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Thursday, 29 December 2011

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Public servant par excellence from Matale

High Priest of Matale Disawa, Malwatta Chapter of Siam Maha Nikaya Mahalakotuwe Wimaladhamma Nayaka Thera

Deputuy Minister of Higher Education Nandimithra Ekanayake celebrated his 68th birthday on December 26.

Deputuy Minister
Nandimithra Ekanayake

Nandimithra Ekanayake was elected in the Matale District as a Member of Parliament for the first time in 1989. He held three Deputy Ministerial posts and two Cabinet Minister positions earlier. He was also Chief Minister of the Central Province for some time.

Ekanayake Mudiyanselage Mahinda Nandimithra Ekanayake was born on December 26, 1943 in Hendala, Wattala. His career spanned 22 years as a public servant. Subsequentley, he switched to politics. He has also created a name for himself as a writer, journalist and actor.

At present he is the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and a professional social worker as well.

He started his political career as a Leftist, while working in the public sector. He was elected to Parliament for the first time in 1989. As a parliamentarian he held Cabinet Portfolios of the Minister of Forestry and Environment and that of the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils. Once he was the Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries. After the provincial set up came into existence with the 13th Amendment to the constitution of Sri Lanka, he occupied the position of Chief Minister of the Central Province for some time. He has done yeomen service to the general public while in those fields.

He hails from a business background. Father is P. B. Ekanayake of Thibbatuwawa, Matale, and mother Sirima Karunawathi Sabaragamuwa of Hendala, Wattala. His grandfather's brother was a Mudliar and a leading businessman. Although he had a son, it was Nanadimithra's father who looked after the business. On August 6, 1980 Nandimithra Ekanayake married Manel Sujatha Senevirathna. He has one son, a graduate in Computer Science and Management at the Algonquin University College, Canada. His daughter in law is a Carlton University graduate.

Nandimithra Ekanayake had his basic education in Sri Lanka and got polished professional skills in Norway and the Philippines. After completion of primary and secondary education at Wattala Vidyaloka Vidyalaya and Vijaya College Matale, he joined the Sri Gnaneswara University Affiliated College, Colombo for his higher studies. He has successfully completed study programmes at Rude High School in Norway, and the Institute of Social Order in Manila, Philippines. He is a past student of the School of Social Services in Sri Lanka. He possesses two diplomas, one in Social Work and the other in Community Development.

Government service

Prior to entering politics he was a Rural Development Officer, after being successful at an open competitive examination held for the whole island. Subsequently he was promoted District Rural Development Officer and just before entering politics he was the Chief Officer in Charge of the Rural Development Training Centre at Nalanda, Matale. Leaving a 23 year unblemished record of government service he switched on to politics on a full time basis in 1989.

From his school days he got the opportunity of listening to speeches and participated in the discussions of Left political leaders, such as, Dr. N. M. Perera, Dr. Colwin R De Silva, Philip Gunawardhena and Vivienne Gunawardhana.

These speeches helped nurture and mould his Leftist ideas. With keen interest he too attended political lectures delivered by Shanmuganathan, the leader of the Communist Party (Chinese Wing).

Even at the time of executing his official work at Kahatagasdigiliya Divisional Revenue Officer's (DRO) division he started propagating the Leftist ideology among rural folk. He gave leadership to a group, campaigning against one of the strongest Cabinet Ministers in the UNP government at that time, Mr. Hurulle. Gradually along with his dedicated services to the village folk and political activities he gained popularity and the confidence of the masses.

At the Presidential election held in 1982, while in service, he did not hesitate to support openly Hector Kobbekaduwa, who contested JR Jayewardene, under Sri Lanka Freedom Party ticket.

When the Mahajana Party came into existence in 1984 under the leadership of T. B. Ilangarathna, Vijaya Kumaratunga and Ms. Chandrika Kumarathunga, Nandimithra joined with them. Even before working with the S.L.M.P. he got the opportunity of contesting the Matale Municipal Council, as a S.L.F.P. candidate for the Mayorship. He succeeded but as he was a public servant at that time, the law did not permit him to be a member or the mayor.

He was very popular in the Matale District. In 1989, defeating a very strong UNP leader at that time in Matale District, Alick Aluwihare, and the other UNP ministers, he was elected Member of Parliament to the Matale constituency. This was the first time he contested a general election.

He got his first ministerial position as Deputy Minister of Transport, Highways, Environment and Women's Affairs in 1994. Later on he was appointed Deputy Minister of Lands and Forestry.

Nandimithra Ekanayake in 1997 obtained a Cabinet Minister's position as his services to the general public and for the party were appreciated by the authorities.

He held the portfolio of Minister of Forestry and Environment under former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. He held the post of Cabinet Minister for Local Government and Provincial Councils too. As Chief Minister of Central Province for a short time he worked with the provincial set up as well.

In addition to his activities in the political field he provides leadership to his constituency and elsewhere in religious activities, social work and sports activities. He is the President of the Buddhist Education Development Foundation. Nandimithra was responsible for initiating the establishment of the International Hockey Stadium at Matale the only International Hokey Stadium in Sri Lanka. He occupies the positions of president, Sri Lanka Hockey Federation and president, Throw Ball Federation of Sri Lanka.

Providing leadership to professional social workers he contributes his knowledge and vast experience as the patron of the Professional Social Workers' Association of Sri Lanka. He is also an active member of the prestigious World Federation of Professional Social Workers.

International involvements

During his tenure as Minister of Forestry and Environment he got fully involved in local, regional and global environmental activities. In 1997 he participated in the UN Conference in New York and SAARC Region Environment Ministers' Conference in Male, Maldives.

He attended the Environment Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya in the same year. It was stated that his active participation was remarkable at United Nations Environment Conference held in New York.

At the World Conference on Environment Crimes held in Bogota, Colombia, in 1998 he was elected deputy chairman. He attended the Global Parliamentary Environment Conference as the team leader held in the People's Republic of China. Nandimithra was also responsible for the Environment Agreement with China.

Author

Nandimithra has earned a reputation among the public as an author and a journalist too. His articles on various topics appear in most of the national newspapers and other papers.

Among the books on Buddhism he has written in Sinhala are;

'Let us Spend this Moment Correctly', 'Environment and Life', 'Pure Determination', 'Look at The World through a Real Eye', 'Religious Thinking', 'Blessed Children', 'Correct Path', 'End of Samsara' and 'Sasara Ima'.

He was on the 'Small Screen' as an actor in the dramas 'Hapana', 'Pinibara Yamaya', and 'Deekethi Muwahatha', telecast some time back.

 

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