Speaker with the common touch:
Chamal shines in politics
There are two categories of politicians. Those who become popular due
to politics belong to the first category and the second are those who
popularise politics for the welfare of the masses with the intention of
helping them. They are rare and unique.
This is particularly true of Chamal Rajapaksa (the present Speaker of
When he entered politics, the people of Giruwa and Magam Pattus of
the Hambantota district, took a keen interest in politics to topple
repressive regimes which were in power and to elect capable leaders.
Chamalís entry into politics kindled in them much enthusiasm. He is
the eldest son of the late D.A. Rajapaksa, or the Lion of Ruhuna, which
produced illustrious politicians.
Chamalís forte was politics; agriculture, irrigation, aviation or
navigation made no difference.
He had shone in politics since he took to it in 1985 after giving up
his career in the police and some 12,000 hamlets in far off Magam
Paththuwa in the Hambantota District benefited from his dedicated
At 65 Chamal is still a human dynamo and he travels the length and
breadth of the Magam Paththuwa and Giruwa Paththuwa attending to the
needs of the people apart from his duties as a responsible politician.
A man of integrity he had always felt the pulse of the people of
Ruhuna and is a first-class Goviraja among other govirajas when he takes
He chose the middle left in politics with much success like his
forebears and became an asset to the SLFP after winning the Mulkirigala
by-election in 1987 amidst strong opposition. He celebrated the silver
jubilee of his political career recently.
Throughout his 25-year political career he was with the masses
fighting repressive politics of those in power and did everything
possible to improve the lot of poverty-stricken people in the Hambantota
district. Chamal who is popular among the common people helped formulate
the Mahinda Chinthana.
People of Hambantota will reap some of the benefits of the projects
pioneered by him.
The Hambantota Ports Development project being built at a cost of US$
650 million is a landmark among other massive projects launched during
his tenure as Minister of Ports Development and Aviation for the
well-being of the entire country.
The Hambantota port which is in close proximity to international sea
routes, 10 nautical miles away from the mainland when completed could
provide bunkering facilities to around 10,000 ships annually earning
valuable foreign exchange.
The first ship for the biggest port in Asia is scheduled to call at
the Hambantota harbour by November this year.
The port would create over 300,000 job opportunities direct and
indirect and help overcome poverty in Giruwapaththuwa and the suburbs.
Another pioneering work initiated by Chamal Rajapaksa is the
construction of the second international airport at Mattala, which would
promote the tourist industry in the South and also create an Investment
The Weheragala irrigation project in Hambantota built at a cost of Rs.
6,000 million would benefit around 5,000 farmer families to cultivate
12,000 acres of paddy lands during the Yala and Maha seasons. The Mav
Ara, Uma Oya, Udu Kirawala and Kekiriobada development projects are
among the other projects that had been implemented.
The Sooriyawewa International Sports Stadium and the oil refinery, a
full fledged nurses training school for Hambantota, new Courts Complex
for Tissamaharama and Hambantota, the provision of a botanical garden
for Mirijjawila similar to the Peradeniya gardens, an agricultural
faculty for Hambantota an agro-technology and rural industries centre
for Weligaththa in Magampura are among those concerned for the south. He
has also taken steps to promote educational and vocational training
activities in the district.
Chamal Rajapaksa a man with a vision still moves about freely among
his peasant farmer friends.
Hambantota Port Development project
Sooriyawewa International Sports Stadium under construction