11th March 2016 19:42:38 Hours
A total of 3170 family members of fallen War Heroes and disable War Heroes, resident in Ratnapura, Moneragala and Kegalle districts, including 2951 (Army), 150 (Sailors), 39 (Police), 25 (Air Force) and 5 (Civil Security Department) personnel during a ceremony at Ratnapura, Kuruwita Gemunu Watch (GW) Regimental Headquarters received ‘Virusara’ Privilege Cards under the Phase - II on Friday (11).
The ‘Virusara’ Privilege Card which offers a wide assortment of benefits in more than 45 state and private sector services, such as tangible discounts on medicine, food varieties, transport, hospital treatment, loans, educational courses, etc also adds recognition to the invaluable services of War Heroes. The ceremony was presided by State Minister of Defence Hon Ruwan Wijewardene.
“Final arrangements are being prepared by the government to add the salary increment (Rs 10000/=) given to the state employees be also added to the salary of tri-service personnel in consultation with other relevant authorities. In fact, a round of discussion to this effect was held by me last night (10) with Hon Prime Minister who has a broader understanding about these anomalies in servicemen’s salaries” remarked Hon Ruwan Wijewardena, State Minister of Defence during the ‘Virusara’ Privilege Card ceremony at Kuruwita on Friday (11).
“Our government does not expect servicemen be used for political gains or other political activities and we have not been influenced by any foreign power to compromise on national security concerns, nor are we ready to pull out our troops that have been deployed for security purposes. The government would not do anything that would damage the reputation of armed forces and even the foreign observers are abided by respective law enforcement in the country” said the State Minister of Defence, Hon Ruwan Wijewardena.
“Law of the country is equal to all in society irrespective of their status. It is the same for politicians too. President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe formed this national government in order to resolve burning issues of the country for the last 30 - 40 years and the public opinion is the most importance element for us. Although, our opponents are spreading various misleading and untrue allegations regarding War Heroes and the national security, our government would not in any way allow anyone to insult or degrade them. I also would like to tell you that the government will wipe out underworld gangs who are trying to disturb the hard-earned peace. All of us should be law-abiding citizens and we all are under the law. The government will not allow take the country back at dark era again and nothing has happened that threaten our national security arrangements”, the Minister added.
Eng Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Secretary Defence told the gathering at Kuruwita that the Ranaviru Sava Authority should in the future expand the ‘Virusara’ Privilege Card project to cover all War Heroes who actively contributed to the war against terrorists in the past few years.
Implemented by the Ranaviru Seva Authority (RSA) under the aegis of Mrs Anoma Fonseka, Chairperson, RSA, the project conceptualized by State Minister of Defence Hon Ruwan Wijewardene with the blessings of the President Maithripala Sirisena got underway as a welfare measure of the RSA in January, this year in recognition of the services, rendered by War Heroes in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and the Civil Security Department during a ceremony at Temple Trees where the first segment of the ‘Virusara’ card was primarily distributed.
Launch of the Phase - II of the ‘Virusara’ Privilege Card for War Heroes at provincial levels took place recently at Saliyapura Gajaba Regiment Regimental Headquarters and Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment, Boyagane, Kurunegala.
The ‘Virusara’ card, Phase - II of the project, ready for distribution of a total of 13,000 ‘Virusara’ Privilege Cards under several stages across the island gave away those benefits to 3170 beneficiaries during the ceremony at Kuruwita, Ratnapura.
A large gathering of invitees, including Secretary Defence Eng Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Secretary to State Ministry of Defence Mr A.P.G Kithsiri, Ranaviru Seva Authority Chairperson, Mrs Anoma Fonseka, Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Army, Major General Milinda Peiris, Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Navy, Rear Admiral Sirimewan Ranasinghe, Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Vice Marshal K.F.R Fernando, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) for Sabaragamuwa Province, S.S.V Rohana Dias, Ministry of Defence officials and tri-service officers are expected to grace the ceremony on Friday (11).
Over 3 lakhs of family members of fallen War Heroes and disable ones are entitled to receive those benefits when the project completes its mission in six phases by April, this year.