COLOMBO (News 1st); Farmers in Polonnaruwa have demanded local authorities to renovate the breakwater of the ancient Parakrama Samudra, which was being cleared for the construction of a jogging track.
The construction of the controversial Rs. 34 million jogging tack was suspended on Friday (27) after almost all the monks from the Polonnaruwa District converged at the site to protect the destruction being caused to the Parakrama Samudra.
Farmers demand the breakwater be renovated before the rainy season, adding failure to do so would lead to serious issues in the agricultural sector.
‘This is a national crime,’ shouted one farmer from the breakwater of the Parakrama Samudra.
Former Chief Minister for the North Central Province Peshala Jayaratne said the construction of a jogging track is not suitable for the area.
He said the political authority must step forward and explain as to why such a decision was reached, rather than making public officers from various departments scapegoats for their mistakes.
On Thursday (26) News 1st for the very first time exposed how the breakwater of the ancient Parakrama Samudraya is being bulldozed for the construction of a walking path.
Video obtained by News 1st showed that bulldozers were being used to shove the rocks of the breakwater into the Parakrama Samudraya to construct a new walking path around the ancient water system.
This 08 feet wide walking path will cover a 1.7 km stretch from the Divisional Secretary Official Residence to the D. S. Senanayake memorial at the Number 01 Sluice Gate of the Parakrama Samudraya.
The proposal for this walking path was moved by the Urban Development Authority and construction will cost a whopping Rs. 34 million.
The Irrigation Engineer in charge of the Parakrama Samudraya has said no harm will come to the ancient water conservation system, simply because boulders are shoved into the water.
The Polonnaruwa District Town Planning Officer T. G. Kaushalya speaking at a meeting at the Polonnaruwa District Secretariat said the jogging track plan was in the works for almost two years.
The great King Parakramabahu who ruled the country for 33 years from 1153 AD- 1186 AD asked his countrymen to use water sparingly.
History reveals that King Parakramabahu had made an immense contribution towards the agricultural industry in the country and the Parakrama Samudra was his greatest ever contribution to the people of Sri Lanka.
King Parakramabahu’s famous quote on water conservation and utilization “Do not release even a drop of rainwater to the sea without using it ” is still living in the hearts of the people.
This is sound advice to many present-day people who do not know the value of this nature’s gift.
This water system is so large it was called ‘Samudhraya’ or ocean.
In addition to that, strong winds cause swells in the Parakrama Samudraya, so large to the size of ocean waves.
It is this breakwater that has protected the water in the Parakrama Samudraya for centuries, without letting a drop of water go to waste.
The construction of a walking path clearly slaps an insult to the great knowledge that our ancestors possessed in creating such marvels that even stun today’s engineering giants.
Questions have been raised to who authorized such construction with a lack of understanding on the importance of the Parakrama Samudraya.