Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
John Keells funds six-way anicut in Mullaitivu to irrigate 300 acres of paddy land
A six-way anicut with a capacity to irrigate approximately 300 acres of paddy land in drought-ridden Navaladiveli, Iranaipalai of the Mullaitivu District was declared open by John Keells Foundation (JKF) - the CSR entity of the John Keells Group recently.
The anicut, which was constructed and vested with the public as the final initiative under JKF’S Village Adoption Project, is designed to optimize water resources for irrigation ensuring yearlong supply of water to cultivate crops during both the Yala and Maha seasons and is expected to benefit over 100 farming families in Iranaipalai and adjoining areas.
“This initiative brings us great joy as this puts an end to our 50-year turmoil,” says John Amaranayakam, Secretary of the Farmer Organization in Iranaipalai.
“We used to stack up close to 200 sand bags spending Rs. 75,000, at least three times a year, to prevent the water from going back to the sea. This anicut will enable each farmer to earn a profit of at least Rs. 250,000 a year.”
John Keells Foundation initiated its Village Adoption Project in Iranaipalai in Puthukkudiyiruppu DS and Puthumathalan in Maritimepattu DS in 2013 in collaboration with World Vision substantially investing in developing essential infrastructure, sustainable livelihoods and access to education and other opportunities for the communities in the two villages identified as areas most affected by the long drawn civil conflict and the last to be resettled following the end of the conflict.
Addressing the gathering at the vesting ceremony, Carmeline Jayasuriya, Head of Operations, CSR at John Keells Holdings PLC said, “When we first visited Iranaipalai and Puthumathalan with the representatives of World Vision in February 2013, what we witnessed was temporary housing, dilapidated boats and nets, paddy land deprived of irrigation, schools without adequate water and sanitation, classroom space and facilities, and many female-headed households affected by income challenges and social violence.
“Yet, in all the diverse community groups we met, we also sensed the positive human spirit and t he determination to succeed.
“When we inquired whether the community would need support with housing or livelihoods, they were quick to choose livelihoods considering the long-term benefits the community would reap as a whole. We are happy to see the tremendous and far-reaching impact of our livelihood and educational initiatives in these areas. It is truly inspiring.”
“We believe when you equip a
community you are providing them with the necessary tools to help their children experience fullness of life. This project which was initiated and funded by John Keells Foundation and implemented by World Vision, ensures livelihood support and most importantly food security for the whole community. We are glad that we were able to pave the way for impact that lasts for generations,” said Dr. Dhanan Senathirajah, National Director of World Vision Lanka.
Over its 7-year span, the John Keells Foundation’s Village Adoption Project in Mullaitivu has directly supported 100 fishermen with the provision of boats, engines, nets, safety equipment and capacity development and 20 families of women-headed households with the provision of dairy cows, with both groups sharing project dividend with other members of the community, thereby creating a notable ripple effect in development. In addition to the newly constructed anicut, farmer communities of the area have been supported by the construction of a 1.2 km Agro road in Iranaipalai benefitting over 200 farmers.
The Family Empowerment Programme conducted in partnership with Sri Lanka Red Cross supported economic and social integration of 30 selected families affected by the conflict.
The vesting of the six-way anicut in Iranapalai, Mullaitivu was graced by K. Vimalanathan, District Secretary of Mullaitivu, Punithakumar, Assistant Director of the Agrarian Department, S. Jeyakanth, Divisional Secretary Puthukudiyiruppu and M. Umamakal, the Divisional Secretary Maritimepatru. The John Keells Group was represented by Suresh Rajendra, President-property Group, Nadijatambiah, Head of Legal, Secretarial & CSR, Carmeline Jayasuriya, Head of Operations – CSR and K. Kokilan, Head of SalesCluster 4, Union Assurance. Dr. Dhanansenathirajah, National Director and Clarence Sutharasan, Director of Marketing and Engagement represented World Vision Lanka.