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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

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Preserving Mount’s marvellousness

I am a tourist from Sweden working for a conservation agency. I have been visiting Mount Lavinia for many years, and I like the sun, the beach and the sea like all tourists. I feel at home in the charming town of Mount, a treasure within: small and colourful lanes, cosy houses, a rich vegetation, parrots tumbling through the skies, a variety of very pleasant and trustworthy guesthouses, not expensive, with a faithful and loyal clientele, who very often are guests for many years.

You make friends easily and I got used to the “malu” and “vegee” vendors, enriching my modest cuisine. I enjoy the manifold restaurants and affordable pubs in the evening, with a cool sea breeze and beautiful sea views, often having meals together with Sinhala and Tamil neighbours and friends. And if I need urbanity, Colombo is near with all its glitter and historical places. All in all - a quiet and pleasant place, a paradise at the Indian Ocean - only 45 minutes away from the airport.

Unfortunately there is a disturbing development in Mount Lavinia and Dehiwala ongoing: Multi-storied apartment buildings are mushrooming, destroying the traditional coastal areas in the vicinity of the famous Mount Lavinia Hotel. Quick constructions at De Saram Road, Beach Road and vicinity are examples of this deplorable development.

Within 14 months two, six storey buildings have been brought up and the ground works for another six to eight storey buildings have started in Samudra (Sea) Road. Have the Urban Development Authority, the Department of Town and Country Planning, the Coast Conservation Department and/or related administrative units been informed about that? Or are the same mistakes which Spain did at the beginning of the mass tourist era in the early 1960s, being done, when large coastal regions at the Mediterranean Sea have been destroyed by a multi-storey apartment architecture, not at all matching with the coastal geography, nor with the needs and wishes of its people and visitors. How are you going to implement the Coast Conservation Act of 1981?

Residents of Mount Lavinia have protested many times against this urban cancer (in vain!). See the construction material alone, it is of such a poor quality, that already after a few years one can see the decaying shape these buildings are in. “Tomorrow’s slums”, as Lavinia residents already say today. No wonder as the majority of these buildings are half empty throughout the year. Why is the government not taking the necessary steps to avoid a further negative development?

According to my knowledge the authorities have the power to give the permission to construct four storey buildings, but only after a profound analysis of geological and sociological settings, in order to protect the environment and its people and to ensure a homogenous growing of townships.

And the main question which moves all of us is, where will this beautiful island be in 10 or 20 years? Do we have then a Sri Lankan coast without face and character and paradise is lost forever?

Jan Olsen


Opposition party leaders should think twice

So far, no leader in the UNP or JVP has been successful, in gaining power with the majority of votes in any province or any Pradeshiya Sabha. It’s really unfortunate to hear that the JVP as well as the UNP have shattered and divided, causing inconvenience in the political arena.

Both leaders in the JVP and UNP should immediately think twice of the needs and requirements of the country.

H L Sunil Shantha
Kalutara


Computer education for Pirivena students

The Computer education should be introduced to the pirivena students at their earlier stage as it will be a great advantage in future to novice monks to step into the developed world. The Education Ministry should take necessary measures to promote the computer education in urban areas as well as in remote areas in Pirivena Institutions.

Ven Munindawansa Thera
Payagala


Overseas Sri Lankan doctors

Media reported recently that the Health Minister has appealed to Sri Lankan born, educated doctors who are working overseas to return home. They are not here in Sri Lanka due to other reasons which also should be looked into.

In 2012 the second medical college in Peradeniya will celebrate its 50th anniversary. From those in the batch, I gathered that only one of them has returned to Kandy but the others are not.

Sydney Knight

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