His Excellency, the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the conceptual architect behind provision of lifelong solace to island-wide dependent War Heroes in state-of-the art therapeutic wellness resorts, left one more milestone in the annals of military history this morning (10) when he ceremonially opened the newest, ‘Abhimansala 2’ at Wilpitawatta, Kamburupitiya for South-resident disable soldiers.
As distinctly articulate in the ‘Mahinda Chintanaya’ policy document, ‘Abhimansala 2’, the visionary concept of the President, was made to become a reality, thanks to able and sustained guidance of Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Secretary Defence and Urban Development and the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya who tirelessly brought the project to fruition with the unswerving support of the thematic ‘Brave Hearts’ fund-raiser, spearheaded largely by the ladies of the Seva Vanitha Army Branch (SVAB).
As the Chief Guest President Rajapaksa, gracing the inaugural opening of the ‘Abhimansala 2’, lying in a 10-acre extent, rich with serene natural landscape, lush greenery and bio diversity, bordering ‘Lenabatu Wewa’, at Wilpitawatta, he was warmly received by the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya and Mrs Manjulika Jayasuriya, President, Seva Vanitha Army Branch (SVAB) and ushered to unveil the signboard at the main entrance to the ‘Abhimansala 2’ complex in a colourful procession, made up of members of the Army cultural troupe. President Rajapaksa was then invited to add an eternal memory to the project by unveiling the special plaque that summarizes the realization of the conceptual notion of this special sanatorium and symbolizes the objective of the mission. Members of the Maha Sangha, extended their blessings to the noble project, chanting Seth Pirith as unveiling was in progress.
Saturday’s (10) ceremonial opening of this mega center of eternal tranquility and hopefulness for 50 more Southern War Heroes assumed special significance since donors for construction of all 7 villas and 5 cottages simultaneously joined, together with the President to open their respective units scattered in the complex premises as the auspicious minute struck.
President Rajapaksa made the formal opening of the main building after cutting a ribbon at the main entrance, amidst Seth Pirith, followed by offer of Pirikara and Gilanpasa to members of the Maha Sangha. Heralding the inauguration, the President, along with several distinguished invitees lit the traditional oil lamp in the midst of Magul Bera (auspicious drums) beats and symbolized radiating light of wisdom, compassion and gratefulness in accordance with age-old traditions.
The next moment was solemn and marked the admission of the first dependent War Hero to the well-equipped new ‘Abhimansala 2’ after registering his details at the medical consultation unit of the complex as all eyes remained glued in that direction. President Rajapaksa, showing fatherly care and tenderness to the first inmate after registration, shared a few thoughts with him and inquired into his wellbeing.
President Rajapaksa afterwards strolled in the complex, in order for him to get a first-hand glimpse of the entire project together with the Commander of the Army and several other distinguished guests including Commander of the Air Force. During the tour, President Rajapaksa, as it was the practice at the Anuradhapura ‘Abhimansala-1’, gifted a Nenasala (IT unit) to the complex for the use of those disable inmates after unveiling its plaque amidst applause.
President Rajapaksa took special interest in visiting separate villas, cottages, wards, Ayurvedic treatment center, library and a few more structures in the complex. On the same occasion, President Rajapaksa donated parcels of books both to the library and the Nenasala after having a close look at those units.
The formal brief meeting commenced with the warm welcome speech, delivered by the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, in which he paid a glowing tribute to the enormous interest, being shown by the President as the Commander in Chief for the uplift of welfare of both dependent and all War Heroes.(See Commander's speech below)
Impressed with the serene surroundings, the President soon after his speech and viewing a special documentary on the entire ‘Abhimansala’ and ‘Brave Hearts’ project, gave away two modern electric chairs for the use of two inmates at the same occasion, symbolizing his continued support. Around the same time, a demonstration on hydrotherapy, intended to be applied for inmates, took the centre-stage of the proceedings, evoking interest among the invitees.
Giving a phenomenal significance to the overall project, Singer Sri Lanka PLC on the same occasion, set an example and made a symbolic donation of Rs 5.2 million towards the proposed ‘Abhimansala-3’, expected to come up in Kurunegala for the benefit of Northwestern province based dependent War Heroes after the Kamburupitiya one. Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya received the donation during the ceremony.
A total of about 300 Sri Lanka Army War Heroes during the fight against terrorism suffered lifetime disability, prompting the State to respond to their vital requirements in the healing and therapeutic process. As a result, the birth of Defence Ministry-initiated Attidiya ‘Mihindu Seth Medura’ and the Anuradhapura ‘Abhimansala 1’ occurred, housing a few more than 100 dependent War Heroes in the recent past.
To begin with, Southern Province-resident 28 disable War Heroes on wheelchairs and 20 totally handicapped War Heroes who need 24-hour vigil, are to be accommodated in the new ‘Abimansala 2’ after proper medical screening and categorization ensuring prioritized care for the most deserving.
Appreciative concerns and productive measures, taken by the Army to this date in this connection, stimulated Ratnapura Gem Businessmen’s Association and Diesel & Motor Engineering Company Ltd (Dimo) to sponsor construction of all the 5 Cottages while MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka Insurance, Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment Seva Vanitha Unit, Sri Lanka Army Service Corps Seva Vanitha Unit, Singer Sri Lanka PLC, Wickremaratne’s (Pvt) Ltd and Security Forces Headquarters-Jaffna, separately, came forward to foot the construction cost of all 7 Villas in the ‘Abimansala 2’ complex. Each Cottage cost Rs 4 million and a Villa Rs 5.25 million upon completion. In addition, the swimming pool cost Rs 10 million, which was donated by David Peiris PLC.
The construction project, inaugurated by Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya after laying the first cornerstone on 19 January 2012, was brought to a successful completion in less than ten months by energetic Army Engineers and Engineer Service Regiment with their manpower and professional know-how, amply supported by both state and private sector experts of different spheres.
Members of clergy of major denominations, Ministers, Governors, Deputy Ministers, Secretaries, Chief Ministers, Members of Parliament, Air Force Commander, spouses of tri-service senior officers, senior tri-service officers, representatives of donor companies, donors, villagers and invitees attended the day’s event.