18th July 2020 16:49:22 Hours
The Army, being the vast and multifarious organization with multitasking sets of All Ranks, in what could be considered as another mega community project in the Jaffna peninsula, this morning (18) vested 25 Army-built new houses in selected low-income groups of families in Punkuduthivu, Velanai areas as a “symbol of national unity”.
The entire project, funded by the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) of the Ministry of Urban Development, Water Supply & Housing was brought to completion by 5 Corps of Engineer Service (CES) Regiment troops of the 51 Division of the Security Force HQ-Jaffna.
Today’s inaugural opening ceremony of this housing scheme, graced by the Governor for Northern Province, Ms P.S.M Charles, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, District Secretary for Jaffna, Mr K Maheshan, Commander, Security Forces - Jaffna, Major General Ruwan Wanigasooriya, Chief Secretary for the Northern Province, Mr A Pathinadan, Secretary to Department of Education - Northern Province, Mr L Illangoven, General Officer Commanding, 51 Division, Major General Lalith Rathnayake and a host of invitees, inclusive of NHDA officials, state officials and other invitees.
In her address to the occasion, the Governor, Ms P.S.M Charles attending the occasion as Guest of Honour defined the successful completion of the project as a “symbol of national unity” which would help usher long-lasting peace to our country. “I have been working closely with the Army for so many years and they are experts in bringing a target to completion at any given time. Today’s inauguration of this housing scheme for people with less income would be an example and a catalyst for peaceful co-existence since it stands as a symbol of national unity. Let me thank all Army, Navy, Air Force, Police personnel and all other contributors to the project for their valuable commitment and dedication,” the Governor remarked.
Initial work of the housing scheme commenced with the coordination and management of funds, made by Mr. L Illangoven, Secretary to Department of Education - Northern Province who was also instrumental in selecting the beneficiaries was closely supervised by Major General Lalith Rathnayake, General Officer Commanding, 51 Division under the guidelines given by Major General Ruwan Wanigasooriya. Commanding Officer of the 5 Corps of Engineer Service (CES) Regiment using technical and architectural expertise of Army troops put up those separate houses, each worth about Rs 5 lakhs with electricity, water scheme, sanitary facilities, dining room, bed rooms, kitchen and other units.
Distinguished guests, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, together with the Governor afterwards, amidst Hindu religious traditions, rites and rituals, unveiled a plaque and then warmed one of those new houses by opening it symbolically. After a while, distinguished guests gave away keys of the houses and land ownership deeds separately to all 25 recipients before the brief ceremony turned to be a meeting, in which Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva also made a few comments. The day’s ceremony conducted in line with current health guidelines was attended by relatives, well-wishers of the beneficiaries and civilians in the area.