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Sunday, 8 November 2009

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Army lay ground work for development



Cleaning up a church premises in Pudukkudirippu

The Sri Lankan armed forces made supreme sacrifices in liberating their motherland from the LTTE jackboot.

Today they are the driving force behind the gigantic development drive launched by the government to rebuild the war-ravaged North East to ensure a better life to its community.

While the Sri Lankan Government initiated rebuilding the war torn North, the Sri Lanka Army continued their humanitarian mission during the last stages of the war in the Pudukuduyirippu, Puthumathalan and Vellamullivaikkal areas in the Mullaitivu district. Today the entire area is free from all traces of terrorism.

The gallantly on the part of our soldiers is such that during the height of the war at the risk of their lives. Fourman teams crawled to the other side of an LTTE bund for surprise attacks in an area dotted with Anti Personnel mines. They overpowered their sense of fear with courage and determination. They destroyed LTTE terrorists and saved the innocent civilians.

We witnessed ourselves in our special assignment, the efforts of soldiers of the Sri Lanka Armys Task Force 8, commanded by Brigadier G.V. Ravipriya, in making the Pudukkudirippu, Puthumathalan and Vellamullivakkal areas rise from debris.


 Cleaning up a school

Vehicles of civilians

The recovered 26 feet long torpedo launcher

 Clearing process in the Thenipuram Village
Pix: Thilak Perera
 

It gave us a glimpse of the efforts of the Sri Lanka Army deployed in the entire Northern Province in rebuilding a land that faced endless terrorist atrocities.

The entire area, especially places of common interest are getting a new facelift.

The area is dotted with Hindu temples and churches of different dimensions. Be it a small kovil under a huge tree worshipped by a small village community or a large multi coloured fascinating kovil in a more populated areas all are given similar consideration, protection and care. For the soldier it is not the size of the kovil that matters but the belief of the common man needs to be respected.

According to Brigade Commanders the renovation work started after two search and clear operations were carried out after the battle.

Troops were redeployed during the latter part of May to commence the search and clear operations. Loads of weapons, ammunition, thousands of Anti Personnel mines and similar items were recovered along with heaps of gold jewellery believed to have been buried before fleeing by civilians or mercantile banks that were operating under LTTE control.

The search and clear operations are being conducted for the third time by the Sri Lanka Army to trace even the minute element that poses a threat to the community life.

Selfless efforts

From dawn to dusk soldiers work to make the area clear and safe for the civilians to be resettled in the near future. Yes, these men are still unwearying even after three years of continuous fight to flush out the LTTE terrorism from the island nation. Irrespective of cast or creed, their selfless thought was to create a conducive environment for the people to live in peace and harmony.

They are ready to assist the Government at any time to start resettlement in these areas. These soldiers do not demand overtime, they pose no strikes threats even under dire conditions but they are willing to survive with minimum facilities.

Our soldiers are experts in the art of repairing and rebuilding as they are the sons of the average villager. They are handy at work and mending a roof, rebuilding a wall is not a big job for them. They clean school buildings, repair community halls, kovils etc.

They clear the areas overgrown with thickets that block access roads. First they made the land clear of landmines, AP mines and any other booby traps that were laid by the LTTE.

The soldiers help rebuilding the schools so that the children who were denied schooling under the LTTE dispensation could resume their studies.

Thousands of vehicles of all types, push bicycles, motorbicycles, three wheelers, vans, jeeps as well as heavy vehicles, left by the displaced people before they fled the ruthless terrorists are all stored systematically by the soldiers. Any owner can claim for his or her meagre property producing evidence of proof to the local authorities.

The Government has already started its plans for the rapid development of these areas with much emphasis on infrastructure developments. Though the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu areas faced the most fearsome and deadliest phase of the battle the development initiatives are not lagging behind!

The recent visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Mulankavil to address the valiant men of Sri Lanka Army signifies the never-diminishing concern for the liberators as well as government development priorities. Such areas were never visited by any of the past leaders of the country.

 

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