We keep making blunders
Posted on July 31st, 2019

Dr. Sarath Obeysekera

That day I was passing by the SLLRDC office( now letter R” dropped) to give a better definition to Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation hitherto earlier called Low Lying Development Board.

I fully agree with their thinking as Reclamation is not a very environmentally friendly and good name to be linked to this organization which has done omen service to the city.

I hail there forward-thinking

I headed the same outfit in the nineties under RP when  SLLRDC became a fearful name to many land developers. I faced death threats by politically backed land developers and yet I stood my grounds (on marshy land)

What I saw that day in front of the office of SLLDC was one of the stupidest actions taken by Megapolis.

I heard that a company deployed  by the ministry of Megapolis to install a flood gate in the canal

Very stupid idea to install the gate in this  Location spending millions..

SLLDC surely wants to wash their hands off from this stupidity.

Megapolis with world bank funding wants to pump water from the Kelani River during drought to get rid of polluted water, and pump rainwater out.

Any sensible person will understand that during drought salt water will flow upstream along the Kelani River until Ambatale. Any more water pumped out from Kelani mother river to Colombo will cause enormous damage to Colombo ecosystem

I do not intend to elaborate further.

Dr. Sarath Obeysekera

7 Responses to “We keep making blunders”

  1. aloy Says:

    I do not think Dr. Sarath is right here. Installing gates and pumping out water in the area protected

    by a system of bunding is the correct way to go. If I remember correctly the foreign consultants for

    this project were DHI (Danish Hydraulic Institute) which carries out this sort of work all over the

    world. Their equivalent in SL is LHI (Lanka Hydraulic Institute) which also does lot of work

    overseas.Recently DHI did an EIA for a project together with a local company overseas in which I was

    the team leader. When the name was mentioned I had no problem in recommending them. Areas of

    speciality of DHI are software development( MIKE 11, MIKE 22 etc), EIA and consultancy on wide range

    of projects. So they know their onions. The period of salanity in the river may not be long. So, no

    need of pumping during that period. In other times pumping water to channels with stagnant water and

    flushing out will be a good idea. But they should show where this sort of things has been done

    before, so that they will not do experiments at our cost. BTW this will be good opportunity for few

    of our guys to have a foreign trip.

    However the blunder is this:

    The MCDUP ( the abbreviated name of the project)

    is a failure. The consultants, the Team Leaders etc must have eaten good part of the money borrowed

    from the WB. It has been dragging on since 2013 without achieving its goals and we may be paying

    installments of the loan with interest as well already. The guys in MOD(that iclude Gota) at that time is responsible for the

    debacle. They may even have diverted a good part for work not relevant for throject.

    I have done this type of projects overseas myself using the data acquired from LiDAR survey etc. I

    have used software developed by me for carrying out Digital Terrain Modelling by way of Triangulation,

    generating contours and calculating the run off using both the Rational Method and the HEC1, HEC-RAS

    (of US Hydraulic Engineering Center) methods which were the underlying basis for the development of

    DHI’s software. If they want I am ready to do a power point presentation on this.

    When I inquired in 2013 from Ministry of Defence under whose care was this project, I was asked by

    the Additional Secy ( a guy who had been in the US with Gota undergoing some training somewhere

    according to what I heard) to wait for the calling of tender on various sections of this project.

    When the tender was finally called for the very section Sarath is referring to, announcing lofty

    ideals ( of WB) such as giving preference to locals, I quickly gathered all info required with

    another New Zealand company with similar experience as my company’s Associate and prepared the

    document for pre-qualification. However when I went to hand over the application along with a

    colleague of mine who had been a long time chairman of a large institution, the military officer who

    was there to receive it gave an indication that there is no hope. So, the WB’s statements are just bunkum. Even

    pre-qualifications are done according to the whims and fancies of the powers that be. If I were a Chinese or an Indian then there would not have been any problem. It was embarrassing for me to explain that our doc was rejected to my foreign associate.
    So I went back to where I was working before and the government there gave a job several times larger than that to us after a very competitive bid involving more than ten Chinese and Malaysian companies.
    If these guys come to power now the situation will be much worse as the current government also has set a trend of impunity.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:


    I empathize with you. I had similar experience trying to launch a 10MW wind power project in SL, with funds brought in by me. The BOI was most UNHELPFUL; they even erected barriers to my getting the official wind resource data. I guess, I didn’t say the right words like I am willing to give bribes! I gave up!

    Someday, someone high up the chain has to realize that Sri Lankan scientists, engineers and entreprenuers are HIGHLY VALUED and SOUGHT AFTER abroad, but not in Sri Lanka by their own countrymen.

