Don’t let the water run down; close the sluice gates on time

By Ven. Galaboda Siri Gnanissara Thera (Podi Hamuduruwo of Gangarama Temple)

At the end of the rainy season the reservoirs overflow, and sluice gates are opened. The rain stops, but the sluice gates remain open and the water continues to flow. The water that took 11 long years to fill flows out in a week! Nature is kind to us, but those who are in charge, the officers, the learned engineers and the workers do not think about the country or their work. Therefore however much we receive rain it’s of little use to us.

Those who knew the fear of terrorism are few in number today and that has become an obstacle to development now. So it is good to remind ourselves about the past again and again. There is no one who was not disturbed by the terror of the Tigers who totally destroyed the Mullaitivu Army camp before bombing the harbour, Airport and the Central Bank. The Tigers had us spreading rumours among ourselves and even had the Mahaweli reservoirs emptied.

Sluice gates of a tank opened during the recent rains in the Puttalam district.

It is for the good of Sri Lankans that all the reservoirs in the Mahaweli area reached spill level after 11 years. But it is a pity that only a handful remains to profit by the blessings of Mother Nature. There is no home where water is not wasted. Many waste water. There is more fallow land than that is cultivated.

There is no place in our country where a tea sapling will not sprout; nor a place where coconut and rubber would not grow. We must look at the efforts of the government servants who grow vegetables in their home plots and reward them for their efforts. The principals and teachers should train children to grow their food products, among their other duties. Through the children they can educate the parents and help in cultivating every inch of land. We must reward such people for their efforts.

Most in the present generation are unaware of how to plant a tree. Let us teach all citizens how to mix new soil with fertilizer and make a plot to grow plants. The coconut fibre discarded by us is nourishing the soil in Arab countries. Since the harvest of onions has perished in India they have stopped exporting onions. Today our first problem is onions, the next is coconuts and then rice. We must increase the price of bread to hundred or two hundred rupees and keep our citizens healthy, by discouraging its consumption.

All ministers, deputy ministers and MPs should allocate areas among themselves and commence an annual cultivation programme. When the rains come the Ministers must see that the engineers and others responsible retain the rainwater after the excess is released. We lack people who work with dedication, and so development cannot be achieved. So it is the duty of the media to bring to our notice the shortcomings that prevail. It is time that we get down to the business of spreading goodwill and uniting as one nation, building dams and new reservoirs and encouraging the growth of agriculture. Food prices are escalating. This is a direct result of people being lazy. Let all get together to grow whatever that is possible to make our country self-sufficient.

Robberies have increased in the country. We cannot wash clothes and hang them out to dry; we cannot keep our shoes and slippers outside the temple before someone will rob them. We cannot close our homes and go out even to visit a funeral house, without the anguish of being robbed; even if a plant is available someone will rob it. The whole country is faced with this problem.

Society must discipline the people, take care of the children and make them healthy. Last Poya day a daughter had left her ageing and mentally deranged mother at our temple doorstep. Time was when only the unwanted dogs and cats were left in the temple precincts. It is time that we looked at these things seriously. We must work harder and resolve not to be a burden to anyone.

We heard that businessmen benefited by the Budget. However all those involved in business including those who run small boutiques and all human beings need food. Those who are wealthy and have the means must get others involved in some sort of food production. Let those in power give the necessary tax relief to encourage this. It is a fact that some of those who started private hydro electrical schemes have found such projects profitable. I mention this especially because such projects are helpful.

The clergy who partake in alms from the laity must encourage the development of food crops. The temple and the school must come forward to unite the village, encourage peace and the concept of working together. Let us make a start at the next season of Wesak to cultivate every inch of our land. It is useless preaching to an empty stomach. Unless we act fast and have grow more food campaigns we will not be able to alleviate hunger. Each one must contribute to this campaign at least for his own sustenance.

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