The success of the National Dengue Control Program Week – October 7 to 14, is directly related and/or rooted with the Urban Development Authority
Posted on November 10th, 2010

R. George Manuelpillai   Former Assistant Director, Ministry of Planning & Economic Affairs Colombo 05 

September 27, 2010
Hon. Mitripala Sirisena,
Minister of Health Affairs
Colombo

 You’re Excellency Mitripala Sirisena,

 Subject: The success of the National Dengue Control Program Week “”…” October 7 to 14, is directly related and/or rooted with the Urban Development Authority

 The Ministry of Health reserving dates to organise a National Dengue Control Program Week, concentrates mainly on cleaning up the environment that induces water stagnation points viz small pools of water, discarded pot, pans, tyres, open drains et al. the breeding areas are comparatively insignificant, as related to mosquito control..

 As compared to the Urban Development Authority UDA), which Authority is mandated by law to reserved/acquire thousands of acres of valuable agricultural paddy and/or Industrial Lands in the up-land areas, as water catchments/ponds to accommodate the storm/flood water collected in the area. The UDA prohibits the owners to use their land for any productive and/or Industrial Development.

 I don’t have to remind your Ministry that these man made artificial water ponds serve as  breeding ground for mosquitoes, flies, and other disease carrying microbes, causing dengue, malaria, chicken guinea and other infectious diseases.

 As a case study, I wish to remind your Ministry that nineteen hectares of Prime Property Land, located at a distance of Seven Miles from the Metropolitan City of Colombo, at Dalugama, Kelaniya, has been reserved by the UDA as a catchments/pond breeding infectious mosquitoes… Our family are the owners of the parcel of paddy land comprising of two roots and 28 perches. The UDA breeds these infectious mosquitoes in similar catchments/ponds established throughout the island.

 The success of the National Dengue Control Program Week will depend entirely on the legal actions taken by the Ministry of Health to introduce legislative regulations to prohibit the UDA from acquiring upland areas, reserved for Agricultural/Industrial development, since drainage is possible at the extremes, by providing pumping facilities to the sea. 

The Parliamentarians should be reminded that drainage of water in the upland areas is not a problem, except for the low lying lands by the coastal areas, similar to the Muthurajawella area. Moreover, Sri Lanka is blessed with adequate number of Rivers and the entire country (Island) is surrounded by sea, so drainage is a manageable problem.

 Moreover the Parliamentarians should be highlighted of the fact, that both in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA and in the suburbs of New Delhi these swampy march lands have been made productive by improving drainage. It is un-imaginable to observe that

these lands are now Industrialized and Prime Properties, giving rise to the construction and management of expensive High Rise Multi Storied Buildings, Super Markets et al.

 In conclusion, I write that the Ministry of Health should take religious steps to enact an Act in Parliament to prohibit the UDA from acquiring of upland Agricultural/Industrial areas to serve as storm/flood water ponds. Moreover, the Ministry should highlight the enormous cost factor involved in the control and cure of infectious diseases as compared to the purchase of water pumps to pump the excess water into the sea

 Soliciting your efforts to eliminate Dengue

 Yours sincerely

 R George Manuelpillai

Former Assistant Director, Ministry of Planning & Economic Affairs

 CC: 1. Hon. Wimal Weerawansa “”…” Minister of Construction & Engineering
2. Archt. Harshan de Silva, Chairman- Sri Lanka Land Reclamation &  Development Corporation
 3. Director General Projects UDA
 4. Editor Daily Mirror

 

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