Medawachchiya Economic Centre Building Unused
By Eunice Ruth and Gayan
Berty Premalal Dissanayake Economic Centre in Medawachchiya which was built under the North Central Province council, is left unused without giving an opportunity to the traders in the villages.
The members of the Multi Purpose Cooperative Society (MPCS), Medawachchiya, said that millions were spent on constructing the economic centre and after the construction the shops were informally distributed by the then officials. The members have requested the Government to distribute the shops to the members of Medawachchiya Multi Purpose Cooperative Society to continue their businesses.
The economic centre was built in 2017 by the former President, Maithiripala Sirisena for the people of Medawachchiya. The building has 28 stalls, an administration office, and two staff offices. This building belongs to the North Central Provincial Council and the building has all facilities including electricity and water services. However, the building was opened and operated only for a few days.
The Medawachchiya Multi Purpose Cooperative Society members are focusing on reopening the Economic Centre. The members of the society recently inspected the economic centre to check the status of the building. Accordingly, under the guidance of Multi Purpose Cooperative Society General Superintendent, E, K, G, Ekanayaka, a committee has been appointed to conduct the inspection. The committee was led by the Director of Medawachchiya Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Thushitha Dharmapriya.
Ekanayaka noted that even though millions were spent on the construction of the economic centre, currently, it is left abandoned. “If the Government gives us the building, we can make use of it to build a good business environment within the economic centre. We can also bring the harvest of the village farmers to the centre and distribute it to others”, he said. Especially, this economic centre can be operated successfully by distributing goods to Medawachchiya, Kebithigollewa, Padaviya, Horowpothana and other parts of North Central Province. The economic centre can conduct wholesale distributions and provide the needed facilities for others just like co-operatives, if this is operated correctly.
“It is not good to waste an asset of our country like this and we request the responsible authorities and the Government to help us by giving us the economic centre. We can ensure that we will help our farmers and other village people by providing them stalls to uplift their lives,” said Ekanayake.
Commissioner of North Central Province, N. H. R. Nishantha, said that the control of the economic centre is under the Chief Ministry of North Central Provincial Council and still it has not been passed on to the provincial office. We have raised concerns in this regard to the Governor and we are waiting to resume the trading activities of the economic centre with the involvement of the Governor. “We are looking forward to speeding up the process of resuming trading activities”, said Nishantha.
Divisional Secretary of Medawachchiya, M. C. Malaviarachchi, said that, the economic centre was operated only for a few days after the opening and later, it was closed and it remains closed for more than three years. She also noted that, the economic centre is located in a good place where everyone can carry on trading activities without any issues. However, due to closure, the building is becoming dilabitated and if not for an economic centre, the building can be used for any other purposes. Currently, a part of economic centre is used as the Samurdhi Bank. As the ownership of the economic centre falls under Provincial Council, we are unable to take direct decisions regarding its opening and functioning, she added.
“Currently, we are sending our harvests to Dambulla Economic Centre and if we have one for us, it will be very useful for farmers as well as to conduct trading activities. As Divisional Secretary, I assure we can give our support to the Provincial Council in any future development and we need a discussion with the relevant officials to find the reason behind the closure, and to make decisions regarding opening of the economic centre.
If the Government transfers the ownership of the building to the Pradeshiya Sabha, we can take measures to restart the economic centre’s activities,” said Malaviarachchi.