Parakramabahu, the king of the kingdom of Polonnaruwa (1153-1186), never failed to see the array, beautification, and the capability of expanding his kingdom. Being the main man behind the extensive system of irrigation, he also reformed and improved Buddhist practices, appreciated the beauty of art, and also maintained a good relationship with South India and Burma.

Built under the quote “do not let even a drop of rainwater in this country to go to the sea without use” the wewa, Parakrama Samudra, a man-built tank by king Parakramabahu the great, which consisted of five large reservoirs, was constructed as a sophisticated storage system. Despite various protests against the construction of the walking path along the banks of the Parakrama Samudra, the urban development authority has moved forward with the sketch to go ahead with the plan which approximately costs around Rs. 34 million. It is also said that there would be unavoidable damage to the Parakrama Samudra caused by the construction., which is obvious.

116,000-acre-feet of water that the reservoir stores are being protected by the breakwater for centuries, to avoid the wastage of water. This walking path doesn’t only cause damage to the Samudra, but also a great insult to our ancestors who pooled in a massive amount of knowledge into the construction of the Parakrama Samudra which even astonishes our so-called, ‘modern great technologically developed engineers’.

This pathway is said to be 8 feet wide and will also cover a 1.7km stretch starting from the divisional secretary official residence to the DS Senanayake memorial. It is also mentioned that this construction is not only planned in order to improve citizens’ physical health but also for them to have connectivity with nature and to develop mental health.

The fact that the area already consists of two other jogging tracks which are in a good condition should be taken into consideration. Spending Rs 34 million of public money with the ongoing crisis for a project like this is somewhat unacceptable. This can be pooled into helping out the people and the industries affected by the pandemic. It might be a great idea to construct a walking path to improve citizens’ physical and mental health if the pandemic didn’t exist, the same area didn’t have two other jogging tracks in good conditions and the country had excess money.

Water is a very important component in all living things’ lives, it is a resource that should be saved and used accordingly. King Parakramabahu’s request to people even when he ruled the kingdom was to not wastewater and to use them sparingly. His immense contribution towards the agricultural industry of Sri Lanka, Parakrama Samudra was one of the greatest and valuable contributions he left behind with the people of Sri Lanka.  Sri Lanka being a small island, is recognized by the majority for only its natural resources and beauty. If we are to destroy everything we have one by one, we will go unrecognized as an island in the future.

Contributor : Shadhurshini Dushanthan

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