The Walkway at Parakrama Samudraya
Posted on September 28th, 2021

By Garvin Karunaratne

Many articles have been published against the construction  of the Walkway on the bund of the Parakrama Samudra. 

We should be thankful to the irrigation engineers and to Austin Fernando once the Government Agent at Polonnaruwa for their ideas. I too voiced my ideas but mine appeared only in Lanka Web. 

Despite all this the authorities have decided that the construction of the Walkway will be done. 

What is most important is to note that the Government Agent and the irrigation  engineers have detailed their actual experience. They are responsible senior officers who once struggled and strove to save that tank. 

To me  the most important fact that has been revealed is that with the monsoon rains the waters have topped the bund at a number of places in several years. This to my mind is a serious situation. I would kindly request the irrigation engineers who are involved in the construction of this walkway to give some definite thought to this factor. 

To be frank I know little of irrigation work compared to the knowledge of trained engineers, but as an administrator I have a trained mind to be able to grasp factors fast. . I have been in charge of minor irrigation work for some five years and had the occasion to learn from engineers with whom I worked at Anuradhapura. To my thinking there should never be a situation of the waters in a irrigation tank topping the bund. That is a No No situation and  if ever the waters of a tank overflow the bund at any point, it calls for the engineers to look at the spillway, expand the spill. This has to be done fast and the funds earmarked for the Walkway would be better spent to develop the spillway. I have not seen the spillway of the Prakrama Samudraya  but if necessary and possible the spillmay be done on the OGEE spill basis.  

One day when I was the senior Assistant Commissioner  in charge of minor irrigation at Anuradhapura I received instructions on the phone to meet Dr Nag, an irrigation specialist from India the next morning and told to take him to a few of our tanks. He had been headhunted from India for a few days.  I selected the Horowpotana tank and a few others. He was flown in a helicopter  and I showed him the details of the tanks I had selected. He decided to see the tank at Horowpotana. His observation  after seeing a number of our tanks was that we should build OGEE type of spillways. He got back to Colombo that evening itself. I inquired about the OGEE spillways from the irrigation engineers with whom I worked. It is a type of spillway of a peculiar shape which increases the outtake of water. 

Perhaps in developing the spillway, the engineers may consider whether Dr Nag’s ideas may be feasible. 

In my paper I had suggested that the Relapanawa should be immediately restored. The Relapanawa is the bulwark to ensure that the waters do not wash the bund and it has to be restored immediately in October as otherwise the waters are very likely wash away the bund.  With what I have read of the experiences of the Government Agent and the irrigation  engineers and their action taken to save the Parakrama Samudra in earlier years I wonder whether the irrigation personnel involved in the removal of the relapanawa have had their minds brainwashed. 

To everyone involved, please save the Parakrama Samudraya. If you tinker along it is likely that the entire town of Polonnaruwa and many colonies will get washed up in the fury of the waters, causing, deaths to many and untold misery for years. Let that not happen. 

Garvin Karunaratne 

Former G.A.Matara 28 th September 2021

One Response to “The Walkway at Parakrama Samudraya”

  1. dingiri bandara Says:

    The engineers and architects who built these ancient structures knew exactly what they were doing. Despite all the development in science and technology, we are still unable to explain as to why and how some these these structures were built. they are built the way the are built because they were necessary. so please do not mess around with structures unless it is to improve them. These structures have lasted thousands of years.
    Remember the twin towers in New York, built with modern technology. The stones in the bund were put there for avery good reason and not for the crooked businessmen and the politicians to remove and may be to sell ?So don’t go there! Find another place to to build the jogging tract. Any way for whose benefit? this type of arrogant and stupid behavior of these people brings government into disrepute and make them unpopular. i

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