ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday December 30, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 31

Epitome of honesty, integrity and humility

~ Sanghadasa Berugoda

A former Surveyor-General, Sanghadasa Berugoda passed away recently in Adelaide, Australia, after a brief illness. He was 73 at the time of his demise.

Mr. Berugoda had a distinguished academic and professional career. He passed the final examination of the Sri Lanka Survey Department Training School and got through, in rapid succession, the Junior and Senior Professional Examinations conducted by the Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate and the Final Examination of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, England.

He also obtained a Master of Science Degree in Town and Country Planning from the then University of Sri Lanka, Moratuwa Campus. His professional career saw him achieve similar success. Starting as a Government Surveyor, he became Assistant Superintendent of Surveys, Superintendent of Surveys, Deputy Surveyor-General, Additional Surveyor-General and finally Surveyor-General. An expert on cadastral surveys, land use policy planning, urban/rural planning and legislation for registration of titles (land), Mr. Berugoda was released by the Survey Department for a stint as Director, Land-use Policy Planning of the Ministry of Lands prior to assuming duties as Surveyor-General. On retirement as Surveyor-General, he was invited by the Department of Town and Country Planning of the University of Moratuwa to function as a Senior Lecturer (Grade 1) on contract for one year. He was also appointed Course Coordinator for the newly established M.Sc. Degree Programme in Land-use Planning and Resources Management.

Mr. Berugoda was closely associated with a number of professional organizations and gave of his best for the advancement of the objectives of these institutes. He was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS), England, Surveyors’ Institute (FSI), Sri Lanka, Institute of Surveyors (FIS), India and Institute of Town Planners (FITP), Sri Lanka.

He was also associated with the Organization of Professional Associations. I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Berugoda both as a friend and colleague for well over three decades and was his immediate neighbour for over two decades. I have always known him to be a brilliant scholar and devoted public servant. His official duties were his first priority. He went to office well in advance of the starting time.

He was an inspiration to young professionals and set high standards by example rather than precept. Mr. Berugoda was an epitome of honesty, integrity and humility. He was a work horse in his own right who ensured that the work was done no matter who was responsible for the task.

He was also an ardent researcher and although his research topics are too numerous to be mentioned some of them were: ‘Problems of land ownership in relation to land development in Sri Lanka’, ‘Land records in Sri Lanka’, ‘Land ownership problems and their effect on cadastral surveys and registration of title in Sri Lanka’, ‘The need for an appropriate land information system for Sri Lanka’, ‘Land supply for shelter’ and ‘Policy strategies for land use planning in Sri Lanka’.

Most of his research findings have been presented at numerous national and international seminars and conferences. Mr. Berugoda was a devout Buddhist in every sense of the word, be it in thought, word or deed. According to his wife Kanthi he started his day with a short session of meditation to be followed by a rigorous routine enabling him to reach office by 7.30 a.m.
He was closely associated with the activities of the temple and was a leading figure although he never sought or accepted office.

Even when he was abroad he never severed connections with his local temple and the monk and continued to meet his obligations as a ‘dayaka’. He often resorted to ‘dhamma dana’, the issue of free Buddhist books to dhamma schools and interested individuals, and while in New Zealand he taught the dhamma to Buddhist children.

He became a vegetarian in the latter part of the 1980’s and a vegan in the 1990’s. He was a simple, selfless, enlightened individual with few worldly desires. Beru was a loving husband to Kanthi, adorable father to son Vidura and daughter Mihiri and fond grandfather to his grandchildren. To his friends and colleagues he was sincere and immensely helpful.
May he attain Nibbana.

By Prof. Ashley L.S. Perera

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