Rekindling the glory of Polonnaruwa | Daily News

Rekindling the glory of Polonnaruwa

The ancient capital of Sri Lanka, the city of Polonnaruwa, the seat of great kings, will awaken to its pristine glory once again with the completion of as many as 170 projects under the President Maithripala Sirisena’s flagship, “Pibidena Polonnaruwa” on August 1, 2 and 3.

“Pibidemu Polonnaruwa (Awakening of Polonnaruwa)” District Development Project was commenced on October 17, 2017. The President, symbolizing the commencement of the project laid the foundation stone for a new classroom building of Aralaganvila, Vilayaya Madya Maha Vidyalaya.

Under this ambitious development project, all sectors in Polonnaruwa including roads, electricity, agriculture, education, health and environment will be developed comprehensively.

“When some areas in Sri Lanka were marching towards a rapid transformation during last decade, I was lamenting as the representative of the people of Polonnaruwa due to the inability to make the relevant transformation for Polonnaruwa” President Sirisena declared. “Polonnaruwa will be taken to a rapid development through “Pibidena Polonnaruwa”, giving the benefits of the development to the people in this district.”

Polonnaruwa, the second capital of ancient Lanka after Anuradhapura, is a World Heritage Site and forms part of the UNESCO-sponsored Cultural Triangle.

When the first capital Anuradhapura faced continuous invasions from Tamil kings across Palk Straits, in the seventh century, the city was abandoned and the capital transferred to Polonnaruwa or Pulastyanagara, the site probably of a prehistoric city named after Pulastya, the grandfather of Ravana, according to Sir Ponnambalan Arunachalam.

The scenic city of Polonnaruwa soon rivalled Anuradhapura in magnificence. Although the new capital too fell to invading forces, King Vijayabahu I recaptured Polonnaruwa in 1055 and ruled until 1110.

The most respected monarch who ruled the island from Polonnaruwa, however, was King Parakramabahu I or Prakramabahu the Great who ruled from 1153 to 1186 and acclaimed by historians as the greatest of Sinhalese Kings.

Rich heritage of Polonnaruwa

The Polonnaruwa era was so peaceful and disciplined, ‘even a woman might traverse the island safely with a precious jewel and not be asked what it was’, as Dambulla inscription recorded.

Parakrama Samudra – the sea of Parakrama – remains a lasting monument to his memory. Covering 2,400 hectares, this giant reservoir is the largest created during the medieval period. It has an embankment 12 km in length. It is said that blocks of stone weighing 10 tons each were used in the constriction.

The rich heritage of Polonnaruwa is evident from monasteries and the Buddha statues such as Gal Vihara where four Buddha statues and attendant sculptures cut from a single rock represent the finest achievement of the local sculptor.

The Polonnaruwa kingdom did not last long ending with Magha (1215-36). Threatened invasions from South India forced the kings to abandon Polonnaruwa and move to Dambadeniya.

Since then, it was a sad tale of decline and neglect. After several centuries, Polonnaruwa is reawakening today under the development programme, Pibidena Polonnaruwa.

President Maithripala Sirisena, a son of Polonnaruwa, stated that the government has started the programme to uplift all people economically and socially.

More than 170 projects have been implemented under the Pibidena Polonnaruwa and they will be vested with the people during the first three days of next month. They include Technical College Complex, Polonnaruwa General Hospital revamps with state-of-the-art facilities and services, the new Court Complex, modern bus halt and main roads with four lanes.

The implementation of the Moragahakanda Kalu Ganga Multipurpose Development Project fulfilling a long-awaited aspiration of the farmers. The Kalu Ganga Moragahakanda Project that was constructed at a cost of Rs. 2,300 million, which is almost three times the entire cost of the previous projects of the accelerated Mahaweli Multipurpose Project. Farmers of Polonnaruwa will receive water for irrigating their parched lands during the Yala and Maha seasons now.

The capacity of Kalu Ganga reservoir is 265 million cubic metres and will divert 100 million cubic metres a year to the Moragahakanda Reservoir. The reservoir will irrigate 3,000 hectares in the Kaluganga basin.

Water from both, the Moragahakanda and Kalu Ganga reservoirs, will be primarily used to support agricultural needs to an area of at least 81,422 hectares. This will increase rice production by 81% or 109,000 tons, amounting to an estimated monetary benefit of US$1.67 million, annually. In addition to irrigation of land, water from the Moragahakanda Reservoir generates 25-megawatt power at the Moragahakanda Hydroelectric Power Station.

One of the greatest gifts for the people of Polonnaruwa will be the National Nephrology Hospital, which is a gift from China. The construction works commenced under the patronage of the President to build the hospital two weeks ago. This New Hospital is being built as the largest kidney hospital in South Asia, at a cost of Rs. 1.2 billion, fulfilling long-term aspirations of the President to provide services for kidney patients. The hospital would be a great asset and a gift to the people of Sri Lanka, not only for the people living in the North Central Province but also in other areas. The hospital project includes state-of-the-art all necessary facilities for kidney patients. The project is expected to complete within 24 months and accordingly, in July 2020, the construction work of the project is to be completed.

Another significant project to serve the agriculture sector and the farmers’ requirements are the new Agricultural Economic Centre, which is being built at a cost of Rs. 50.2 million under the assistance of the Chinese Government.

Pibidena Polonnaruwa

The education sector gets huge benefits from new school buildings to science laboratories, information technology facilities, playgrounds and auditoriums. A Trilingual Learning Centre will be the icing on the cake of Polonnaruwa field of education.

Furthermore, the largest and high technology Museum in the country is being constructed in Polonnaruwa.

The “Pibidena Polonnaruwa” District Development Project has implemented projects covering the areas including roads, electricity, agriculture, education, health and environment will be developed comprehensively and already over 100 projects have been completed and vested in the public and another 170 projects will be vested in the public next month. They include school development, religious places development, development of school buildings, laboratories, libraries, cultural units, conference halls, teachers’ quarters, offices of the Principals and Deputy Principals, playgrounds and construction of building complex.

One such project is the construction of 18 classroom buildings at the Al-Ameen Muslim College, Senapura with the assistance of the security forces. Other projects include state-of-the-art conference hall facilities for all the National Schools in Polonnaruwa, development of rural dispensaries, hospital wards, reconstruction of old wards, Surgery Units, Dental Care Units, Kidney Clinic, and, doctors’ quarters, construction of Bhikkhu Hostels, Piriven building, Dhamma School buildings, Dharmashala, Dana Shala, development of 17 religious places irrespective of religious differences, drinking water projects, housing projects, 150 town development projects, including Hingurakgoda Trade Complex and new bus halt, and theatres.

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