A lament for the vanished lungs of the city of Colombo Many of us of the older generations, especially those who were sportsmen and sportswomen who had participated in outdoor team games, would recollect the large number of playgrounds that the city of Colombo had which have now given way to buildings. The city of [...]


Letters to the Editor


A lament for the vanished lungs of the city of Colombo

Many of us of the older generations, especially those who were sportsmen and sportswomen who had participated in outdoor team games, would recollect the large number of playgrounds that the city of Colombo had which have now given way to buildings.

The city of Colombo at that time had fewer buildings, and no high rise buildings as we find now, with maybe the tallest building being not more than four storeys high, if my memory serves me right. Added to the fewer buildings, there were a lot of tall trees along the roads and in the gardens of houses. And of course, there was the Victoria Park, later renamed as Vihara Mahadevi Park. There was also a park past the Senate building with the statue of Queen Victoria which the present citizens of Colombo would not be aware of.

A  large number of playgrounds were located in many parts of the city.  Of these playgrounds the first one to vanish from the map of the city was the Ceylonese Ladies Hockey Club playground which was acquired to construct the building to house the Rupavahini Corporation. Thereafter one by one, a few others suffered the same fate.  The land where the Sri Lanka Army football playground was located was utilised to construct the Taj Samudra Hotel.

The Government Services Sports Club had its playground on Parsons Road (now Sir Chittampalam Gardiner Mawatha, a mouthful), close to the Rowing Club premises. This playground was used for cricket as well as football. Now the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel stands on the land where this popular playground was.

The Sri Lanka Army also had a cricket ground a little distance away from the football grounds. This has been taken over to construct the Shangri- La Hotel. Thus, the Army lost two valuable playgrounds that they had in the city and both locations were utilized to have two five star hotels.

On the opposite side of the road to the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel and adjoining the Slave Island Police station, was the Saracens Sports Club cricket grounds which produced a number of outstanding cricketers such as ACM Lafir, etc. Though the playground still remains, it now belongs to the Sri Lanka Air Force, and may be, not utilized for staging any games but used more as a helipad.

The last playground that suffered this same fate was the Nomads Cricket ground opposite St. Bridget’s Convent. Nomads was the club of the Colombo Municipal Council, which produced a number of cricketers who played for the national side, such as the De Silva brothers, D.H., D.P. and D.S., etc. The land space occupied by this club has been used to build the Nelum Pokuna Theatre.

The city still has quite a number of playgrounds in the Havelock Town area with the Burgher Recreation Club, the Colombo Colts Cricket Club, the Havelocks Sports Club and the Pedris Park playground still intact.  The former race course area, off Reid Avenue has the Astro turf pitch for hockey, and the football grounds opposite the Grand Stand. In addition to these, Colombo has the University of Colombo playground, the Bloomfield cricket grounds and the Thurstan College grounds in close proximity to each other. The other playgrounds still intact are the Moors Sports Club grounds at Braybrooke Place, the Malay Sports Club grounds on the opposite side from the Rio Cinema and of course the schools’ playgrounds of Royal, St. Peter’s and St. Joseph’s Colleges.

We hope that at least these existing playgrounds will remain as they are so that the citizens of Colombo have some fresh air to breathe.

H.M. Nissanka Warakaulle   Via email

Fix horns to garbage-collecting trucks

Collection of garbage is being done in some areas with a crier announcing the arrival of the garbage truck. Since the vehicle follows close behind the crier, some do not get sufficient time to hand over their garbage. This is a problem faced especially by those living in bylanes and storeyed houses. Leaving garbage by the roadside poses a health risk as garbage is not collected on some days and sometimes for several days.

I suggest the garbage collection vehicles be equipped with a distinctive horn as in the case of ice cream vendors etc. It would be helpful both to the public and the employees who face a health hazard shouting out daily throughout their service.


D.A.C.H.Trimanna   Wattala

Disappointed at the lack of a reply


On 12.3.2019, I wrote to the then President, Prime Minister and Health Minister as Chairman, Kidney Transplant Support Foundation on the topic of mandatory organ donation, but did not even get an acknowledgement, except from the PM’s office which had mechanically re-directed my letter to the Health Ministry.

When you took office, hearing your reputation for prompt action, I wrote to you once again followed by an email, on 20.1.20, expecting a fast response. To my great disappointment, I found NO response to this as well. A foreign monk who had been serving this country for over 50 years in respect of Dhamma and Education had also got NO response when he had written offering his services free!

Considering the tremendous number of lives which could be saved from enacting a Human Organ Transplantation Act (HOTA) as done by Singapore and over 30 countries,  I expected at least a reply giving reasons why it was not being considered. While I appreciate your busy schedule, those at the Secretariat who must be checking your mail should have at least brought this to your attention, and at the very least responded with an acknowledgement to such a national issue.

You will appreciate that this creates a poor impression of our leaders when there is not even an acknowledgement to public letters, particularly those of national importance. I would kindly draw your attention to my appeals and consider enacting this law which has the potential to save many lives.

Ajit F. Perera   Via email


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