Saturday, October 3, 2015

Our Rivers

Some years ago I remember walking around the campus and finding all the bridges were badly maintained including the Railway Bridge in Peradinya and Panideniya.
I decided to write up something on river basin management.
If I remember correct I send a draft to a English National Daily but they never bother to publish it or publish a similar article highlighting how Kandy as a district was neglected by politicians for the last 35 years or so.
The politicians past and present once they assume duties come to Kandy as a routine pilgrimage in a motorcade (now in helicopters) over these dilapidated bridges and do sweet nothing afterward. This cycle goes on ritualistically since they never get out of their cars or from their air conditioned rooms except for choreographed editions of their meeting of the electorate.
So I decided to publish them in the open, that means in the web.
Three years after that a shoddy job was done at Peradeniya Motor Bridge (nothing probably for Railway Bridge) and still the Peradeniya town is under threat due to earth slips. Most of these damages were initialed by heavy construction undertaken to construct telecommunication towers and some name boards in the hill above the Peradeniya town.
If one walks along the river side of botanical gardens cracks were visible on the road for decades but nobody took notice of all these symptoms and signs and the negligence by successive governments went on unabated. They provide lip service come elections and after that they move to Colombo and never come to Kandy even on December holidays.
Kandy had been a neglected city after the British left for good.
I have stated these observations based on my limited sphere of activity and everybody who is somebody should observe what is neglected in his or her sphere of activity and record and report them for the local government to act upon them.
But I cannot remember anybody acceding to my requests and comments.
However, I did not go into details of landslide since my understanding about is limited but my experience of it from childhood is enough to say the least.
I have seen part of the massive Ampitiya Uduwela landslide more than 50 years ago when many people left that village for elsewhere in fear.
Now in Kandy no place is safe.
In addition, during the Mahaveli Development the land reserves were divided among some of the kith and kin in public service and politics for a pittance and that also had encroached upon the river basin.
The management of the river basin was left to mother nature.
In addition heavy equipment used and detonation used over the past 30 years have even compromised heavy tension wire installations. They even remove the wires and reinforcement used to anchor the pillars. Enough damage is done one day high tension wires might even fall on our head nobody would give a damn.
Roughly a year ago Kandy train could not go past beyond Panideniya for three days due to stretch of the track above collapsing on to the drain. This part is still not fully serviced and the trains do go pass that point to Kandy daily.
I have decided to stop going by this train since one is not sure whether one would return safely home the same evening.
It is time we forget about Mega Projects and divert our attention at least to refurbished the existing infrastructure before they fall apart completely. This is how the public service is managed and it is getting worse by the season. There are so many ministries and there is no coordination to say the least.
The events that are unfolding in Kandy and around are due to lack of foresight and negligence by the authorities holding high posts.
This cycle will repeat ad lib!

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