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'Anuruddha was second Sapumal Prince'

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa presided when Parliament met at 1 pm yesterday.

After the presentation of papers and oral questions, the House took up the condolence motion of Parliamentarian and Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte.

Leader of the House and Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva moved the motion.

Irrigation and Water Resources Manager Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva: I move the condolence motion of General Anuruddha Ratwatte who represented in Parliament the people in Kandy He was also appointed as a minister. His father was Haris Levke Ratwatte and Mallika Katugaha Ratwatte was his mother. He was born on July 13, 1938 and educated at Trinity College in Kandy. He exhibited his skills in many games including rugger.As a youth he joined the Army and served as a commissioned officer. He obtained leadership training in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in 1961. He joined active politics and was elected to the Kandy Municipal Council from 1966 to 1971 and 1979 to 1986.

He was married to Carmen Ratwatte and had three children. His eldest son Lohan Ratwatte is a Parliamentarian now. The second son Mahendra Ratwatte is the Mayor of Kandy and the youngest Chanuka is working as a business management director. He was the brother of late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. He held the post of acting Diyawadana Nilame of Sri Dalada Maligawa after his father's demise, who was then Diyawdana Nilame.

Anuruddha was promoted to the post of Lieutenant Colonel in 1971. He sat in Parliament in 1989 from the National List. He was elected again in 1994 with more than 90,000 preferential votes.He was lucky to hold the Ministerial post of Irrigation, Power and Energy and Defence Deputy during the regime of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

During his period, many operations, namely, Hena Pahara, Sath Jaya, Jayasikuru, Rana Gosa, Rivi Resa etc were performed against terrorism. People named him the second Sapumal prince when he liberated Jaffna Peninsula from terrorism. He was offered the rank of General to recognise his service to the nation, by the then President.

He was elected to Parliament in 2000 with 150,000 preferential votes and again in 2001. He was pleased with the operations against terrorism under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and was lucky to witness the completion of terrorism.

The great warrior and politician who loved the nation passed away at the age of 73 on November 24, 2011.

Ranil Wickremesinghe (Opposition Leader): Anuruddha Ratwatte played a significant role in coming into power in 2004. His father was a State Counsel in Kegalle and Mawanella. I got to know him well in 1989 when he was elected to Parliament. Before that I met him briefly. He was much interested in the defence of the country, and I remember he built up a good relationship with Ranjan Wijeratne.

He also paid interest to agriculture, the power sector etc. He renovated canals. His name will be remembered with the major operations that took place during his period from Riviresa to the Agnikeela.

He was always in the field. Once his helicopter landed with the IGP in the area where the LTTE held control. But he got through.

He was a controversial minister and loved to be in the centre of controversy. He was an adviser to the former and present President.

Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena: Late Ratwatte rendered a remarkable contribution for the freedom of the nation.

He played a pivotal role to give new life to the SLFP which was able to obtain only eight seats in Parliament.

He had great organisation power and played a pivotal role to bring the SLFP into power in 1994. His name will be written in gold in history for liberating Jaffna from the grip of terrorism.

Deputy Chairman of Committees Murugesu Chandrakumar takes the Chair.

Higher Education Minister S B Dissanayake: General Ratwatte was the SLFP member who shouldered the party during its most difficult period. He endured threats and difficulties to protect the party.

When Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Prime Minister and the presidential candidate, Anuruddha Ratwatte clearly said Mahinda Rajapaksa was the most suitable person for the post. He was one of our political teachers.

John Amarathunga (UNP): Today we are moving a condolence motion of a great politician who hailed from the upcountry. He had launched various significant development projects.

He played an important role as Deputy Minister of Defence when the country was on the verge of losing a part of it.

Namal Rajapaksa (UPFA): I consider it a privilege that I got an opportunity to speak about a great political leader Anuruddha Ratwatte.

He played a pivotal role to protect the SLFP, and its leader Sirimavo Bandaranaike then when SLFP underwent many difficulties.

We identified him as the Sapumal Kumaraya during school days as he liberated Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE.

