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World Heritage site Galle Fort under threat?

World Heritage site Galle Fort under threat?

Written by Lahiru Fernando

19 Nov, 2017 | 10:05 pm

Galle Fort, a prime tourist destination and a location of historic value -it is also named as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

To anyone who visit the fort, it’s a trip back in time to the colonial days, standing among historic buildings which stand tall with pride and unspeakable beauty.

The Galle Fort is an outstanding example of the type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history, says UNESCO.

Given that, why is the Government requesting 15 government institutions functioning inside the Fort to move out?

According to reports published by the Sunday Times newspaper, the process is being carried out without proper consultation.

The newspaper says that the buildings which have been asked to be cleared include;

  • All Saints’ College
  • Galle Fort Post Office
  • Bank of Ceylon Office on Hospital Street

All Saints’ College

Past pupils of the College are protesting against the request, saying it has been carried out without consultation.

“They are trying to move All Saints College based on the whims and fancies of one or two people. We oppose the decision of the government. Without proper discussions with the parents and the past pupils we will not let this school be removed in an arbitrary manner. ” – Saman Kaluarachchi (Secretary – School Development Committee)

Meanwhile Dhammika Wijayasinghe has written to the Education Ministry and the Department of Archaeology -raising concerns over this move.

Wijayasinghe is the Secretary General of Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO

The letter notes that the action has been taken without proper consultation of the Department of Archaeology, the Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO or the line Ministry.

According to the Sunday Times, there has been no response from either.

“Government institutions were only being shifted because they were unable to maintain the edifices to required standards.” reported The Sunday Times, quoting a source from Prime Minister’s office

The source had said “They will be renovated. It will be decided later what will be done with the space.”

However, Archaeologists told News 1st that if the renovation and eviction is carried out without proper consultation and planning, “the project will be doomed to fail.”

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