The Kankesanthurai Cement Factory; monument to Joseph Jayamanne
Posted on April 19th, 2010

Mario Perera, Kadawata

The following information in InfoLanka caught my eye.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ (Colombo Lankapuvath April 19) The Cement Factory in Kannkasanthurai (KKS) may probably begin within next few months.

The factory was closed for the last 30 years due to terrorist activities in the area.

Preliminary steps have been completed under the directive of the pioneer of the Uthuru Vasanthaya program on the guidance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to recommence the factory and that renovation work has commenced said Jaffna Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe.

Jobs to around 3,000 persons would be provided with its operations on track again and it was mentioned that productions may start within the next few months.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ On the 6th October 1987 Mr.Joseph Jayamanne brilliant Mechanical Engineer and General Manager of Lanka Cement was brutally abducted together with his Deputy Mr.Gajanayake by the barbarous LTTE, and taken to the entrance of the above mentioned cement factory.They were still in their night clothing, their sarongs. There at that entranceƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ they were shot through their foreheads and left dead.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ This episode is mentioned in the book “The Broken Palmyrah” authored by a group of Tamil intellectuals and academics. The book refers to Joseph Jayamanne as a veryƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ capable and enthusiastic engineer. It also mentions Mr.Jayamanne’s concern and attachment to his Tamil staff and work force of the factory, and his successful efforts at a difficult period to ensure that they were paid their dues. The book goes on to narrate the anger of the Tamil staff at the senseless murder of this great man, and of their helplessness and despair subsequent to his tragic demise.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Joseph Jayamanne was the Project Manager of the Kankesanthurai Cement Factory. He was its builder. He also built the present Kankesanthurai harbour, several military installations of the north, as well as the Harbour View Hotel. The army commander of that time, General Cyril Ranatunga bore testimony to these facts.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Mr Jayamanne spent several years in Jaffna totally devoted to his tasks, which meant neglecting his youngƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ family at Eldeniya, Kadawata. The news of his murder spread like wild fire and occupied the headlines of the newspapers. Some articles highlighted his great love and esteem for the Tamil people and expressed utter disbelief about the fate he suffered. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The Minister of Defence Mr.Lalith Athulathmudali sent a personal message of sympathies while, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe as well as Mr.Somaratne, Chairman of the Cement CorporationƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ visited his home and expressed their grief and condoleances. Mr.Somaratne paid high tribute to this selfless and dedicated man. A great number of distinguished visitors thronged his home for the memorial service. The LTTE had reportedly burnt his body so that not a stitch of his clothing came home for burial.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Now that the factory is going to be relaunched, I wish to make a plea to His Excellency the President on behalf of the family of the late Mr.Joseph Jayamanne, that his statue be constructed and placed on the factory premises as a symbol of his preponderant role in the planning and construction of the Kankesanthurai Cement Factory, and theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ supreme sacrifice he made ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and the TamilƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ population.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Mario Perera,

6 Responses to “The Kankesanthurai Cement Factory; monument to Joseph Jayamanne”

  1. Sita Perera Says:

    May He Attain Nibbana

  2. Kit Athul Says:

    Mario, excellent idea. Please try to get a petition on to Lanka Web so the readers can sign. May be some thing like survey monkey. Then tell the family to take it to the HE MR and I am sure he will help your idea. If the survey is there I will get few people to sign it. Good Luck. Kit Athul, Florida, USA



    This is an excellent write up. It is more important to me because I started my Engineering career or to tell you frankly the ‘honeymoon’of an engineer’s life , in 1980, attached to the KKS Cement Factory under the guidance of this Great Hero Mr. Jajamanna.
    I usually read Lanka news and thought of leaving some great memories then to support your letter.

    We were so lucky to work under this Sri Lankan Maestro Engineer along with my Tamil batch mates nearly 47 who were all of them absorbed to the KKS Stage- 3 Project in 1980. I had my first field experience there & I learned a host of skills & other behavioral engineering aspects such as punctuality, business acumen, attentiveness, co- team working, working with superiors such as mr Jananayagam,Mr Ranjithabalan all of them were Senior Engineers wored with Mr Jayamanna ..etc. I am not sure I have ever met such a talentful engineer in my life.

    As a team leader in PERA University who was well supported by Tamil friends in student elections, I had a great exposure to the Tamil culture during my stay in KKS with mostly the homes & families of my batch mates Vithagapandithan,Ghnana.and many more.