I can recall Ratwatte was a tower of strength to President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was the Opposition Leader, Prime Minister and presidential candidate.

I am happy his children MP Lohan Ratwatte and Kandy Mayor Mahendra Ratwatte are following in the footsteps of their father.

Lakshman Kiriella (UNP): He became the most powerful minister in the 1994 government. He held five ministerial portfolios and was a support to the people in Kandy and in the entire country.

He was a fearless person and never shied away from challenges.

Mahindananda Aluthgamage (Sports Minister)

Late MP General Anurudha Ratwatte rendered a yeomen service as former Power and Energy Minister and Defence Deputy Minister. His demise was a great loss to the Kandy district. He gave leadership to strengthen the UPFA movement in the Kandy district. He was a good leader and lived with the people. People in the district would never forget his service.

Karu Jayasuriya (UNP): He always abided by the law and had great qualities. He was brave and faced many challenges fearlessly. He was able to perform his duties in a balanced manner.

W.D.J. Seneviratne (Public Administration and Home Affairs): Late MP General Anurudha Ratwatte was a great politician who delivered tremendious service to the country. He had the opportunity to render a yeoman service as a former Power and Energy Minister. He initiated a number of projects to provide electricity to the rural masses. Thousands living in rural areas benefited through these projects. He was a humble and friendly person.

Dayasiri Jayasekera (UNP): He performed great service to society and took brave decisions for the betterment of the country when he was former Power and Energy Minister. He was a fearless politician who rendered a yeomen service to the country.

Dr. Sarath Amunugama (Senior Minister of International Monitory Co-operation): Late MP General Ratwatte strengthened the SLFP by reorganising the party with the objective of winning the election. He helped the late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike to protect the party and win the election with a massive majority.

He has three sons, very talented and fealess. His two sons MP Lohan Ratwatte and Kandy Mayer Mahendra Ratwatte are currently following in his path.

Mervyn Silva (Public Relations Minister): Late MP General Anurudha Ratwatte was a great politician and human being. His name will be written in the list of Sri Lankan heroes,. He was a real leader loved by everyone in the central hills.

Health Deputy Minister Lalith Dissanayake: Late MP General Ratwatte initiated the Upper Kotmale project as Irrigation Minister. He commenced many rural electrification projects for the benefit of the people. He was a respectable and honest person committed to social service.

Rural Development Senior Minister Athauda Seneviratne: As a national SLFP organiser in Kandy he took measures to strengthen the party. He always acted to protect the democratic rights of the people. He created a conducive environment for the security forces to fight against the terrorists. He always went out into the battlefield to uplift the moral of the security forces. As a Minister, he did tremendous service to develop the country.

Chamika Buddhadasa (UPFA): He was a pioneer who gave leadership to develop Kandy district. He rendered yeomen service to the country as the Power, Energy and Irrigation Minister. The vote of condolence of General Anuruddha Ratwatte was adjourned for another day.

Parliament was adjournment until 1.30 pm today.


LTTE destroyed temples and kovils - Ven Ellawala Medananda Thera

[Parliament proceedings from yesterday]

At adjournment

Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that there had been a peaceful environment to hold a successful May Day rally by the TNA with the UNP and there had been no objection from Sri Lankan Tamils in IDP camps in India. He made this observation in response to an adjournment motion moved by TNA MP Mavai Senathirasa.

Mavai Senathirasa (TNA): There is a large number of Tamil youths displaced due to the operations. Yet some of them are not resettled. They are not in a position to engage in their employments. They do not have proper houses and other facilities not conducive for reconciliation. So the House suggests that a proper mechanism be formulated to provide them with relief and uplift their economic, social, political and cultural aspects for a better reconciliation.

They have been suffering for 25 years. These people should be resettled in their own lands.

R. Yogarajan (UNP): I second the motion moved by the TNA. The government had not been able to provide equal rights to all in the country even after the completion of a 30-year operation. An environment should be created for all to live in reconciliation.

