Walking path on Parakrama Samudra endangers ancient reservoir
The Maha Sangha on Friday took a stand against the possible destruction of the bund of the historic Parakrama Samudra, endangered by the construction of a new walking path.
Bhikkhus from multiple temples across the Polonnaruwa District made their way to the construction site on Friday (27) morning to witness for themselves the danger to an ancient water conservation system.
Monks representing all three chapters in the District attended the protest demanding the government to suspend the project of constructing a 1.7 km walking path on the bund of the tank.
Adhikarana Sangha Nayake of the North Central Province and Chief Incumbent of the Polonnaruwa Kaduruwela Jayanthi Vihara Ven Kaduruwella Dhammapala thero said the bund of the ancient Parakrama Samudraya was being bulldozed for the construction of this path.
Bulldozers were being used to dump rocks off the bund into the reservoir to construct a new walking path around the ancient water system. This eight-foot wide walkway would extend 1.7 kms. from the Divisional Secretary’s official residence to the D. S. Senanayake memorial at the Number 01 Sluice Gate.
The project proposal came from the Urban Development Authority and construction is estimated to cost Rs. 34 million.
Polonnaruwa Deputy Sanghanayake chief incumbent of Pulasthigama Sri Sakayabimbarama, Ven Yatihalagala Upatissa Thero said that the farmers in the area have pointed out that the construction will inevitably damage the reservoir.
He said that the massive 116,000-acre-feet of water that the reservoir holds, is protected by the bund and area residents point out that during certain seasons with the increase in winds speeds, it stays firm against almost ocean wave-like movements.
Water has become the most vital component for the existence of human beings, animals, and the plantation.
“Even the great King Parakramabahu who ruled the country for 33 years from 1153 AD- 1186 AD asked his countrymen to use water sparingly.
History reveals that King Parakramabahu had made an immense contribution towards the agricultural economy in the country and the Parakrama Samudra was his greatest ever contribution to the people of Sri Lanka,” Ven Upatissa Thero said.
The Bhikkhus dispersed after Polonnaruwa District Secretariat WA Dharamsiri and Irrigation Department officials visited the protesting monks and pledged that they would suspend the project until a further review meeting attended by all stakeholders were held.
(Source: The Island – Text and Pix By Karunaratne Gamage)
Nice to see so many Structural Engineers in Sri Lanka!
King Parackramabahu the great is not a just a former king in Sri Lanka.
Parackramasamudraya is not a reservoir.
King Parackrmabahu the great was philosopher and a great thinker who provided such assets and vision to Sri Lanka.
The Parachkarmasamudraya is our not just a tank ; it is our heritage, our culture and our vision and the proud of our nation.
Therefore, don’t blame and ridicule the Buddhists monks always. They are right in some cases.
There are many places in Polonnaruwa to construct a footpath if they want, but Rajapaksh regime wants to attach their hegemony to such heritages. The coward public servants approve whatever politicians want to do.
Agree with you absolutely, Bas.
This is just another white elephant to perpetuate names of the rulers.
i saw a video of the construction activity which shows the wreckage being caused to the bund.
Shameful, I say, disgusting.
I have a lot of sympathy for you since you belongs to the vast majority of Buddhist Sinhalese who has been made brain dead by upbringing that teaches not to question, not to improve , not think critically but to stuck in the past. You have used a lot of big words but, meaningless.
“King Parackramabahu the great is not a just a former king in Sri Lanka.
Parackramasamudraya is not a reservoir.”
Parakramabahu is a dead king of Sri lanka and Parakramasamudraya is a tank said to be made by him to provide water for irrigation, not to be worshipped by the future generations to come or not to improve.
“They are right in some cases.”. Yes they can be like anybody else being correct in some cases, Not this one. May be you can get one to explain by adding more rocks to the bund on the reservoir side how the bund get weakened, but the opposite. If at least they had the cunning and brain good enough to come up with the excuse that will reduce the holding capacity of the reservoir, that is pretty obvious, I would have some sympathy. Of course there are many places to built walk ways. But the purpose I believe, is it is built for the people going there to visit Parakrama samudraya to enjoy the environment and increase the numbers visiting with better facilities and very likely to prevent the damage to the real bund by large numbers of local and foreign tourists (and vehicles) damaging the original bund, while improving the local economy since these visitors spend at least on food, drinks, handicrafts and local produce.
What you and people similar to you telling is ” we cannot improve or do better. Things done in the past is the best. It has worked and as a result, as I mentioned in one of my previous post, we do not have 3 things to show we invented during the last 3 centauries and we are stagnating, rotting in the world among other nations. I am pretty sure if Parakramabahu had any philosophy and a wish that will be for future generations to improve what he did and do much more than he did, rather than worshipping his work.
You don’t need to be worried about me and my vision but see yourself. The original objective of this reservoir would be to provide water , but now most scholars have agreed that our traditional water bodies are not just for agriculture. They are integrated system of ecology, environment, economy and culture. That is in deed valid for Parackramasamudraya. There is no any demand from visitors or else any study has not recommended walking track. Everyday around 1000 of vehicles carrying rocks and sand travel on this band, that disturb visitors. If you provide an alternative road for these vehicles , no disturb for visitors. But these vehicles are of politicians and their supporters in Polonnaruwa. Now transport of sand and rocks has been band on Kanadarawa tank band. You don’t know any of these.
What happened is actually only a few politicians go for walks to the bund.
1. “, but now most scholars have agreed that our traditional water bodies are not just for agriculture. They are integrated system of ecology, environment, economy and culture.” – Name your source(s).
2. “There is no any demand from visitors or else any study has not recommended walking track.” – Name your studies.
Indra has missed two important points. 1. If they want a walking path built on the bunds of the lake, they can easily do it without removing the Riprap, (Ralapanava in sinhala) also known as rip rap, rip-rap, shot rock, rock armour, or rubble, which is human-placed rock or other material used to protect shoreline structures against scour and water, wave, They can easily build a walking path without disturbing the protection they already have.
2. The protections, modifications and any improvements should be done by the irrigation department. Why should we assign Urban Development Authority to initiate a project on an area where the responsibility of the place comes under the Irrigation Department.
I have not missed points, because I was talking about the basis . and the expertise of the monk. But I agree on the points you have mentioned, if they are true. Then the monks or anybody else should point these out clearly and get a court order to stop the work. In other countries, before even giving permission to alter an existing home in a built up area, there is a public consultation process. If it does not exist in Sri Lanka, it isl be a good reason to take up and fight for.
This is not an academic journal.
I mention here very obvious things.
However, I suggest you to read the assays , articles of C.M.Madduma Bandara, P.B.Darmasena and Mahinda Panapitiya on these issues.
If you need find their phone numbers and ring them, that is not difficult.
Thanks for at least bothering to point into some source.
I believe you understand and accept Mahaweli river was flowing in a different direction when the Parakramabahu samudraya and many other tanks were built. Therefore these tanks that are supplied or supplemented by the recent irrigation projects are not dependent on the factors that were important hundreds of years ago. It is not to say we should be cutting down the forest in catchment areas. Also, within the boundaries of this news article, I would appreciate if you can point how the factors mentioned in the Journal support the opinion against placing boulders on the reservoir side unless it is going to impede the flow of water to the smaller tanks fed. Also I will leave it to the readers of this forum to decide whether there is or is not a local tourist industry that has grown hundred or thousand fold after the end of 30 years of LTTE war, many local people (leaving the foreign tourists numbers behind) visiting these places now.