13th August 2019 16:06:31 Hours
The monument on the country’s highest point of elevation, ‘Mount Pedro’ or Pidurutalagala in the Nuwaraeliya District received a new facelift and an overall renovation since it remained unattended and dilapidated for years after the 6.2 km long road to the top was completed way back in 1990.
4 (V) Sri Lanka Engineers (SLE) troops under the guidance of its Commanding Officer gave a facelift to this landmark monument atop the peak and invited the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake who was instrumental in opening this road patch to Pidurutalagala top when he was the Commanding Officer of the 5 Field Engineers way back in 1990 in the rank of Captain, to unveil the renovated monument on Monday (12) considering the Commander’s contribution to its erection.
‘Mount Pedro’, the central point for the country’s radar system and the telecommunication services, surrounded by a range of environmentally sensitive mountains, earlier did not have a proper road patch at all at the time transmission towers were airlifted for establishment on the top since all attempts, done by civil sectors to prepare a road patch to carry their supplies had failed by then.
However, the Sri Lanka Army was afterwards entrusted the responsibility of constructing a passage giving the prioritized attention to the environmental and soil erosion factors in the year 1980. Nevertheless, the project could not get off the ground until 1987 due to various practical and other reasons.
On 4th April 1987 under the guidance of Lieutenant Colonel K.J.C Perera, Commanding Officer of 1 Plant Engineer Regiment which afterwards was transformed to be the 5 Field Engineer Regiment, the inaugural work for preparation of the road patch got underway under the supervision of Captain W.P.K Ariyaratne and Captain Mahesh Senanayake, together with Platoon Commanders, Lieutenant D.D.U.K Hettiarachchi, Lieutenant S.K Thiruwanakarasu, Lieutenant W.A.N.M Weerasinghe, Lieutenant M.A.C Perera and Lieutenant (QM) B Jayasinghe.
With the passage of time, the project was brought to completion on 31 January 1990 and it was formally opened by Brigadier K.G.C Perera, Commanding Officer, 5 Field Engineers and Lieutenant Colonel D.S.K Wijesuriya, Second in Command, 5 Field Engineers at the invitation of Captain Mahesh Senanayake at that time.
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake as the Chief Guest unveiled the completely renovated monument and recalled memories, related to the construction of the road patch to the peak as well as hardships all soldiers had to undergo at that point of time.
The simple reopening ceremony of the renovated monument after absence of 32 years after the road was done was attended by Major General Jagath Gunawardena, Commander Security Forces - Wanni, Major General Laksiri Waduge, Commander Security Forces - Central, Major General Tissa Nanayakkara, Chief Field Engineer, Major General W.A.N.M Weerasinghe, General Officer Commanding 22 Division, Brigadier A.N Amarasekara, Brigadier N.K.L.S.R Dias, Colonel N.P.A Gunawardena, Brigadier (Retd) W.G.K Ariyarathna, Major General (Retd) S.K Thirunaukarusu, Major General (Retd) D.S.K. Wijesooriya, Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) D.A.P Dissanayake, Major (QM) (Retd) B Jayasinghe, Additional Engineer Mr G.R.A.S Gunathilake (CECB Company) and several senior military officers also participated in the event.