Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s 71th birthday

Falls on 30th October


Giruwapattu is situated in the south coast of Sri Lanka which was known as Ruhunu Magam Paththu or Rohanapuraya in the early days and even now.

On the 30th day of October in 1942 a son was born to the chief occupant of Medamulana Mahagedara D. A. Rajapaksa and his loving wife Dandina Samarasinhe Dissanayake. It was their first born and was named Chamal Jayantha Rajapaksa.

Chamal was an exemplary and a loving brother to eight younger siblings namely Jayanthi, Mahinda, Chandra, Gotabaya, Basil, Duddley, Preethi and Gandhinie. Together with them he romped the field, hills and ravines of Medamulana.

He observed and learned about the beasts and beings and was familiar with the living conditions of the different communities of Ruhuna.

This was when the voice of D. M. Rajapaksa, known as the ‘Lion of Ruhuna’ thundered and echoed in the house of parliament against the oppression and hardships faced by the people of Ruhuna and specially of Giruwapaththu.

Following his elder brother’s footsteps, Chamal’s loving father D. A. Rajapaksa was elected to parliament by the people of Giruwapaththu

Little Chamal learnt his ABCs’ at the Kusum Convent in Tangalle and later at the convent in Matara.

In 1948 he was admitted to Richmond College,Galle. He passed his Ordinary Level Exam in 1960 and Secondary level examination in 1962 with credits.

From a very young age he was fortunate to be in the company of political leaders. Among them were D. S. Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, Sir John Kotelawala and S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike. He gave straight answers to their questions. Since the time he was a child he helped his father D. A. Rajapaksa in his election campaigns.

Chamal used to place his hand on pieces of paper and draw around it with a piece of charcoal to get the image of the hand which was his father’s election symbol. Chamal saw how his father conducted the election campaign. The experience he gained thereby was a guideline for his own political future.

The socialist party leader Minister Vasudewa Nanayakkara was a teacher at Richmond College at that time and Chamal was guided by him.

Chamal was instrumental in forming the Mahinda–Richmond socialist students organization.

On completion of his advanced education Chamal joined the police force by entering the Sri Lanka police training college, Kalutara in 1963. He passed out as a sub-inspector of police in 1964 and took up duties at the Bandarawela police station.

In a letter from his father he remembers the words saying ‘even though the bees build a hive on a bitter tasting tree like Margosa (Kohomba) the honey produced does not taste bitter’, ‘likewise a child who grew up with a loving and caring family background will not change his good ways in whatever occupation he takes up and whoever he associates with’.

In 1972, he left the police force and joined the State Trading Cooperation (STC) as its Assistant General Manager.

During this period he met Chandra Malani Wijewardane and on the third of January 1975 they got married. The happy couple were blessed with two sons.

The present chief minister of the Uva Province and Basnayaka Nilame of the Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya, Shashindra Rajapaksa is the eldest son of Chamal and Chandra.

The second son, Shamindra Rajapaksa is a reputed engineer and administrator.

Chamal contested the Mulkirigala seat in the 1985’s by-election and lost. But in the election held in 1989 he succeeded in being elected to Parliament from the Tissamaharama electorate in 1994.

Through the years until today, he held positions as Deputy Minister of Agriculture (1998), Deputy Minister of Southern and Port Development (2000), Minister of Agriculture Development (2005), Minister of Irrigation and Water Management (2006), Minister of Ports, Aviation, Irrigation and Water Management (2007) and finally elected unanimously as the 19th Honourable Speaker of the seventh Parliament of Sri Lanka.

He took steps to develop the infrastructure and general living conditions of his constituents in every possible sphere.

The agriculture of the area was boosted by major irrigation projects like ‘Maw Ara’, Weheragala,Uma Oya, Walawe left bank and Kakiri Obada.

He was instrumental in setting up a coconut research station at Middeniya.The ‘Bata Atha’ Technical Park of Agriculture, Mayurapura post harvest development unit at Waligatha Magampura, Fisheries were developed by providing boats, nets and other equipment at concessionary rates. Also constructing the fish market, rest-rooms and ice-plant in Hambantota and developing the Kirinda, Kudawaella, Welipatanvi and Kalamatiya fisheries harbours were historical. The Vocational training centre at Bandagiriya was also established at this time.

As the chairman of the district development committee of Hambantota he took steps to accelerate the development of Tissamaharama, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota new town, Weeraketiya, Angunukolapelassa, Ambalantota and Walasmulla towns. Hundreds of kilometers of roads were carpeted as well.

The ‘Ran-Eliwata’ and ‘Kusum Niwasa’ are also two housing projects which received his blessings.

The construction of the Tzu chi National School in Hambantota, the Ruhunu Wijayaba College in Beliatta along with the ‘Sisura’ educational scholarship scheme funded by the D. A. Rajapaksa foundation are some of the educational development projects which received the guidance of Chamal Rajapaksa for the betterment of children’s education.

The Hambantota District Hospital which had only four resident doctors at one time was upgraded to a Base Hospital with more than 200 doctors and ultra modern equipment and facilities.

Rural hospitals in Kirinda, Debarawewa, Ambalantota, Lunugamwehera, Sooriyawewa, Beragama were modernized. More than 200 nurses pass out from the Nurses Training College annually in Hambantota are some of the projects initiated to uplift the health sector in the area.

The new court complex in Hambantota, the oil refinery, garment factories in Weerawila and the industrial Zone in Hambantota will come into operation in the near future.

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 port would create over 300,000 job opportunities direct and indirect and help overcome poverty in Giruwapatthuwa 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.

Leonard Wolf’s book ‘BEDDEGAMA’ - ‘The village in the jungle’ reveal the tale of the woes where humans struggled for survival. But that land is now fully developed.

Hambantota will be a leading economic hub, not only to Sri Lanka but to the whole of the South East Asia with the development of the Magampura habour and airport at Mattala.

There are two categories of politicians. Those who become popular due to politics belong to the first category and the second are those who popularize politics for the welfare of the masses with the intention of helping them.They are rare and unique.

This is particularly true of him.

Dear Mr. Speaker, The true dearest shadow of H.E.’

On this 71st birthday of yours we wish you long life, good health and strength to see the people and country reaping the benefits of all these projects you have initiated.

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