What has happened to my dear Kandy? To get a true picture of this city one has to walk along its streets as most budget tourists do. Kandy which we all are so proud of  needs urgent attention of the authorities to rectify the disgraceful state of certain areas in the city. Born in Kandy [...]


Letters to the Editor


What has happened to my dear Kandy?

The main road to Kandy - a photograph taken from the overhead bridge near Girls’ High School Kandy

To get a true picture of this city one has to walk along its streets as most budget tourists do. Kandy which we all are so proud of  needs urgent attention of the authorities to rectify the disgraceful state of certain areas in the city.

Born in Kandy and leaving the city  half a century ago, I had the occasion to stroll along Peradeniya Road from close to the Regal cinema up to the Halloluwa Road junction during the Vesak weekend. Although I have visited Kandy on many occasions by car after graduating from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, in 1968, I never observed the appalling and horrendous state of this once beautiful city.  The intention of writing this is to suggest remedial measures.

Most sections along the road from Peradeniya to Kandy have barely enough space for two buses to pass. There are no pavements. The only space for pedestrians is the 2’x 2’cement slabs that have been placed over the drains by the road. Pedestrians run the risk of falling on these or falling into the drain, where the slabs are broken or missing. They are compelled to step on to the road taking the risk of being knocked down by passing vehicles.

Some suggestions that may be implemented without high capital investments:

One way streams: One way streams for inbound traffic from Getambe roundabout, (near Gannoruwa) up to the Kandy clock-tower and for outbound traffic, from Kandy railway station towards Peradeniya, along the William Gopallawa Road are proposed, taking an example from Colombo: Bambalapitiya- Kollupitiya Galle Road stretch for inbound traffic and R.A De Mel Mawatha for outbound traffic. A few wide intersections across the railway line would be required to streamline the proposed one-way streams in Kandy.

Construction of proper pavements along city roads: As the majority of the road users in the city of Kandy are pedestrians, there is an urgent need for properly constructed elevated pavements. Broadening the pavements upto the solid white line that demarcates the edge of the road would result in motorists keeping to their motoring lanes.

Creating ‘Green belts’and pedestrianized streets:  Where space is available, shade trees that bring shade should be planted on either side of the road.

Most streets in the city centre are too narrow to access by car. Creating pedestrian areas would make the central area of the city attractive. Areas near the shrines and shops could be pedestrianized with a few multi-storey car parking facilities adjacent to the city coupled with a bus service linking the city.

An unprotected path linking upper Peradeniya road with the lower road at Katukele

Construct public amenities:   Vacant land or unoccupied buildings in Kandy could be acquired by responsible authorities to make car parks, public toilets and children’s parks for the benefit of the general public.

Unprotected alleyways: There are several unprotected areas in Kandy.  One such path that links the Peradeniya Upper Road with the lower road near Halloluwa junction is a virtual death-trap. All that is needed is a protective railing.

Properly constructed
overhead bridges:
There is an urgent need to clean-up the existing overhead bridges and ensure proper hygienic standards are maintained. The overhead bridges across the Peradeniya Road are in a poor state.  User friendly overhead bridges need to be constructed, like the newly constructed overhead bridge near the Panadura clock-tower, which is even equipped with escalators and a hood.

Alternate routes: There are several recently constructed roads and bridges linking the city with its outskirts, but these seem to be under-utilised. For example the new road linking Gannoruwa with Katugastota via Dodanwela could be a bypass to reach Katukele avoiding the Peradeniya Road, but one sees the signposts to these turns only after reaching the turning point. Prominent notices should be displayed on the availability of alternate routes well ahead.

It is hoped that some, if not all of these suggestions would be implemented as early as possible that could make Kandy a better place to live in and visit.

T.S.A. De Silva  Dehiwala

Who’s taking whom for a ride

I use the threewheeler when I have to commute the quick or cheap way. As I do I often have a friendly chat with the driver on stops when the wife gets off on an errand of her own.

This time around I asked him what he thought of the law that compels taxis to have taxi meters and issue receipts to commuters – he had one on his vehicle. “A good thing Sir,” he said, “ but I cannot understand why they want receipts issued detailing the cost of the ride. “

He went on to explain that the taxi meter with provision for receipts to be issued would cost a few thousand rupees more. He surmised that a businessman or bureaucrat down the line had probably imported these new -fangled machines and was all out to make big money on their sales to these poor threewheeler owners. One cannot but agree with this poor guy although the issuance of receipts may prevent frauds. To insist on threewheeler drivers using these meters may only discourage them from using any meters at all.

Is it a need to protect the commuter or greed to make quick money with no thought for the burden it imposes on these threewheeler owners?

 A commuter  Via email

Wake up to the needs of the forgotten folk of  yesteryear

I wholeheartedly agree with R. Suntharalingam’s  letter ‘The State should do more to look after the aged population’, that appeared in the Sunday Times of April 29.

The aged in Sri Lanka unlike in many other countries have sadly become nonentities. The fact that they spent their youth  building up their families,  the village, city and the country are forgotten. Who can spend precious time listening to the tales of woe of this ailing sector of society?  Maybe some feel they’re best left alone.

Buddhists believe that Lord Buddha went in search of ways of eliminating suffering.  Isn’t this the valuable message of  Vesak?  It seems that illuminating handbooks and sermons are preached to no avail.

Sometimes you see them waiting in queues with a bent spine and aching limbs, a pathetic sight to behold. Some don’t even have a place called a home to live in or  a decent income to substitute the pittance supposed to be their sole inheritance.

It’s time this country of  lions wakes up to the needs of the aging lions, the silent heroes and heroines of yesteryear, who sweated to build up a nation that proundly calls itself  Sri Lanka.

This is a timely call to those in the seats of administration to wake up to the call of the hour, as the bells toll for one and all.

Solutions are galore if only we bother to look for them and set the wheels of charity moving.  A decent monthly income, easy access to medical facilities, comfortable living standards, loving, tender care are all they need.

What a blissful adieu it would be for the deserving!

Celine Ruvanwella  Via email

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