    Most of these officials are WHITE ASS LICKERS and BRIBE TAKERS. There is no room in their minds for honorable respectable home grown experts who WILL NOT TAKE BRIBES and WILL NOT GIVE BRIBES to get work, and who are very willing to deliver an honest dollar’s work for a dollar of payment.

    When will this situation change? I don’t know …. there may have to be a Bastille Day in Sri Lanka ….. but I cannot wait for that day.

    So. I adopt and raise tens of needy Sri Lankan children as my own, and launch small novel agro- and tech-based ventures to provide for their future employment and income as independent entreprenuers. I limit the scope to what I can do with my own funds, and religiously avoid asking for external government or other institutional help.

    I have found that in Sri Lanka TOO MANY COOKS SPOIL THE SOUP …. INVARIABLY, so I adopt the view that small is beautiful! At least it keeps me happy and sane!

  3. Dilrook Says:

    The call for a Bastille Day is now very loud. However, a peaceful transition of systemic power is more desired than chaos.

    Certainly no military takeover and certainly no takeover by rioters either.

    Funnily enough we keep supporting and voting for the same old clans that ruined Sri Lanka since 1948 knwoing they only plunder the nation. Then we dream of Bastille Day to change what we create. Why not use the ballot little by little to change it?

    (No one can dislodge the same old clans at the 2019 presidential election but they can use it to create a movement aiming to win the presidential election in 2024. By 2024 people within clans will be kiling each other to become president which only makes things easier for the movement.)

  4. Mario Perera Says:

    Dilrook: Funnily enough we keep supporting and voting for the same old clans that ruined Sri Lanka since 1948 knwoing they only plunder the nation. Then we dream of Bastille Day to change what we create. Why not use the ballot little by little to change it?

    Who created this system, this ready made bandwagon ‘for the same old clans’ to jump into: this band wagon which we have been forced to push with the eternal hope that they will lead us to where WE want to go and not where THEY want to go taking us along?

    By 2024 ‘people within clans’ will not have to kill themselves to get ousted from the band wagon. Look at the Senanayakes and the Bandaranayakes. Did they kill themselves to vanish from the band wagon? But has their disappearance emptied the bandwagon or made things any easier for the movement?

    Kindly get this clear. The ‘CLANS’ and the BAND WAGON are two distinct realities. The ONE is NOT the OTHER.

    A ‘movement’ launched to get rid of the CLANS has no incidence whatsoever on the BANDWAGON. IT will continue to roll along on the same rails carrying whosoever occupies it (even upstarts who have been pushed into it), with us always there to shove it. Continuing to push the same bandwagon with whoever is in it is NOT the MOVEMENT that is in question. Pushing the bandwagon already in movement is nothing new.

    The only movement that can save this country is a movement that pushes the bandwagon itself out of its rails sending it to its destruction. That day would be the BASTILLE DAY.

    A typical illustration of this is the massive 1953 strike led by the Marxists that sent the CLAN scurrying for refuge to a British warship anchored in the harbour. But that movement stopped there leaving the bandwagon intact. And so the clan left the warship and scampered back into the same bandwagon to be pushed along as before.

    A Bastille day movement is meant to overthrow the bandwagon. As long as this scourge of a bandwagon is kept going, the clans, even though they kill themselves, will never die. There will always be those ever ready to step into the same shoes.

    Let me be clear. By bandwagon I mean the EXISTING SYSTEM snuggling in the cradle of the present CONSTITUTION. Overthrowing the bandwagon means throwing away the BABY (the system) together with the TUB (the Constitution).

    Mario Perera, Kadawata

  5. Dilrook Says:

    Nicely explained. Thanks Mario.

    But my preference is a gradual movement away from the beaten rail. Not a sudden one.

  6. aloy Says:


    So, you were in the same predicament as I was. In my case there was one senior minister in MR’s government who tried to help me very much as he felt that I could do something. He called his ministry secy and a key government organization handling services but unfortunately the projects were to be approved by the treasury before the foreign financiers could put any money there. Thats where I had to make a full stop despite having to purchase office equipment and furniture.

    My interest has been shifted to a new area which is actually revolutionizing the way we live and that is computer hardware. These things are not difficult at all and I wish I laid my hands on the book my daughter left behind in my house at least ten years ago.
    I want to use the resources I presently have for a training program on Arduino, Raspberry Pi, IoT and webdesign with Android. If you are in Colombo please contact me using the contact in our website AEConsultants.lk I have a guy who is following up developments on Solar. I think he is in contact ith the powers that be.

  7. Ananda-USA Says:


    Thanks for the reply. Yes, I will contact you through your website and arrange to meet you when I am next in Sri Lanka.

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