General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army on Wednesday November 3 during his visit to the SFHQ-Jaffna was invited by the 51 Division HQ to lay the foundation stone for construction of one more new house for a former LTTE member living in Chunnakam, Jaffna.
The project coordinated by Brigadier Presanna Gunarathne, Brigadier General Staff SFHQ – J and to be financially patronized by the famous philanthropist, Mr Thyagendran Vamadewa of Jaffna is to be powered through the technical and engineering expertise of the 10 Sri Lanka Artillery troops of the 51 Division under the close supervision of Major General Chandana Wickramasinghe, General Officer Commanding, 51 Division of the SFHQ-J.
Chunnakam-based beneficiary, a rehabilitated and recently-released former LTTE combatant under the Presidential pardon after his release on 24 June 2021 was compelled to live in a temporary shelter, along with her only sister since his parents were also not alive. On being informed of the status quo, Major General Jagath Kodithuwakku, Commander, SF-J gave the green light to the 51 Division HQ to go ahead with the planned house construction project.
During a simple inaugural ceremony, General Shavendra Silva laid the foundation-stone and closely spoke to the beneficiary who was an ex-LTTE combatant who was very active when the LTTE was launching a terrorist campaign to divide the country before May 2009.
The initiation of the house construction project was the result of an interactive dialogue General Shavendra Silva has had in Jaffna with the group of ex-combatants when they were released in June under a Presidential pardon where the Army presented them with cash gifts for the benefit of their future prospects. At the same occasion, General Shavendra Silva requested them to interact with the SFHQ-J whenever they needed any assistance for conduct of their livelihoods or future assignments.
Accordingly, the rehabilitated beneficiary made a request from the Army for livelihood assistance as he did not have an own house for both himself and his sister.
The 51 Division HQ in the past 4 years (2018 – 2021) has built 45 new houses for needy civilians in the area and 4 more new houses are still under construction under the supervision of the GOC, respective Brigade Commanders and Commanding Officers.