Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 1 August 2010





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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 Parliament).

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 services.

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 to ploughing.

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.

Political career

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 Promotion Zone.

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.

Vocational training

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 Pic: Internet


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