Nearly 700 members of the Army and more than 200 civilians of the farming community, in a rare gesture of self-help, goodwill and reconciliation, joined hands with one another on Thursday (7) to renovate a 20 km-long water canal that supplies water for cultivation purposes up to Pandivettiaru in the general areas of Thunukkai and Vavunikulam.
The Vavunikulam tank which covers an area of more than 40,000 acres has three major canals that carry water to different areas in Thunukkai, an area, reputed for agricultural purposes since ancient times. However, the 20 km-long canal on the southern bund required repairs and renovations before the next monsoon rains set in.
Upon hearing of the need for renovations, Major General Sarath Weerawardane, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 65 Division, together with the soldiers of the 651, 652, 653 Brigades, organized the mammoth ‘Shramadhana’ campaign and invited farming community leaders to support it since they are the benefactors of tank water which cultivates more than 2,672 acres during both harvesting seasons, ‘Yala’ and ‘Maha’.
At the request of the troops, members of 9 rural farming associations worked hand in hand with the troops and carried out cleaning, preparations, repairs and renovations in the canal that runs 20 km in length during the course of the day (7).
Mr P Viharan, Irrigational Engineer for Vavunikulam actively supported the community project, together with Assistant Director of Irrigation for Northern Province, Eng. P Rajakopu (Plans), Divisional Secretary for Thunukkai, Mr I Prathapan, all officials in the office for Irrigational Engineers at Thunukkai and Grama Seva officials.
10 Sri Lanka Light Infantry, 19 Sri Lanka Light Infantry, 21 (V) Sri Lanka Light Infantry, 15 (V) Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment, 1 Gajaba Regiment, 11 Gajaba Regiment, 20 (V) Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment and 7 Sri Lanka National Guard troops of above-mentioned Brigades, along with respective Brigade Commanders contributed to the success of the full day-long community project.