A fitting completion to the Accelarated Mahaveli Diversion Scheme | Sunday Observer

A fitting completion to the Accelarated Mahaveli Diversion Scheme

Thank goodness and propitious karma that this cat has pleasing topics to ruminate on as she reclines in her sofa and later converses with you via paper print on Sunday morning. She is sick to her bristling whiskers of the Bond Business which is called a scam and labelled the biggest robbery in the history of this fair isle. She has a banker relative who avers that bidding for bonds as was done since yahapalana came to power has gone on apace always, especially, during the tenure of the previous regime. The only fault or crime if proven is that of a father-in-law passing on to a son-in-law tips on the inside workings of the Bank that is Central to enable the said son-in-law to make a financial clean sweep. Persons guilty of bribe giving and taking is a separate matter to the banker relative.

What this cat abhors having gone through it for weeks if not months is the continued beating of a dead horse by projecting-to-be righteous persons’ verdicts, and one TV organization, particularly. In the TV outfit’s hinted at thirst for the blood of the Prime Minister (for whatever reason), they go on ad nauseum about the Bond Business with graphs and whatnot. Enough is enough growls this feline and switches on to another channel whereas previously TV I night news was God’s word to her and watched diligently.

TV I even had seven minutes on the Rajagiriya flyover on 8th late news and condemned it wholesale as a waste of money since traffic congestion has not eased. OK. Maybe. But why harp now when all the adverse points should have been made earlier. If they were made loud and clear and disregarded, then shut up and keep quiet since blame laying and fault finding is useless at this stage after the construction is a fait accompli. The ulterior motive seems to be to fault yahapalanaya for anything and everything. Were they so vociferous when the previous regime constructed at great debt to the Chinese, white elephants in the deep South? So now she surfs through other channels.

Moragahakande Reservoir

Again, supine on her sofa, but fully alert, this cat watched the opening of the last of the large reservoirs in the ambitious Accelerated Mahaveli Diversion Scheme boldly telescoped to five years from the originally estimated thirty years by J.R. Jayawardena and carried out to near completion by Gamini Dissanayake.

It was good watching the President and Prime Minister, though they looked as if frosty air was between them. It was better listening to their addresses. The Prime Minister spoke short, sweet and succinct and ended with a very relevant point: the weather patterns, and that this scheme like all other irrigation schemes depended on rain coming at the correct time and in the correct volume.

The President made a longer address, in stylish Sinhala. He traced the history of the plan to get the Mahaveli Ganga to feed more, the existing channels and wewas in the North Central Province and even further to the north for irrigation, primarily. He started with the 1930s. Then came the development of hydroelectricity and the use of such accumulated water to generate power. He mentioned the spread of kidney disease in the NCP and said that it was caused primarily by the lack of clean drinking water, which Moragahakande would supply. Many sycophants and others seeking Brownie points would have suggested the newly commissioned wewa be named after him. No. Mercifully that ain’t his style. So he suggested it be named A.N.S. Kulasinghe Samudra, honouring the famed engineer, one of the few who holds a worldwide patent for a kind of cement he invented.

The next day, we had the former President claiming glory by saying this scheme was started in his time. Bah this cat hisses! In his time and previously, once JRJ lost his presidency; Gamini Dissanayake was ruthlessly assassinated and the UNP lost power; the Mahaveli Scheme was placed on the national backburner and the land systems that were opened up, populated and produced new agricultural products like baby corn, gherkins et al, were neglected as being UNP projects. This cat remembered with a smirk how the Lotus Theatre and even a part of Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha was renamed to carry the name Mahinda Rajapaksa though plans were drawn and building of the theatre complex started under Chandrika B K, whose name should have adorned the name board of the building she scornfully said resembles an upturned chamber pot! The Sinhala name sounds more atrocious. Depend on her to use catchy phrases.

Thanks be to former leaders

While watching and listening to the opening ceremony of this fifth large wewa in the Accelerated Mahaveli Diversion Scheme, this cat nostalgically remembered with gratitude the Father of the Nation – D S Senanayake who first took action to renovate and rebuilt our ancient irrigation system, and added to it. The Gal Oya Scheme with its Senanayake Samudra created by a dam at Inginiyagala is a lasting memorial to him.

Gamini Dissanayake was remembered as the man who negotiated aid and pushed and enthused with his youthful exuberance engineers and workers to complete four massive wewas and build brand new towns and villages to house those displaced by the rising waters of the built reservoirs. JRJ gave him full authority over the scheme, with confidence.

And thus, the commissioning of the last wewa in the scheme is a further boost to the irrigation system of the island, started by our ancient kings of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa involving skills admired by even modern engineers, local and foreign.

This cat reclines happily. It’s good to express appreciation for a change!

Menika

Post Script

That’s how this feline ended her article before she watched TV news on Wednesday 10th. Shocking! The behaviour of MPs was deplorable. Watching and later reading about it this cat blamed the riff raff in the opposition much more than the UNP. As MP Marikkar said, he was assaulted by old Gamini Lokuge, so he hit him back. “What else could I do?” Jolly good to pay back in the same coin. Those who started the melee seem to be the JO members who collected in the well of the assembly and created trouble. Not done at all. What a descent from the stature of DS and JR to the low down of such as these. 

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