Walking amidst the Splendour of Nature
By Prabhath Atapattu
The walking path in Battaramulla has attracted many health-conscious people from different areas
It is an eye-catching scene especially in the dawn and dusk along the route that leads from the Environment Authority to the Army Headquarters in Battaramulla; young and old citizens of Sri Lanka clad in sports attire jogging and engaging in physical exercises for a healthy physique. Developing the concept of the contemporary leaders of the country to build a healthy nation, the Army-maintained jogging path under the shade of indigenous herbal trees is open for the people from all strata.
Not only the people close by but also the ones far away have made it a part and parcel of their daily routine to come with their family members for recreation. The surrounding paddy fields, once an unattended breeding ground for mosquitoes and serpents, have become a treasure trove of cultivation for paddy and minor crops thanks to the untiring efforts of dedicated soldiers under the guidance of professionals.
The canals and water streams around the area have become operational and a home for amphibians and freshwater fishes. Prominence has been given to the natural environment. This mega task Thuru Mithuru Nawa Ratak (Tree-friendly New Country) was implemented in line with the policy statement of the President Saubhagye Dekma (Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour) for the use of citizens irrespective of their social backgrounds. Thuru Mithuru Nawa Ratak was carried out under a few phases. Initially, some saplings were planted on both sides of the road which leads to the Army Headquarters and simultaneously a 12- acre abandoned paddy land adjacent to the Army Headquarters was brought under the plough. The construction of the 2.6 kilometres-long jogging path around the paddy land was the next step. Under the instructions of Army Commander General Shavendra Siva, the dream of an outdoor mega gymnasium with a children’s park became a reality in a very short period. Presently, people of all ages benefit from the modern sports utilities. There are three zones for physical training with accessories in a pleasant panoramic view.
The Government’s environment-friendly green project concept for urban forests, green paths, green roofs and agroforestry systems for a healthy nation is empowered by the Army. A few users of the walking path commented with a spontaneous overflow of genuine feelings about the revolutionary change of their surrounding and facilities provided by the defenders of the nation. Their comments encouraged those who engaged in this task. A female teacher who used the walking track admired what she enjoyed, “I am Mishra Khan from Kollupitiya. I visited my sister and she drove me a walk and that is why I am here today. I think that the Army is doing a fantastic job. The place and pace here is lovely. I think everyone is very health conscious. This is a really great initiative. The atmosphere is wonderful and everyone is obtaining the maximum use of this. To be honest they have done a very fantastic job and especially Army Commander General Shavendra Silva.”
She added, “because of him we are being updated on what is happening in the country and I think we are one of the very few countries in the world that has been able to handle the COVID-19 pandemic well and he is in the forefront. As a citizen I highly appreciate that.”
The miracle of transforming a barren and marshy land into an agricultural land with beautiful ponds is a result of adhering to the motto ‘Nothing is Impossible’ of the military leadership. Empowering the Government’s policy of reforestation and beautification of the country’s urban and semi-urban areas with modern facilities to fulfil the requirements of the people, the Sri Lanka Army under its Thuru Mithuru Nawa Ratak programme has implemented a series of development projects covering the whole country.
Another resident of Battaramulla walking along the jogging path with his spouse and two children expressed his views regarding the facilities enjoyed by them.
“I am an executive officer in a Government department. I am busy round the clock with my official work. This is actually a dream for me to use this walking path and sports equipment in an excellent friendly environment. I highly appreciate the service of physical training instructors deployed in the area, free of charge. I thank General Shavendra Silva and the Army for his initiative to make all these things available for us. I come to the walking track with my family. I highly appreciate the President’s effort of building a healthy nation.” Commenting further, he said, “I am a frequent traveller. I have seen hundreds of jogging tracks in various countries. I think this is the best place. This walking track and the environment are excellent.”
Health, be it mental or physical is a prerequisite for living a good and fruitful life. Buoyant health together with a strong mind brings happiness, pleasure and contentment. Keeping it in mind the contemporary society is highly concerned about maintaining good health. A healthy nation is always a blessing for development. Realizing it as a most important fact, the Government gives pride of place to uplift the health condition of its nation. The Government has commenced a number of projects providing infrastructure to the people since education and health are both long-term investments. Infrastructure facilities such as well-equipped jogging paths, gymnasiums and the service of qualified physical training instructors for the public in spite of the expenses, can be considered as a genuine effort taken on behalf of the people.
The people of this country are fortunate enough to tread on the threshold of a bright future. The Sri Lanka Army has extended its fullest support to the Government to materialize future goals.
The people of this country have been enjoying the freedom with their family members in a secured environment. It is apparent that at any time of the day, they can have pleasure with utmost freedom with their family members in a well-secured atmosphere. They have understood the reality and lined up with the country’s leadership. The Sri Lanka Army, keeping its ultimate vision of giving priority to National Security, is committed to contributing to the Government’s plan of reforestation in urban and semi-urban areas to build green cities. The aim is to beautify the cities while providing infrastructure to the people. The Army has already started planting 100,000 saplings all over the country in order to increase the forest density and beautify the cities under its mega reforestation drive.
The dream of every citizen of this Pearl of the Indian Ocean to enjoy the freedom and security blended with pleasure in a peaceful and prosperous environment has come true. Parents with their children, young and old, can be seen moving in groups with an utmost feeling of safety in this leisure area. Though the memories of the past are still living in the minds of the people, it will fade away with the dawn of the new era.
Courtesy : www.dailynews.lk