Written by Zulfick Farzan
26 Aug, 2021 | 9:36 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); The breakwater of the ancient Parakrama Samudraya is being bulldozed for the construction of a walking path.
Video obtained by News 1st showed that bulldozers were being used to shove the rocks of the breakwater into the Parakrama Samudraya to construct a new walking path around the ancient water system.
This 08 feet wide walking path will cover a 1.7 km stretch from the Divisional Secretary Official Residence to the D. S. Senanayake memorial at the Number 01 Sluice Gate of the Parakrama Samudraya.
The proposal for this walking path was moved by the Urban Development Authority and construction will cost a whopping Rs. 34 million.
Farmers in the area point out that the construction will inevitably damage the reservoir.
This walking path is to be constructed along the interior section of the banks of the Parakarama Samudraya.
News 1st obtained footage of a JCB Backhoe-loader being used to push rocks along the breakwater of the Parakrama Samudraya into the water, to flatten the surface for an even walking path.
The massive 116,000-acre-feet of water that the Parakrama Samudraya holds is protected by the breakwater and area residents point out that during certain seasons with the increase in winds speeds, the breakwater stays firm against almost ocean wave-like currents.
Area residents further added that when heavy floods hit the area in 2013 the banks of the Parakrama Samudraya were at risk and sandbags were placed in an attempt to protect them.
Against such a backdrop they question the authorities on why the breakwater of the reservoir is being destroyed for the construction of a walking path.
The chairman of the Parakarama Samudraya agrarian organization said the project is taking place amidst the strong protests by the farming community.
The Director of Irrigation of the Polonnaruwa Zone L.M.W. Rathnasiri said the Urban Development Authority (UDA) had approved the proposal for the construction of this walking path and the green light was also given by the Department of Irrigation.
However, the farmers in Polonnaruwa point out that the leaders of their communities were silenced as the Department of Irrigation secured the contract to ruin the Parakrama Samudraya.
The District Secretary of Polonnaruwa W.A. Dharmasiri assured that the walking path project will not threaten or ruin the banks of the ancient water system.
He added that the Department of Agrarian Services and the Department of Archeology had also granted approval to this project and that the project was aimed at providing the necessary facilities to people who visit the banks of the reservoir daily.
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 industry in the country and the Parakrama Samudra was his greatest ever contribution to the people of Sri Lanka.
King Parakramabahu’s famous quote on water conservation and utilization “Do not release even a drop of rainwater to the sea without using it ” is still living in the hearts of the people.
This is sound advice to many present-day people who do not know the value of this nature’s gift.
This water system is so large it was called samudhraya or ocean.
In addition to that, strong winds cause swells in the Parakrama Samudraya, so large to the size of ocean waves.
It is this breakwater that has protected the water in the Parakrama Samudraya for centuries, without letting a drop of water go to waste.
The construction of a walking path clearly slaps an insult to the great knowledge that our ancestors possessed in creating such marvels that even stun today’s engineering giants.
Questions have been raised to who authorized such construction with a lack of understanding on the importance of the Parakrama Samudraya.
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