The Tamils expect a political solution that would guarantee the dignity of the Tamil people. The people in the North expect to develop that by a Provincial Council elected by them. A survey conducted by the Human Rights Commission has shown that about 50 percent of the resettled IDPs in the North suffered from poverty.

Professor Rajiva Wijesinghe (UPFA): The motion moved by the TNA member today, includes elements that drive the reconciliation backwards. The gross generalization is made without considering the facts. The allegation of vandalism of Buddha statues by the Army is not correct. The Army does not engage in such activities.

A particular monk could bring a Buddha statue and can place it there. These allegations are made by the TNA to insult the Army and the TNA was aware of it.

Please try to be precise in future.

The root cause of the sufferings undergone by the Tamil people has not been revealed by the TNA.

Thousands of Tamil people were killed by the LTTE.

The TNA members were terrified out of their wits when LTTE Leader Prabhakaran was alive.

When such a motion is taken up, the number of Tamil leaders killed by the LTTE should be remembered.

Ven Ellawala Medananda Thera (UPFA): I have been given only 5 minutes which is really inadequate. The TNA member who moved the motion made three false allegations.

The North is not their land. The Sinhalese did not invade the land of Tamils. The Sinhalese never built a temple after destroying Kovils.

But the LTTE destroyed temples and built up kovils.

The Vavunikulam kovil, Kanagarayakulam, Thiraketheeswaram and Kevelvaram kovils were made on destroyed Buddhist temples.

But we never attempted to break down those kovils, as it would have led to weaken the bond between the Sinhalese and Tamils.

But when I went to see the resettled IDPs in the North, they welcomed me. They are all happy today, and are willing to work with us.

They said no TNA member came to see them or to solve their problems. But you try to spread hatredness. The TNA members attempt to put innocent Tamil people into the dark.

Today you must cooperate with us to develop the country, as it is the land of both the Sinhala and Tamil people.

The temple at Eravur had been built by Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim people. The Buddha statue was carried away by a Tamil person on his head.

'Dignity of the people should be assured'

Vijitha Herath (DNA): The 30-year long war was put to an end due to the commitment of our heroic Armed Forces, under the brave leadership of former General Sarath Fonseka. Now the government should take steps to assure the dignity of the people living in the North and East.

'Child LTTE cadres are attending school today'

Sudharshini Fernandopulle (UPFA): People in the North and East have been battered by the war for nearly 30 years. Children who had been given weapons and sent to the battlefield by LTTE terrorists, are attending schools today. We have been able to reduce malnutrition in the North and East within the past three years.

Over 90 percent of people have already been resettled. Their health and education facilities have been upgraded during the past three years.

Suresh Premachandran (TNA): A number of military camps have been established in the entire North and East. This has vastly disturbed the normal lifestyle of the people. If the war over, why is the government not taking measures to remove these camps?

Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda: The TNA should give its fullest support to the government to find solutions for the ethnic problem. The government is committed to ensure the welfare and well-being of the people in the North and East.

Today, these two regions are developing fast while fresh and new hopes have been created in the people. The government is doing its best to fulfil the needs of the people, while providing solutions to their problems.

Pon Selvarasa (TNA): There are several areas in the North and East where not a single person has been resettled. Over 5,000 graduates living in Batticaloa are unemployed. Even though, unemployed youths were called for interviews, none of them have been provided with jobs yet.

Resettlement Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan: We have been able to resettle over 90 percent of the people battered by the brutal war.

Today they are living happily. We must get together to find solutions for the problems of Tamils. We must be very careful in dealing with these issues. The government is fully committed to resolving their problems and fulfilling their needs.

Sri Ranga (UNP): The government should take steps to implement the 13th Amendment. If the 13th Amendment to the Constitution is implemented, we would have been able to solve 50 percent of the problems faced by the people in the North and East.

We have taken steps to develop North and East on a priority basis

Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera: We have taken steps to develop the North and East on a priority basis. Ex-LTTE cadres have been rehabilitated and integrated into society. We want to create reconciliation among the people. We have to find solutions despite the conspiratorial and imperialist forces, the Western countries are conspiring to divide the country. We should get-together to defeat these forces.

