[APPRECIATIONS - (05-06-2018)] | Daily News

[APPRECIATIONS - (05-06-2018)]

W. T. J. S. Kaviratne

Outstanding journalist

Countless are the codes of conduct, charters and statements made by media and professional groups outlining the principles, values and obligations journalism, yet rare are the media personnel who uphold and practice such ethics.

Late W. T. J. S. Kaviratne, our senior journalist, was one such rare individual who advocated and followed the core principals of ethical journalism. He, at all times during his career in the public information sphere, aspired to be a responsible newsman and writer, mainly in print and electronic media.

However, Kaviratne, the veteran media man with loving and placid mannerism and conduct, is no longer with us. His sudden demise on Saturday (May 26) shocked us all, leaving eternal grief in our hearts and souls. He leaves behind his beloved wife, two daughters and son.

He served as the Lake House Ambalangoda Special Correspondent since 1977, chiefly contributing to the Daily News. He was a determined contributor to the newspaper, with a special aptitude in writing feature articles.

Kaviratne was also a popular and respected teacher of English who served at the Ambalangoda Devananda College for a long time.

As a journalist, late Kaviratne continually worked for the benefit of his fraternal journalists. He always struggled for the rights and privileges of his fellow media men and women, for which he formed the Southern Province United Journalists' Association. He was the founder president of the forum, which he held until his demise.

His funeral took place at the Batapola Public Cemetery on Monday (28), with the participation of a large number of people, including a host of regional politicians, community leaders and the media. The public, who came to know about the demise of this veteran journalist, came to his residence at Ilukpitiya, Batapola, in large numbers to pay their last respects.

Southern Provincial Councillor and Balapitiya United National Party (UNP) Chief Organiser Asoka Dhanwansa De Silva, delivering a funeral oration, said the demise of journalist Kaviratne was an intolerable loss for the public as he was a people’s media man who dedicated his life for the welfare of the public.

Late Kaviratne was a remarkable, public-spirited media personnel who instinctively worked for the unity and harmony among all communities in the country. He organised activities and events with the participation of other fellow journalists to promote goodwill, cooperation and mutual understanding among our diverse community, De Silva said.

He was an acclaimed journalist who won a number of accolades for his resourceful media contributions. I wish he attains the Supreme Bliss of Nibabana, he added.

Ambalangoda Devananda College Past Principal Dharmasiri Ginige, Media man Gnanadasa Ranmuthu and Sahsi Kaviratne also addressed the event.

Mahinda P. Liyanage, Galle Central Special Corr.


Ranasinghe Premadasa

An icon irreplaceable

Rare leader who introduced the 'Janasaviya' poverty alleviation programme for the downtrodden,

And the 'Sevana' foster parent programme, which transformed the destiny of many orphans

Bamboo gates were installed at unsafe railway crossings to ensure all's safety

Only leader to introduce terms and to bring them to reality

'Kepakaru Gammana' to enlist support of philanthropists; creative thinking,

Covering entire districts with the 'Gam Udawa' scheme; village reawakenings

A Religious Affairs Ministry was established for all religions in the country

'Gramodaya Mandalaya' for fostering unity and uplifting villages, was launched

For people begging on the streets, 'Mawathe Api' was commenced,

Free midday meals, school uniforms, textbooks and other essential items were supplied

Fifteen thousand villages for rural communities through the Presidential Mobile Service

Numerous development programmes were provided to our motherland by him

Original ideas, novel and creative thinking; divine ways unimaginable

Champion of the masses and held in high-esteem; an icon irreplaceable.

May you attain the Supreme Bliss Nirvana

Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon, Kelaniya


Kandiah Ganesh

Versatile public servant

I first made my acquaintance with Kandiah Ganesh in 2002, during the latter part of his public service career, which was early in mine. He was then, the Vavuniya Government Agent and I, the Presidential Spokesman for President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

Ganesh was one of the key officials who were instrumental in assisting the then newly-elected United National Party (UNP) coalition government to secure a ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and bring about a required respite from conflict and a five-year-long Norwegian-facilitated effort towards a negotiated conflict transformation.

Ganesh was no paper-pusher. Committed and hard-working, he went over and above the call of duty during the difficult period of the armed conflict, during which he served with distinction in the affected areas. He was a part of a small group of senior government officials, natives of the North, who carried out many programmes to ameliorate the suffering of civilians during the long civil conflict and to ensure them as much of a normal civilian life as possible, regardless of their plight.

I began to work closely with Ganesh since 2004, as the Director-General for Rehabilitation. With the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) in force, Ganesh, who was by then the Jaffna Government Agent, was my escort as well as translator during our working visits to the Vanni, which also entailed formal engagements with the LTTE under the CFA arrangements. After the boxing day Tsunami of December, 2004, Ganesh was a key official who facilitated the immediate humanitarian response into the then Uncleared/LTTE-controlled and Tsunami-affected Mullativu district as well as the subsequent rehabilitation process.

I was privileged to have worked again, closely with Ganesh, after the advent of the current Maithripala Sirisena/Ranil Wickremesinghe Administration in 2015, during what was his last public service position, when with special Cabinet approval, he was recalled from retirement and appointed Director-General of the Resettlement Authority, of which I was the Chairman. The Resettlement Authority was a key part of the resettlement of Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs), following the release of private lands held by the military after the elections of 2015.

Ganesh, with his intimate knowledge and long experience in the North, was invaluable in the resettlement process.

He had the unstinting support of the government officials in the North, all of whom were his juniors earlier and he was also widely-respected in the military and security establishment, with whom he had extensively dealt with on civilian and government affairs, during the period of the conflict.

Ganesh was part of a rare and possibly dying breed of senior public servants, who served in the best traditions of an apolitical and professional civil service; who was trusted by all sides of a polarised political society and who served selflessly and with integrity. He is an example for younger generations of civil servants to emulate and is certainly a hard act to follow.

Athma Saanthiyadeya!

Harim Peiris


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