Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre:
Fortifying friendly relations between Sri Lanka and China
President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda
Rajapaksa theatre on Friday
How can a father describe his happiness on the day his son followed
his footsteps? It is a priceless gift from a son to a father and who
else can be proud of a son’s achievement, other than his parents? On
December 15, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was unable to express how happy
he was. His charming smile and warm hug for his Loku putha showed it
all. More than the young Parliamentarian Lakshman Namal Rajapaksa being
exuberant over the achievement, the happiness it brought to his
thaththa, the moment he took oaths as a lawyer was immeasurable.
It reminded the President of the day he took oaths as a lawyer and he
was spellbound. His eyes filled with immense love and he expressed how
happy he was. It is yet another day that a dream of President Rajapaksa
became a reality.
At an auspicious time MP Rajapaksa took oaths as an attorney-at-law
before a three-judge Supreme Court Bench, comprising Chief Justice Dr.
Shirani A. Bandaranayake, Justice Nimal Gamini Amaratunga and Justice
Suresh Chandra. Like the mothers in the rest of the world, his mother,
First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, who is always behind her three young
sons, silently enjoyed the happiness of her elderst son’s achievement.
The event was witnessed by his two brothers Yoshitha and Rohitha,
uncles Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya
Rajapaksa and Cabinet Ministers at the ceremonial sitting of the Supreme
Court. After taking oaths, he got the blessings of his parents, who were
seated in the front row of the Ceremonial Court premises and he
Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre
The ‘Lotus Pond’ bloomed with flowers. Beautifully illuminated in a
pond, the Lotus, which showed its glamour was gifted by the Chinese
people, who are long-standing friends of Sri Lanka. “The tragedy that
was staged in our motherland for thirty years is now over.
The era of woe and grief is over. An era of a revival of theatre has
come”, said President Rajapaksa at the inauguration ceremony on Thursday
afternoon of the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, which is the
largest in Sri Lanka and South East Asia. Constructed with expertise
from China at a cost of Rs.3.08 billion, and gifted by the People’s
Republic of China, the Theatre was opened by President and Zhang
Meiying, Vice Chairwoman of the National Committee of the Chinese
People’s Political Consultative Conference of the People’s Republic of
China. The seven-storied open theatre modelled after the Nelum Pokuna
(Lotus Pond) in Polonnaruwa is a gift from China to fortify friendly
relations between the two countries.
The Theatre houses three galleries enabling to host three
performances simultaneously and an open air theatre on the top floor.
The main spectators’ gallery can seat 1,288 people. The three-tier
movable stage operated electrically can even accommodate a motor vehicle
on stage and is equipped with ultra-modern equipment and hi-tech audio
and video technology.
It will have facilities to conduct educational and research
activities. “If a theatre like this had been constructed several decades
ago, a large number of artistic productions might have been possible.
A great citizen does not simply emerge. Such a personality needs to
entail the potential for delight and wisdom”, he said while expressing
his gratitude to the Government of China for gifting this Theatre to Sri
Lanka with the purpose of improving the imaginative power,
self-confidence and self-discipline of the nation’s children.
He called attention to the physical and spiritual development among
people and said it would help build a generation who can withstand any
challenge in the future. Perception and self-discipline are integral
parts of spiritual development. The country created the Samadhi Buddha
statue in Anuradhapura when the Chinese were building the Great Wall.
When China introduced printing technology to the world, Sri Lanka began
writing Dhamma books,” he said.
The President also spoke about the Rubber-Rice Pact which was signed
between Sri Lanka and China in the 1950s.
He said the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall and the
Supreme Court complex, symbolise the everlasting friendship between the
two countries. “China always stands by Sri Lanka in times of need.” He
said the support extended by China to protect the country’s sovereignty,
independence, and honour is immense.
He recollected how Chinese leaders promised support for the
Hambantota Harbour Project, Norochcholai Coal Power Plant Project and
the Performing Arts Theatre during his maiden visit to China as
The people of Sri Lanka have been waiting for these projects, he
said. He thanked the government and the people of China for gifting this
theatre to Sri Lankans.
“If this type of theatre was built some time back, a number of high
quality artistic creations could have evolved. Sri Lanka is engaged in a
mission to construct ports, airports and power plants to ensure that
people receive all facilities,” he said. The President, who met
representatives of traders and farmers unions held at Temple Trees on
Wednesday had taken action to temporarily suspend the newly introduced
system in transporting fruits and vegetables in plastic crates for a
month. This new regulation introduced in transportation of fresh produce
caused islandwide protests.
Govi Upahara 2011
Addressing ‘Mahaweli Govi Upahara – 2011’, the annual Mahaweli farmer
felicitation ceremony recognise the contribution made by Mahaweli
farmers to the country’s prosperity and economy.
President Rajapaksa said the local farmer community in Sri Lanka
could successfully face the challenges of a global food crisis.
Explaining the decisions taken by the government to uplift the living
standards of farmers and the agricultural sector, the President said
local farmers contribute to fulfil food necessities of Sri Lankans
amidst various hardships. He said the government spends more than Rs.50
billion per year on a fertiliser subsidy as the government considers it
as an investment.
In particular, the contribution of Mahaweli farmers to agricultural
development in the country deserves special mention, said President
Mahinda Rajapaksa. In one era, some questioned as to why agriculture was
necessary, and during that time, suggestions were made to fill up paddy
fields, erect buildings and establish industries, he said adding that no
money was allocated to irrigation development.
He said that ‘the Mahaweli Authority’ which comes under his purview
was not only concentrating on assisting farmers to boost their
agricultural production, but was also looking to boost the moral and
spiritual uplift of the people in the Mahaweli region. He pointed out
that the Mahinda Chinthana does not concentrate only on a person’s
physical development but also on spiritual and morale uplift. He said
that the Mahaweli Authority will also be working towards helping farmers
to get rid of alcohol and tobacco use as well as other abuses.
The construction of the first container terminal of the Colombo South
harbour under the project on the expansion of the Colombo harbour was
inaugurated by President Rajapaksa on Friday. The terminal will be the
first of the four 1200-metre long container terminals of the port. Each
of these terminals will have the capacity of 2.4 million TEUs. The
construction of the initial 600 metres of the terminal will be completed
by 2014, says the Ports Authority.
The rest of the construction will be completed in November 2016.
Colombo South Harbour will be located west of the present south-west
Breakwater in an area of approximately 600 hectares.
The proposed harbour will have four terminals of over 1,200m in
length each to accommodate three berths with depths of 18m and provision
to deepen to 23m to accommodate deeper draft vessels in future.