SRI LANKA Army is to re-introduce its free transport facilities to soldiers as before, since the LTTE terrorism has now been defeated and its threat diminished.
This was disclosed by Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya this morning (29) when he spoke to a cross-section of Other Ranks serving the Colombo Army Headquarters for the first time after he took over as Commander of the Army.
Soldiers at the Army Headquarters and other establishments within Colombo were earlier provided free transport to specific destinations, but those services had to be suspended indefinitely as LTTE threat against military targets and convoys was on the increase.
Commander Lieutenant General Jayasuriya during his interaction with Other Ranks assured them that the former transport service will be re-started while simultaneously exploring possibilities for re-launch of the transport facility for children in Army families.
“We should be partial to the government in power. All governments at the end of their tenure hold elections. Army officer or a soldier wearing a uniform has no right whatsoever to engage in political work with any contesting candidates and any such soldier or officer if found will be subjected to disciplinary action and faces discharge from the Army. Support given by the President and Secretary Defence for the victory of the war directly attributed to its win over terrorism,” Commander further said.
Though some elements during the times of the war alleged that the war was to be abruptly halted, neither the President nor the Secretary Defence has had any such need, he added.
“I personally knew about it myself since I was the Wanni Commander at that stage where the President and Secretary Defence personally phoned me to find the ground developments while giving necessary instructions. They did so even when both of them were overseas,” the Commander said.
Assembled Other Ranks at this special gathering received the rare, perhaps once in life-time, opportunity to directly interact with their Commander and seek solutions to their concerns and problems during this meeting.
Lieutenant General Jayasuriya also told the gathering that His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has already instructed state banks to give priority for loan applications forwarded by Army personnel. Loans for house constructions are to be prioritized, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya further added.
In response to concerns and questions raised by some attendees, the Commander instructed his senior officers in respective branches to immediately resolve them taking necessary measures. He also looked into welfare facilities being maintained at residential billets and quarters. The quality of the meals served is also to be raised in the future, the Commander specified in response to another concern.
Chief of Staff Major General Mendaka Samarasinghe, Military Secretary Major General Milinda Peiris, Principal Staff Officers and a large gathering of Other Ranks attended the meeting.