Hands and feet off Parakrama Samudraya
Posted on September 1st, 2021

LAKSIRI WARNAKULA Courtesy The Island

I was shocked when I saw the pictures the other day. How could they come up with such an idea? And it is an act of sacrilege, too, causing harm to an object that should be protected, and even venerated, to my mind. It is a majestic symbol showing our ancient heritage of irrigation engineering and the wisdom of our kings. And its bund is not for breaking and bulldozing to suit the whims and fancies of some, who see concrete and walkways as signs of development, carried out even at the expense of our proud heritage. It, in any circumstances, shouldn’t be on the ‘bucket list’ of short-sighted, self-promoting bigwigs, chosen for destruction in the guise of development.

Polonnaruwa means two things to us: marvels of architecture and irrigation engineering of yore and then, the paddy and the farmer.

Now, they are ruining the former, supposedly for the benefit of the latter.

We know how our farmer works his paddy fields, from dusk to dawn, braving the elements and the menace of the dangerous wildlife. I don’t think he needs early morning walks for exercise, unlike some of those who spend their office-hours in spacious air-conditioned rooms, hardly moving from one chair to another.

And during their post-lunch snoozes, this is probably one kind of rubbish that comes to their mind. ‘Let me get myself noticed and become a little richer too’!

I hope this utter madness will be put to an end without delay, and whatever the damage that has been done so far to the bund will be restored, and the would-be-costs involved be charged on the key personnel, who gave approval to this project.

Now, for the benefit of those who see a walkway with lamp posts and little joints selling cashew, amba achcharu, etc., I see something different: In time to come, there will be tin-huts/thatched-roof huts vying for competition, and then, it’s a matter of time before the menace of dreaded white powder makes its appearance.

And empty water bottles, cigarette butts and whatnot litter the walkway and the waters of the ‘Parakrama Samuddraya’. This is certain to happen since the proposed walkway will be predominantly used by people visiting Polonnaruwa (and not the local people), and we all know their callous disregard for keeping our environment clean.

LAKSIRI WARNAKULA

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