    I wish to place on records that it is high time to contemplate where we all had gone wrong especially the lethargic attitude of Sinhalese community towards Tamil thoughts. If this would have been resurrected early in 50s we could have gained a continued service of this hero & other intellectuals who are no more due to the trivial war. I do not know whose fault is this but surely, I know it is high time to wipe out the word of ‘extremism’ from our glossary. This is my message to Sinhalese & Tamil friends.

    I am happy that I involved in the same KKS project in 1982 as a mechanical engineer at a premier engineering company named Samuels,who undertook a substantial amount of fabrication contracts such as Clinker screw conveyors. Mr Jayamanna did not hesitate to award this contract to local companies whilst ignoring huge thrusts form the mother German company, thus saving vast amount of foreign exchange.

    In addition, Most of senior engineers are back to Jaffna after 20 years & once again, I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Mr Jananayagam on a hygienic Palmyra treacle ,value addition project in Jaffna.

    Although I am now 56 years I feel I have some synergy in me a & wish to go back to Jaffna, my second home town ,of course with some new fabrication technology through my own company & stay there even. I am also invited for some environmental solution projects in Jaffna already, as CEA consultants & KKS Cement is money spinning project & a bless to my Jaffna friends.

    Mario,We should immediately attend to their needs to heal this 50 years old wound . I really don’t know the governing politicians ideologies but even if their decisions are sour to Sinhalese we all have to push our thoughts through otherwise there will not be a country when we next born according to Buddhism in Sri Lanka & for our next generations.

  4. Sita Perera Says:

    “wish to place on records that it is high time to contemplate where we all had gone wrong especially the lethargic attitude of Sinhalese community towards Tamil thoughts.”

    Upali please get rid of this crap ideology. We have not done any harm to Tamils.


    I do not agree with you. I cannot write here how we governed the Jaffna peninsula in 80 s. Have you forgotten the Jaffna Library fire?


    Sita ,

    visits and experiences in Jaffna
    Posted on April 22nd, 2010
    by Lt Col (Retd) Anil Amarasekera

    Sita,I would like to have your comments on this-

    ” However the demand for a separate state put forward by Tamil chauvinists such as S.J.V.Chelvanayakam was seen to gain ground by 1978, during the latter stages of my service period in Jaffna. This was partly due to the mistakes made by power hungry politicians from both the Sinhala and Tamil communities and partly due to the inability of the Police and the Security Forces to win over the hearts and minds of the Tamil population in Jaffna.

    One good example with regard to the inability of the Army to win the hearts and minds of the Tamil population will be illustrated by one of my own personal experiences when I was the Detachment Commander of Mathakal. I had dispatched a section of soldiers under a sergeant with specific instructions to establish a road block to apprehend a vehicle transporting smuggled items. On my way to the road block to check if it had been established at the correct road junction, I encountered some Tamil civilians carrying bicycles on their shoulders. When questioned as to why they were doing so, I was informed by them that the Army soldiers at the road junction had ordered them to carry the bicycles home on their shoulders for cycling in the night without lights. I instructed them to remount their bicycles and to ride back home. When the sergeant was questioned by me in this regard, he informed me that he had given those civilians the same punishment that the Police usually give them. I had to warn him never to repeat that kind of action, as TAFFII duty was very different from Traffic Police duty, which we had no mandate to perform.

    A bicycle after all is a way of life in the Jaffna peninsula. In the early seventies hub dynamos for bicycles were not freely available. Therefore the dynamo for the bicycle headlight had to be powered by attaching it to the side of the bicycle tyre. As a result the side of the tyre wore out fast. The thrifty Jaffna man used his dynamo very sparingly to get the maximum mileage from his bicycle tyre. Knowing this mentality of the Jaffna man the Police and the Army should have taken a more understanding attitude without giving harsh punishment for such trivial offences. If the Police and the Army had been friendlier towards the people of Jaffna and had they been able to win their hearts and minds, it would have been difficult if not impossible for separatist and terrorist organizations to win support and acceptance from the Tamil people in the Jaffna peninsula.

    Power hungry Tamil politicians who propagated separatist ideology misled the Tamil people to a false belief that they would be better off if a separate Tamil state of Eelam could be established by amalgamating the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka

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