Senaratne, another resident said that Yaya 18 was the last section of the Rajanganaya farming colony.
Water from the Rajanganaya Reservoir does not reach their village and the residents were facing immense difficulties. He added that rain was the only way for them to get water and when it rained their cultivation got destroyed by the wild elephants. Neither the Government nor any other authority had intervened to help them.
He added the people were struggling to survive. B. Karunaratne, said that Rajanganaya Yaya 18 has a higher elevation than the other villages. Due to this, the village has difficulties getting water and the water from the Rajanganaya reservoir had no way of reaching the village. No projects were implemented either to get water from the reservoir to our village.
The Managing Director of Aura Lanka Herbals Dr. Chandika Viranjith Thambugala, who was born in the village, has helped to develop the village. He has come up with several suggestions one of which is the Aloe Vera project. This project provides the opportunity for the residents to work in their homes.
He has also set up lights in the street that light till sun rise preventing the elephants from entering the village. P. G. Siritunga, said Dr. Thambugala was the first to assist their need for water and built a tank in the village. He noted the Panankaniya canal flows through our village to the sea but no one has come forward to get water from the canal to the village. Dr. Thambugala obtained permission from the responsible authorities and Government to divert this water and bring it to the tank which he built inside the village.
Now nearly, 100 acres of deserted paddy land is cultivated and harvested with the help of this water, he added. Today the tank is filled with water and a proper drainage system has been constructed around the village by laying pipes from the tank.
Even our politicians failed to help us while Dr. Thambugala created a way to help us, said Siritunga. Deputy Chairman of Rajanganaya Pradeshiya Sabha, Samanni leemini Weerasinghe noted that previously the residents of the village used to brew kasippu, engage in cutting trees and hunting animals. Today that situation has started changing after the implementation of several projects within the village. Through this a large number of people have got job opportunities and it has created a situation where people can stand on their own without getting into debt.
As a Government institution we are expecting to develop the village more with all the needed facilities. Nirosha Samanthi, a UNP member who represents Rajanganaya and also Rajanganaya Pradeshiya Sabha member, said that the residents of this village were living in poverty and the younger generation was involved in illegal activities after another.
It is not their fault as it was the fault of the society. However, Dr. Thambugala told us that if young people were sent for sports, they would not engage in illegal activities and he has created various programmes and tried to get the children on the right path. He is doing what the Government could not do. Meanwhile, another resident of the village, Sampath Susantha, said that in the past, the roads of the village were in a dilapidated condition and now that road is being repaired.
In the past we did not have a way to live, however, currently, with the help of Dr. Thambugala we have the opportunity to cultivate aloe vera. The Community hall in this village was abandoned and he has built a new community hall at a cost of Rs. 3.5 million and today anyone can run societies and clubs without having any trouble. “No one came forward to renovate and develop the village. I was born in this village and I am aware of the struggles the residents faced. I wanted to change the situation with or without the help of the Government.
However, I managed to make some changes within the village and I expect to make more. The residents need to elevate their lives style and the children in the village should learn to conquer the world. Government intervention and the support of other responsible authorities, are a much needed things to develop the village and I request them to support us to develop the village,” said the Managing Director of Aura Lanka Herbals, Dr. Chandika Viranjith Thambugala.