Mr. H.M.C. Kapilaratne, who was secretary to the Minister of Agricultural Research and Development until 1999, passed away on August 5, 2019 after a brief illness, at his residence. He was 80 years old.
Mr. Kapilaratne after his graduation in 1963 at the Peradeniya University, sat for the Competitive Examination of the Ceylon Administrative Service held in 1964 with success.
He first served as the Divisional Revenue Officer in Kebithigollewa in the Anuradhapura district, under a very senior servant Mr. Mahinda Silva, the Government Agent. Later when
Mr. Silva was appointed as the Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Mr. Kapilaratne was appointed as an Assistant Secretary in the Ministry. Later he was taken in to the Development Division of this ministry as an Assistant Director to speed up activities in that division. When Mr. Kapilaratne passed the 2nd examination, he was promoted as a
Deputy Director. Thereafter on Mr. Silva’s recommendation he was sent to England to follow a course on Development at the Cambridge University. On his arrival from Cambridge, he was promoted as
Mr. Kapilaratne was a unique personality. He loved to read books on a variety of subjects with great enthusiasm. In office, at lunch time and during tea intervals he utilised his time mostly for reading. He could read fast and absorb the contents. He was an excellent officer who could solve any administrative problem with ease. There were seven departments and fourteen corporations coming under this ministry and the heads and senior officers of these organizations always sought assistance and advice from Mr. Kapilaratne. He was very popular and commanded respect from the senior officers.
With the change of government in 1977, Mr. Silva retired from service. Later Mr. Ranjan Wijerathne was appointed as Secretary. Mr. Kapilaratne played a key role in establishing the Agricultural Development Authority by providing accommodation, office equipment, staff and other amenities. Mr. Kapilaratne was again selected to follow a course of Training in Florida in USA, under US aid.
Mr. Wijerathne, while being secretary, held Chairmanship of five corporations. Namely ADA, LRC, Livestock Development Board, Pelawatta Sugar Corporation and SL Sugar Corporation. Whenever there was a problem, the papers were referred to Mr. Kapilaratne for expeditious solutions. Mr. Kapilaratne being a knowledgeable and well - read person was capable of handling any knotty problem. Mr. Wijerathne trusted him and depended on his findings and recommendations. Thereby the prestige of the Ministry, departments and corporations reached new heights.
Mr. Ranjan Wijerathne was an efficient gentleman in every sense of word, and when he resigned from the post to accept a higher post, Mr. D.M. Ariyarathne a very senior officer was appointed as the secretary of the M/AD&R. After his retirement, Mr. Kapilaratne, the most deserving man, was appointed as the secretary to the Ministry of AD&R.
As secretary in the new ministry, he showed efficiency in many ways. The Department of Agriculture and Agrarian Services always sought his advice and guidance in controversial issues. Mr. Kapilaratne with his vast agricultural knowledge (1970 – 1995) and experience could solve many problems without referring to the minister. He was an asset.
Mr. Kapilaratne was a soft - spoken man, always wore a smile, never got angry and never had a long face. He was helpful to senior officers, minor staff and to anybody who sought help, even in private matters. He worked long hours in office. He was a gentleman with a good reputation. He never stooped down to bribery or corruption. He was such a kind-hearted person who disliked punishments, but believed in rehabilitation of the wrong doers.
He never sought political favours in his entire career.
In conclusion, I wish to mention that my good friend was a simple man who lived contently without any prejudice or malice to anyone. He was a staunch Buddhist who observed the principles of Dhamma daily. To my knowledge, he never broke the five precepts and lived an exemplary Buddhist life. He was my “Kalyana Mithra” always forgiving, always supporting and strengthening. He was loyal to his family, educated his children and maintained a good relationship with his associates. He excellently completed his tour of duty as a true son of
May he attain the supreme bless