S Vino (TNA): What did we tell the Indian delegation? Ninety six percent of IDPs have been resettled. Only 4 percent are still to be resettled. But I think the IDPs in Canada and other countries, have not been accounted for. There are programmes to create an environment for the IDPs to come back to the country.

Uvais Farook takes the chair

Resettlement Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon: I remember Mavai Senathirasa asked that relief be granted to the people in the North when they were affected by floods. We provided them with 45 million rupees worth of relief. But the first few paragraphs his include words that would reverse the positive changes. But I am happy of the motion and I believe at least 10 years would be taken to develop the areas. We will take measures to settle the IDPs temporarily till they are been settled permanently in their own lands.

The Indian delegation toured the Settikulam area and spoke to the IDPs.

LTTE used children as human shields

A H M Azwer (UPFA):

Mavai Senathirasa accepted that they took weapons. The people including the Muslim, have been chased away from those lands. No TNA member protested those days. But today these very same people shed crocodile tears. Who killed the Muslims in Kaththankudi? They were committed by the LTTE. The LTTE used children as human shields and suicide bombers.

Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva: said the motion of Mavai Senathirasa had reversed the reconciliation process. I am not attempting to consider them as we attempt to share the dividends of peace equally in the North and East. On May Day, a successful rally was organized by the opposition in Jaffna. We are happy. The government has created a peaceful environment in Jaffna and guaranteed. I state that I am happy that R Sampanthan held the National flag in his hands.

Freedom has been guaranteed for any IDP living abroad to return to Sri Lanka. But how many of these Tamils living in Europe are willing to return ?

The Indian delegation admitted that development was taking place in the North and East.

Yogarajan requested us to hold elections in the North. Not only they, we too need to hold elections. We held elections in the East and the Western countries asked us as to why elections were held in such a haste.

A consensus was held. Now the Elections Commissioner can prepare his list of voters and we could hold elections without any problem systematically, without being needlessly criticized.

No matter who wins the elections, we will hold them within a just period of time.

We invite the TNA to send the names of candidates for the Parliamentary Select Committee, to find a sustainable solution for this issue. There is a way to find solutions for this issue, but the government has not closed the pathway.

The LTTE leader neglected the paths open to them. So I request the TNA to be more flexible in finding solutions to these issues.


Sand transport regulations relaxed

Regulations on sand transport have been relaxed with effect from yesterday, Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told Parliament yesterday.

Making a statement in Parliament, the Minister said Cabinet Ministers at their last meeting on May 9, decided to permit sand transport without a licence during the 12 hour period from 6 am to 6 pm.

The decision was taken with a view to minimize irregularities and corruption in mining and sand for construction purposes

and reduce sand price, the minister said, adding, it was taken considering the results of several attempts by the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB).

Transporters should obtain sand only from licensed sand miners and legal action would be taken against those who purchase sand

from illicit miners and mining places, according to the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act No 33 of 1992, he said.

The GSMB launched several programmes to crack down on illegal mining and transport of sand and prevent individuals from capitalizing on supply shortages and not allow private monopoly. To achieve this target, regulations pertaining to sand mining and transport were relaxed to bring down exorbitant sand prices.

However, previous relaxation of regulations could not achieve the expected results in the market, he said. The sand price in the market went out of control and a high demand for sand continued, with price fluctuations.

Thus, Cabinet Ministers decided to allow sand transport without a permit from 6.am to 6.pm, he said.


Bell and light system for Colombo-Matara railway line

Transport Minister Kumara Welgama told Parliament yesterday, level crossings on the Matara-Colombo railway line, would be installed under the bell and light system before the end of 2013.

He said the government had already allocated Rs 1,000 million for this purpose.

It had been reported that trains travelling on the Southern railway line was late due to the prevailing old signalling system and no proper safety gates at unprotected railway crossings.

The minister was responding to an oral question raised by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera.

 

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