February 14, 2020
Construction work of ‘Sandahiru Seya’ is to be expedited with added labour in keeping with professional standards on instructions of Defence Secretary Maj.Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne.
The Secretary said that he had received instruction from the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to see the completion of the ‘Chethiya’ first for the worship of devotees and then touch upon outer structures and carving.
‘This would be the fourth largest dagoba in the country when completed and it has picked up speed after a momentary halt since I assumed the office. Maintain that momentum to achieve the desired target on time,’ said Maj. Gen. Gunaratne when he met a section of officers involved in construction of ‘Sandahiru Seya during a progress review meeting at the ministry, Thursday (13).
Submitting a detailed overview of the construction work, the project officials informed Maj. Gen. Gunaratne that since the last progress review meeting held last month, they were able to add more than two feet to the height of this mamoth structure in less than one month.
Referring to his involvement in the ‘Sandahiru Seya’ project, Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said he was among the firsts to break the ground for the dagoba project and to deposit sacred treasures together with several Buddhist monks.
He further revealed that old ‘Chuda Manikya’ or the Crest-Gem of Ruwanweli Seya had been presented to be placed on the Sandahiru Seya.
‘That Crest-Gem will be taken round the country for the veneration of public before being placed on the new dagoba,’ the Secretary said.
Asking the officials to carry out their work in accordance with recommendations and advice of the board of intellectuals, Maj. Gen Gunaratne instructed them to adhere to traditional methods of chethiya construction and ensure all materials used for construction should conform with set standards.
Sandahiru Seya construction was initiated under the directives of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in appreciation of the noble service rendered by the Security Forces and Police personnel to rid the country of terrorism. Once completed it would be 285 feet in height and 255 feet in width making it the fourth largest dagoba in the island.
Ven. Ellawala Medananda Thera, Director General of Central Cultural Fund Prof. Gamini Adhikari, Prof. Nihal De Silva, Prof. P.B. Mandawala, Commander Security Force Headquarters (Wanni) Maj. Gen. Rohitha Dharmasiri, General Officer Commanding 21 Division Maj. Gen. Kumar Jayapathirana and officials from the State Engineering Cooperation and other line agencies were also present at the discussion.