Allow Less Affluent Pilgrims to Nagadeepa to Use the Facilities at Palali
Posted on February 22nd, 2010

Kumar Moses

After almost 30 years later the Nagadeepa Buddhist Vihara is open to the people. Nagadeepa is very special for Sri Lankan Buddhists as Lord Buddha visited this place around 2,500 years ago. The present large influx of pilgrims is historical. It symbolises the ending of racist demarcations imposed by the LTTE using terror and violence. It also symbolises people’s undying devotion and the determination to integrate. The fallacy of racial homelands is another manifestation. However, most pilgrims who are from less affluent sections of the society find it pretty bad in Jaffna where there are no decent facilities for outsiders. All such infrastructure got destroyed or neglected during the war.

Many of these pilgrims sleep on the stands of the Duraiappah Stadium. It is said that around 20 busloads of people get down at the Stadium every day. While they cook their own meals, the site seriously lacks basic facilities. Although the Jaffna Municipal Council does a good job in providing them with water, it’s hardly sufficient and the quality of water is not guaranteed. These pilgrims drink water without boiling and it poses a health risk not only to them but also to the resident population in Jaffna. To aggravate matters, they use paddy fields in Achchuveli as toilets.

The Palali army base has enough space for all of them to camp. It also has basic facilities. Using these facilities ensure hygienic conditions for all. Further, while it makes the pilgrimage more comfortable for the pilgrims, it also reduces the problems this large influx creates for Jaffna people. The Stadium and the paddy fields are certainly for different purposes.

As time goes by Jaffna will have commercial facilities at reasonable prices. Until then the government should ensure reasonable facilities for the good of everyone. Hopefully the Ministry of Defence will do the needful.

One Response to “Allow Less Affluent Pilgrims to Nagadeepa to Use the Facilities at Palali”

  1. thusitha Says:

    great idea. I wish our Mahanayaka theros instead of just eating and sleeping and trying to undermine the government do something useful. As Moshe has mentioned this would be a good step in the integration of Sinhalese and Tamil Communities. Therefore it would be grate if our defence teams help these pilgrims temporarily.

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