Very close to the Clock Tower there is a fair amount of land referred
to as Moderawila, which according to my elders was abandoned due to its
When Dr. Neville Fernando, the honest and gentlemanly politician was
MP for Panadura, one of his early decisions was to shift the town to
this locality, because the town that existed then was fully crowded.
Towards the realisations of this objective the area was filled at
great cost. However, much to his disappointment, the task could not be
accomplished due to the resentment on the part of certain powerful
The next best he could do was to establish an industrial zone, as
such a project would generate employment to a large number. Several
apparel sector factories like Unichela were allocated land. Causeway
paints is also located in this zone.
After the tsunami in 2004 and more recently, several houses have been
constructed for those displaced, making the area somewhat residential.
Flowing through this area is a canal (Ela) which is primarily fed by
a drain bringing rain water from Galle Road.
The rain water falling in this vast area also ends up in the canal
which according to Dr. Fernando’s plan was to empty to the Thalpitiya
The canal in this industrial zone meanders through an area called
Thuduwa and I am reliably informed that it has been blocked in certain
areas and tenements put up. It is very unlikely that Local Council
approval has been obtained for these tenements to be put up.
The Council should arrange to pull down these tenements forthwith,
allowing the free flow of water, If this is not done, the tenement
dwellers would be de-facto owners preventing their eviction difficult if
The entire land comes within the purview of the U.D.A. In fact there
is a U.D.A. office with a few labourers whose task is to keep the canal
free of weeds and allowing the free flow of water. It may add during the
rainy periods most of the houses in the neighbourhood go under water.
For some unknown reason, the canal near the industries is free of
weeds probably the employees of the U.D.A. look after this stretch. Once
in a way, an officer from the U.D.A. visits the U.D.A. office.
Immediately following such a visit the labourers make their presence
felt in the other areas but not for more than a day or two.
During this very short period, the weeds are pulled out and left on
the banks of the canals. With the first rains they get pushed back to
Whenever nearby residents request the labourers not to leave the
weeds on the banks, they are bluntly told to mind their own business.
Taller weeds have grown over the canal, so much so that it is
impenetrable in certain areas and the water beneath cannot be seen.
The entire canal system is a high magnitude breeding station, perhaps
the largest factory for the breeding of mosquitoes very appropriately
located in the industrial zone. In addition, there are several sub
stations which become the home for proliferating mosquitoes.
The residents, particularly those living in the tsunami flats are
forced to close the doors and windows daily at about 5.00 pm. before the
mosquitoes enter their homes and open them only about 7.00 am. the
Further during my last visit to the area, I noticed buffaloes and
cattle grazing near borders of the canal. I was told that these animals
are released by their owners after milking. The herds get back before
dusk to their homes which is about one and a half kilometres away.
My uncle tells me that many years ago there was a law where the
cattle owners were imposed an on-the-spot fine if any cattle were found
on the roads. This country has enough and more laws but most of them are
This letter is certainly not meant to debunk the authorities but to
apprise the Minister of Urban Development, the Minister of Health and
Nutrition and the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources that the
situation in this area will tarnish the image of the Government.
I suggest that three top officials from the above Ministries be
appointed to a committee without any delay to study and report as to
what action should be taken to retrieve the hopeless situation at
I am confident that Dr. Neville Fernando would not hesitate to advise
as to where things went wrong.
ANOMA FERNANDO -
This letter is in response to N. Amerasekera’s reply appearing in the
Daily News of November 15, 2007 in reply to my views expressed in the
Daily News of November 5, 2007 on the Animal Welfare Bill.
The Government has permitted the import of items that are not
produced locally using foreign exchange such as motor vehicles, milk
powder etc. Beef is an item that is available in plenty locally.
Therefore, we should not ban the slaughter and import beef using our
valuable foreign exchange.
The price of all imported dairy products and meat have been increased
in the recent budget. The price of a kilo of imported beef will go
beyond rupees one thousand or more. Therefore Amerasekera’s argument
that the life of an animal is more valuable than our foreign exchange
cannot stand because imported beef is also the flesh of an animal
The slaughter of milch cows is completely banned in this country and
the President has further consolidated this ban by bringing this into
the Budget speech where he stated that any one who slaughters a milch
cow will be liable to a fine of Rs. 50,000.
I have not forgotten that milk powder is being imported in bulk from
Australia and New Zealand and packeted here after the addition of some
vitamins thereby enriching the foreign dairy farmers when fresh milk can
be produced here.
This is exactly what the Government is trying to achieve through the
Mahinda Chintanaya and every citizen must cooperate with the Livestock
Development Ministry in its endeavour to achieve self sufficiency in
milk which is not impossible.
I must mention here that the people are gradually getting used to
liquid milk instead of the powered milk after the prices were increased.
It is a very healthy sign.
The dry zone of this country has a very large herd of meat cattle
which is only suitable for meat. These cows do not produce more than one
litre of milk per day and the calves are not separated from the mother
cow because if it is not economical for the farmer to milk these cows.
If the calves are separated from the mother cow, they will die of
It is from these herds that the meat traders buy their animals.
Therefore the import of beef should be banned and our foreign exchange
Muslims do not use the milch cow for their sacrifices or for that
matter any female animal because of the fear that the female may have
conceived. If that happens, the purpose of the sacrifice is lost.
Therefore, the Muslims always select a male animal for sacrifice and
this does not affect the milk production of the country.
As mentioned in the editorial of the Daily News on October 10, 2007
animal lovers should try to convince the public to wean off meat eating
on a voluntary basis.
M. B. M. ZUBAIR -
Kandy Muslim Organisation
I disagree with the writer of this letter. Marvan Atapattu said so in
an open forum because had he said what he did in Sri Lanka, it would
have never made it to the press.
He was frustrated and he let out his pent up feelings. We will
apologise in time to Asantha De Mel and the others, who should not have
kept him as 12th man in the 2007 World Cup. That in itself was a
disgrace unto them, not to Marvan Atapattu. Mavan’s subsequent interview
to a local journalist explains in detail some of the shortcomings with
I can elaborate further and even point out why Australia is where
they are and how they got there! The reality of the situation is; no
matter how much we pay and who we get to coach, we will not reach the
pinnacle unless we start to make realistic changes at the grass roots
level and have objectives and select likewise. It is not one step, but a
series of steps. Marvan just touched the tip of the iceberg!