24 August, 2019

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Air Pollution, Traffic Congestion & Opening Dalada Veediya

By Oliver A. Ileperuma

Prof. O.A. Ileperuma

Prof. O.A. Ileperuma

Opening Dalada Veediya to reduce air pollution in Kandy and ease traffic congestion

Please permit me to use your valuable space to highlight a serious local problem affecting thousands of people in Kandy. Although this is not a national issue, people in Kandy are continuously harassed by this road closure without a valid reason.

The road in front of Dalada maligawa has been used for at least for over 100 years as a public highway to Mahiyangana serving a large number of densely populated areas such as Kundasale, Digana, Haragama and Teldeniya. In 1998, because of LTTE threats it was closed for traffic and vehicles had to go around the Kandy lake causing severe traffic jams particularly during school opening and closing times. People withstood this inconvenience out of consideration about the safety of the Dalada maligawa. In 2002, the road was briefly opened for light traffic by the then Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. However, after a few months the road was closed again until now causing immense hardships to the people who travel to the city along this major highway. In the mornings it takes at least one hour to cover this distance of about 2 km.

Continuous closure of this road inconveniences people who travel to the city from the Tennekmbura side and also school children travelling to various schools in Kandy since a number of city schools are situated along the lake round. Earlier a student travelling to Dharmaraja college in Kandy from the city only took about 10 minutes by bus and now it takes almost 1 hour during peak traffic times.

Maligava Kandy

*Photo courtesy The Archives Facebook page –  Kandy – near the Maligawa – 1974

It is not surprising to see increasing numbers of children coming down with asthma and other respiratory illnesses. According to Dr. Anoma Siribaddana, Consultant Chest physician at the Kandy General hospital, the number of children with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is on the rise. This condition normally affects middle aged and older adults and habitual smokers. This is a serious health condition for which there is no cure apart from controlling the symptoms. Hospital statistics also show an increase in the number of asthma patients who spend time in the city. Presence of COPD in children is an alarming trend which should receive the attention of the authorities.

The city of Kandy situated in a valley between the Hantane and Hunnasgiriya mountains is expected to have high degree of air pollution. In fact, a comparison of the data collected from the Colombo Fort monitoring station and also from Kandy during the period 2001-2005 show that air pollution levels in Kandy are far higher than in Colombo. Colombo is situated on a flat terrain close to the sea and that helps disperse pollution over a larger area while air pollutants get concentrated in the Kandy valley surrounded by mountains. As a result, while only about 10% of the data from Colombo exceed the gazetted air quality standards, about 40% of the data recorded for Kandy exceed the national standards.

I have monitored air pollution in the Kandy city from 2001-2005 and hence can speak with some authority on this matter. When Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe opened this road to traffic in 2002, there was a drastic drop in the air pollution levels. The particle concentration dropped by nearly 70% and the sulphur dioxide levels, too, dropped by about 50% after the roads were reopened.

These two pollutants are the major causes of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Vehicles caught up in traffic jams spew a large amount of black smoke with these particles. In addition, unburnt petrol emitted from motor vehicles has polyaromatic compounds which are known to cause cancer. Air pollution also triggers heart attacks and other heart related diseases.

During the scientific study conducted from 2001-2005, the air pollution levels dropped sharply after the Maligawa road was opened but increased again after the road was closed. The average sulphur dioxide level before the road was opened was around 0.06 ppm which was twice the allowed level for this pollutant according to the gazetted Si Lanka air quality standard for sulphur dioxide which is 0.03 ppm. After the road was opened it dropped to 0.02 ppm which is a safe level and when the road was again closed the levels shot up to 0.08 ppm. Therefore, we can conclude that reopening this road will definitely reduce air pollution in Kandy.

Some studies carried out in developed countries suggest that if the particle concentration increases by about 10% then the additional deaths of elderly people with heart conditions also increases by about 10%. Sadly, such statistics are not available from Sri Lanka and there is an urgent need for the health authorities to be concerned about this since it is the government resources which have to be spent for treating a sick population.

There were some opposed to opening this road claiming that it affects the sanctity of the most venerated religious place in the country. However, it is important to stress that this is not a road which is meant for the Dalada maligawa. Now there is no terrorist problem which justifies keeping this road closed. There was some dialogue several years back for reopening this road and the most venerable Malwatte Mahanayake Thera too gave his blessings. Again, the former president was not in favour of this move since he did not understand the seriousness of this issue and considered only the pilgrims who visit the temple of tooth. Het is supposed to have said that “if I can walk up to Maligawa why cannot the pilgrims do so”. As I have repeatedly mentioned this is not a question about pilgrims visiting maligawa but the general public who are so inconvenienced by this road closure. If pilgrims can climb up the Adams peak to worship the Sri Pada then there is no reason why they cannot walk the small distance up to Maligawa. Kandy has only a few roads and alternate roads are unavailable for traffic. Also, one grandiose plan mooted during the previous regime was to build a tunnel below the Kandy Lake and this is not a practical solution because of the high cost and the long period to complete such a project.

