President opens new Army Hq | Daily News


Rs. 55 Bn state-of-the-art Defence complexes :

President opens new Army Hq

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday opened the ten-storied New Army Headquarters of the new combined Defence Headquarters Complex.  Picture shows the President unveiling the plaque at the building complex in the presence of State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene, Defence Secretary General Shantha Kottegoda and Tri Forces Commanders. Pictures by Rukmal Gamage and Sudath Silva
President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday opened the ten-storied New Army Headquarters of the new combined Defence Headquarters Complex. Picture shows the President unveiling the plaque at the building complex in the presence of State Defence Minister Ruw

The new Sri Lanka Army Headquarters complex at Akuregoda, Pelawatte, was declared open by President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday. The entire Defence Headquarters Complex which will eventually house the Ministry of Defence as well as the headquarters of the Army, Navy and Air Force, is regarded as the country’s largest building project to date. It is is situated on 77 acres in the Sri Jayawardanapura capital city area and, is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology and high-tech security systems.

The ceremony was attended by State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene, Defence Secretary General Shantha Kottegoda, Army Commander Lt. Gen.Shavendra Silva, Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sumangala Dias, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, Acting IGP C.D. Wickramaratne and many other distinguished guests.

The new Defence Headquarters building complex is estimated to cost around Rs.55 billion.

The ten-storied new Army Headquarters is housed in Blocks Nos. 6 & 7 of the new Defence Headquarters Complex with the Navy and Air Force wings due to be completed shortly.

The Army HQ precincts is supplemented with two helipads, accommodation facilities, vehicle parks, high standard restaurants, cafeterias and catering appliances, generators, water storage tanks, libraries, and all other facilities and is considered as the largest office building in Sri Lanka with office capacity for more than 4,000 personnel. The Ministry of Defence, office of the Chief of Defence Staff, Navy and Air Force Headquarters are also expected to move in here on a staggered basis once construction is brought to completion.

President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the gathering said the government had to spend Rs.42 million monthly as the rentals for Sri Lanka Army units since the original site of the Army Headquarters was allocated for a hotel project.

“However, the Sri Lanka Army headquarters was relocated to assist the process of converting Colombo city into a modern systematic and planned city,” he added.

The President added that the operation of the three headquarters of the Tri-Forces is significant since it can be considered as fruitful move for an advanced administrative process.

“The efficiency and productivity will definitely improve once all the three headquarters are functioning in the same location. However, due to the financial problems, the construction of the massive headquarters complexes for the three forces took time,” he said.

“Our Tri-Forces have been praised and recognised as lawful and disciplined forces. The dedication and devotion of the three forces were highly praised by the world and therefore our security personnel could participate in military missions of the United Nations,” the President further said.

The President assumed that the construction of Navy and Air-Force headquarter building complexes will be completed within the next two years.

President Sirisena highlighted the need of empowering civil construction units of the Security Forces to enhance a better service for the national development of the country since the quality, timeliness, good finish are high in the civil engineering works of Security Forces. Besides, the assistance and mediation of Security Forces can be utilised for many other sectors including the agriculture sector developments.

The President while speaking in the recent terror attack on Easter Sunday, said that the attack, which occurred due to the negligence of a few responsible personnel had prompted a serious discussion on aspects of national security.

Meanwhile, Army Commander Lt.Gen.Shavendra Silva commended the President’s dedicated commitment to this project as well as the contributions, made by Tri-Service engineering experts, state and private sector agencies for realization of the 10 storied project of magnificence. “At this memorable occasion, I vow that the troops in future too would continue to remain dedicated for defence of the country and her unitary status, sovereignty and territorial integrity while preserving their dignity and high standards of discipline,” the Commander assured.

Marking this significant event, the Sri Lanka Postal Department issued a first-day cover and a stamp. Both the first-day cover and the stamp were then presented to the President, State Minister of Defence, Secretary Defence and Tri-Service Commanders in succession by S. M Mohammed, Secretary to the Ministry of Post and Ranjith Abeyratne, Post Master General attending the event.

Two new Presidential Medals, ‘Sewabhimani Padakkama’ and ‘Sewa Padakkama ’ were awarded by the President, in recognition of unblemished conduct and service in the past 10 years after 2009. Both Medals relate to outstanding service of Tri-servicemen, Police Officers and Civil Staffers who have rendered a dedicated service post war towards the development of the country maintaining excellent conduct and commitment.

The President awarded the medals to representative recipients, including State Minister of Defence, Secretary Defence and Tri- Service Commanders.

The final item of the day’s proceedings included planting of saplings in the precincts by the President and the Commander of the Army respectively, before the group photos.

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