By Helasingha Bandara –
Road of neglect
Rathnayaka (husband)-“Soma said that she saw some road-construction machinery have been parked at Mawathagama”
Bandaramenike (wife) “No doubt an election may be near”
People sighted heavy machinery, mostly stationary, under the shades of trees, in February this year, along the Nikaweratiya- Ambanpola road. They concluded that it was a sure sign of an election approaching. They weren’t wrong; the Government has announced that it would hold North Western Provincial Council elections in September.
The arrival of machinery, re-laying of a foundation stone, and digging a bit here and there have been repeated so many a time throughout the last fifteen years that people have become wise to the truth; it is an election gimmick! It started with T.B.Ekanayaka, then Minister of Highways, followed by many others and finally with Namal Rajapaksha promising to construct the road. It was only four kilometers to be constructed.
It has been 4 years since the article “The Road That Gets The Eternal Blind Eye” has drawn attention to this road. A few elections have come and gone. Only one kilometer of the road has been constructed. At this speed it needs another 12 years and at least 9 elections for the road to be completed. The irony is that when it is completed at one end the other end may need reconstruction as it is being very badly constructed with the cheapest raw-material. This means that the road will never be complete in our lifetime.
As soon as the people see the movement of machinery they predict an election is coming. Despite that knowledge the fools do not stop voting nonetheless.
No gravel roads
One strong trump card in the government’s pack is that they have developed a very good road network in the country and they continue to do so. We generously appreciate that, while questioning the second class treatment that we the rurals receive in this regard.
Unfortunately we cannot buy into Minister Basil Rajapaksha’s proclamation at the opening ceremony of the Southern Expressway that there are no more gravel roads in Sri Lanka. As far as we are concerned the only truth in the statement is that, yes, we do not have gravel roads. Instead we have earthen roads, we are not fortunate enough to have even gravel on our roads. This is a fact for the entire road network into the villages along the Nikaweratiya-Ambanpola main road, of which at least three kilometers are still gravel.
Arrest of Vass Gunawardena
Is the arrest of Gunawardena an election gimmick? Gunawardena has been accused of many crimes including murder, abduction and extortion. The case of Nipuna, a student of Malambe who was beaten by Gunwardene’s wife, son and the bone licking constables was a much publicized case against Gunawardena. Gunawardena has always been an Agunawardena. Was timely action taken against this shameless police officer? Had that been so a few lives could have been saved.
Possibly thanks to some elections coming people can live without the fear of Gunawardena at least for some time while he is behind bars.
Dispelling of NWP Councilor
Is the dispelling of Sarath Kumara, a Provincial Councilor of the North Western Provincial Council also an election gimmick? Although the rogue deserves what he got and more, there is ample reason for the public to believe that it can be an election gimmick. He may have been thrown out as he is an anchovy among the sharks.
We want to believe that the actions of the government against those two beasts have been taken in good faith. Having experienced that many people being seen to be punished but coming back into higher positions with more power to harass people, we are wary of believing the action of the government. There is no doubt that the government is aware of the rogue elements of the country that make the land lawless and unsafe for the powerless. If the authorities allow the law enforcement agents to do their jobs without the fear of political interference, it is still not too late to save a few more valuable lives.