Recently there were some unusual activities regarding the issue of reopening the Dalada Veeediya which to say the least quite disturbing. If the newspaper reports are true minister of public safety Mr. John Ameratunga has ordered the opening of this road and when the police consulted the Asgiriye Maha Nayaka thero, he vehemently objected and even got the nod from the President to keep the road closed.

There are several implications of this sequence of events. One is the question as to why a minister’s order was overturned by the President. The other question is why the Police has to obtain the approval of the Asgiriye maha thero to carry out the order of a minister taken in public interest. Already Venerable Malwatte Mahanayake thero has given his approval to open the road. He has pointed out the immense difficulties which ordinary people undergo daily and particularly ambulances transporting critically ill patients. This puts all of us in a dilemma as to whose word should be considered in taking important decisions. There are other groups with vested interests such as the Foundation for the protection of Kandy heritage and its leader has claimed that he with the help of Asgiriye mahanayake thero stopped the opening of this road. Such politically biased individuals controlling the destiny of thousands of people who regularly commute to the city is an unforgivable crime. They also breed religious disharmony because this organisation claimed that a non-Buddhist minister is trying to insult the sanctity of the Dalada maligawa. It is up to the government to determine whether creating such religious disharmony contravenes the laws of the country and if it is, to take appropriate legal action.

Minister Ameratunga should be congratulated for taking a bold and a courageous decision to reopen the roads in Colombo which have been closed for a long time. His attempt at opening the Dalada Veediya is also commendable but this has not materilised owing to the actions of a few. During the election campaign, at a meeting with the professionals of Kandy, President Maithreepala Sirisena too promised to reopen this road. As professionals we are waiting for our President to fulfill this promise.

There are two issues which are related to the closure of the road. Severe traffic jams and the increased time required to travel this short distance inconveniencing daily commuters is the most serious problem while the resultant air pollution is the other. During my study in 2002 there were 85,000 vehicles entering the Kandy city daily and this figure must be at least twice that number now and the air pollution is much more serious.

I would also like to comment on the sanctity and the protection of the Dalada maligawa from a supposed terrorist attack. We are supposed to have got rid terrorism and that is why many roads in the Colombo Fort area were reopened. Also, Dalada maligawa may not be the first place to be attacked and appropriate action should be taken to protect the maligawa. I would also like to remind people who claim that this road should not be opened that Dalada Maligawa was attacked when the road was already closed. They used the Raja veediya which was not well secured and there are still some unanswered questions as to why this side road was open for the terrorists to attack the maligawa. Also, the security fence which was built for the protection of the maligawa was built enclosing the main road adjacent to the Kandy lake. Why this fence was not constructed to enclose the Madduma Bandara park, leaving aside the main road is also questionable. The only reasonable conclusion is that such a construction would have prevented the construction of sheds for Perahera viewing where interested parties can earn massive amounts of money by selling these seats to foreigners.

Another often overlooked issue is the colossal waste of fuel and hence money when vehicles travel in traffic jams. No one has calculated this but calculations done in Colombo estimates that traffic congestion results in a loss of revenue amounting to Rs. 15 billion annually!

In conclusion, I wish to state that the bigger issue is traffic congestion around the Kandy lake road, loss of productivity due to time wastage, colossal waste of money due to extra fuel combustion and of course increased air pollution. Therefore, I wish to appeal to the new President and the Prime minister to open up the closed road in front of the Dalada maligawa to vehicular traffic and also take some meaningful steps to solve the traffic problem in Kandy.

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Latest comments

  • 10
    2

    I think people there under-estimate the affects of sound pollution. I don’t think its even recognised as a problem.

    The continuous tooting of the horns, the loudspeakers with lottery vendors etc can seriously add to people’s stress when combined with the dust and the grime.

    People in Colombo and suburbs are visibly more stressed than in the villages. When considering reducing pollution everything including air, sounds and even lights needs to be taken into consideration.

    • 10
      20

      Prof. O.A. Ileperuma

      Agree with you, there is is this unnecessary pollution and traffic congestion. Why?

