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'Establishment of New Army Camps Expedites Return of Civil Buildings,' says Commander

The newly-built Headquarters complex of the 68 Division at Sugandirapuram, Puthukudiyiruppu was ceremonially handed over to the use of gallant soldiers in the Army by Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya Thursday (22) morning when he visited there as Chief Guest.

The establishment of the new HQ complex is in conformity with the government’s strategy of reinforcing the security infrastructure across the country to meet with any future challenges.

The visit of the Commander also coupled with his intention to personally inquire into the progress, made in relation to the Army contribution to the ongoing development projects under ‘Uthuru Wasanthaya’ programme in the sphere of demining, bridge building, constructions, other humanitarian projects, etc. 

Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya upon arrival at the new Headquarters complex premises was warmly greeted by Major General Prasanna Silva, Commander, Security Forces, Mullaittivu and conducted to inspect the traditional Guard Turn-Out, offered by 7 Gemunu Watch soldiers at the entrance to the complex. Later on, a special Guard of Honour at parade ground accorded by the same 7 GW troops saluted the visiting Army Chief who in the company of Brigadier Aruna Jayasekara, General Officer Commanding and the parade commander inspected the parade.

Before commencement of the day’s main event, the Commander offered flowers to the shrine (Budu Medura) in the complex and paid his respect. Ven Atambagaskada Kalyanathissa Nayaka Thero conducted religious rites, blessed the place and began reciting ‘Seth Pirith.’   

As the clock struck the auspicious minute at 10.20 a.m, the Commander on the invitation of Brigadier Aruna Jayasekara, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 68 Division unveiled a plaque on the new main building and declared it opened. Lieutenant General Jayasuriya afterwards accompanied by senior officers went round the new building and saw for himself how various facilities have been made available inside it. 

To ensure his soldiers continue to live with the nature, the Commander inaugurated a tree planting campaign among soldiers serving the complex by planting a mango sapling in the premises. As is the practice, the Commander afterwards sat with all ranks in the new Headquarters for a group photo before he shared a cup of tea with all those who were present.

Next on the agenda was the Commander’s address to the occasion. During his brief oration, Lieutenant General Jayasuriya attributed realization of the establishment of this new Headquarters complex to the vision, presented by HE the President and Secretary Defence Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in compliance with the government’s long-term security strategy.

“These types of permanent buildings were made possible due to pre-fabricated technology, donated by China. The government wants us to vacate all buildings, belonging to the civil sector, so that owners of those buildings could reclaim them and help bring normalcy to the area. Civil life should be restored and facilitated in the area. In the future, once married quarters of the officers and the other ranks are set up in respective areas, they would be able to live with their families as well while serving the areas,” the Commander noted.

Touching the question of sustaining high standards of discipline among all ranks in the Army, Lieutenant General Jayasuriya asked everyone to jointly ensure that they do not bring disrepute to the Army image by committing acts of indiscipline “In some instances, certain elements are marking time to blow a minor incident, related to an Army soldier out of proportions and criticize the whole organization in general,” he specified.

Lieutenant General Jayasuriya pointed out that service, being provided by the Army at different levels, has come in for praise even at ministerial levels, and it is a moral boost to everyone of us in the Army. Demining has emerged as one such leading area. We also must remember that our goodwill towards civilians and coordination with different communities for public welfare should be promoted at all times, he said.

Elaborating on the series of welfare measures, implemented on behalf of the troops, the Commander told them that mega housing and welfare projects such as Kandy, Ipalogama, Attidiya, Anuradhapura ‘Abimansala,’ etc would benefit the soldiers at all levels. Ministry of Defence has been playing a leading role in this direction, the Commander added.

Brigadier Aruna Jayasekara, General Officer Commanding 68 Division presented a memento to his visiting Chief towards the end of the day’s ceremonies as a token of memory of his visit to the new complex.   

Before Lieutenant General Jayasuriya left the venue, he signed up the VIP book at new 68 Division Headquarters office. A large gathering of senior officers attended the inaugural ceremony.