Cabinet approval was granted to a memorandum submitted by Education Minister Susil Premajayantha to increase the number of Grade 5 scholarships from the present 10,000 to 15,000 from 2008.
The Cabinet which met on Wednesday chaired by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake also allocated an additional Rs. 25 million for the increased 5000 scholarships with a total annual disbursement standing at Rs. 375 million, Acting Minister of Information and Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told journalists yesterday.
Cabinet Approval was also granted to a Paper submitted by Plantations Minister D.M. Jayaratne to formulate a structure to charge a tax from coconut lands authorized for fragmentation.
“The sale by blocking out fertile coconut lands fragmented into plots of 10 to 15 perches is carried out by finance companies as large scale commercial ventures raising a huge profit. The government wants to contain this trend and protect coconut, rubber and tea lands from being used for other purposes like housing,” Minister Abeywardana said.
A proposal by Mr. Jayaratne to give away five coconut saplings to families who engage in home gardening to increase the annual coconut harvest from the present 2,900 million to 35,000 million nuts was also given the Cabinet nod. A memorandum submitted by Agriculture Minister Mithripala Sirisena for a Sustainable Agriculture Water Management Project to install solar power drip-irrigation systems to overcome water related issues in farming was also approved by the Cabinet.
By Sandun A. Jayasekera