      Thre is no peace dividend for the locals at Kandy? Why? Because of some “Claims” that the Temple houses “Buddha’s Tooth”. So I would recommend, get several Straw man environmentalists, to attack the “problem” on multiple ways.

      1. Head on: Make a claim that it was not the “Tooth of the Buddha” and it was fake. If they claim it is, ask them to do a Carbon dating of the tooth, and make sure it was a human tooth. Wasn’t Buddha cremated?

      2. Put up a wall between the road and the temple, so that if any idiot wants to blow up the fake tooth and the fake temple, he/she will damage only the wall. Most of the last idiots who tried to blow up the temple went to where they belong.

      3. Challenge the politicians, on Social Media posters web sites etc. Make them look like what they are, Idiots.

      Deja Vu..

      • 17
        11

        Amarasiri,
        I feel so sorry for you!! You shouldn’t even live in Kandy!!
        “Claims” “Tooth of Buddha” ” Carbon dating”
        Seriously dude???.
        You completely destroyed the value of the original article!!

        • 8
          2

          Sripala

          “Tooth of Buddha” . It gets on the nerves and emotions.

          “You completely destroyed the value of the original article!!”. The Author did not want to venture there, due to obvious reasons, but commentators, certainly can point out. You certainly had no problem with “Most of the last idiots who tried to blow up the temple went to where they belong.”

          Let us call a Spade, a Spade. If the Earth rotates, and goes around the Sun, let’s call it that way, instead of believing in illusions.

          It was not there, before it arrived in Kandy, according to the Chronicles. It is safer to move the “Tooth of Buddha” to a new “safer” location, and avoid this big environmental pollution and the hardship people faced.

          Even “Carbon dating”, proving one way or the other, will not change the minds of the faithful. It is like the Catholic Church and Faithful. The sun goes around the Earth, because it is in the Bible, Joshua 10:13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped … .

          Temple of the Tooth

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_the_Tooth

          Sri Dalada Maligawa (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී දළදා මාළිගාව Tamil: ஸ்ரீ தலதா மாளிகை) or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a UNESCO world heritage site mainly due to the temple.

          Monks of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily worship in the inner chamber of the temple. Rituals are performed three times daily: at dawn, at noon and in the evenings. On Wednesdays there is a symbolic bathing of the relic with an herbal preparation made from scented water and fragrant flowers, called Nanumura Mangallaya. This holy water is believed to contain healing powers and is distributed among those present.

          The temple sustained damage from bombing by LTTE terrorists in 1998 but was fully restored each time.

        • 6
          4

          Sripala,

          RE: “Tooth of Buddha” ”

          With due respect for the enlightened Buddha, Buddhism does not need a Tooth to practice Buddhism. Sinhala Buddhism, does, and in addition needs Tress, Buildings and even the lies and imaginations of Mink Mahanama of Mahawansa.

          Did Buddha visit Lanka, the Land of the Native Veddah Aethho 3 times as claimed in the Mahawansa and Dipawansa? What happened to Tamil Buddhists? Buddhaghosa?

          Read:

          Mahavamsa- An Insult To The Buddha! By Sharmini Serasinghe –

          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mahavamsa-an-insult-to-the-buddha/

          Caution- The following is more suitable for the broad-minded and the wise. Others are kindly advised to pass!

          Wonder if ours might have been a wiser, and a more ‘humane’ society, had our ‘ancient’ history, been based on Aesop’s Fables, instead of the Mahavamsa. For if not for the Mahavamsa, the Sinhalese may not have been endowed, with the reputation, of “Sinhalaya Modaya (The Sinhalese are Fools)”!

          Then, there is the ‘Dalada Maligawe’ in Kandy; most Buddhists believe, the tooth relic housed within, belonged to the Buddha. Some adorn the ‘tooth casket’ with mounds of gold jewelry, fervently believing, that they would earn merit, to the value of the gold they offer. The thought of donating the value of this gold, to feed and help, the poor, sick and the needy, that would be far more meritorious, never cross their minds!

          There hangs a controversial question, over the authenticity of this ‘sacred tooth’. But then again, to those ‘educated and intelligent Buddhists’, devoid of wisdom, if the Buddha, was taller than the Avukana statue, and had a giant footprint, as on Adam’s Peak, then this ‘huge tooth’ could be his!

          However it does not matter, if the tooth is over-sized, belonged to the Buddha or not, because he the ‘wise one’ asserted, that his followers must not revere, nor worship, any part of his physical self, nor idolize him. Had the Buddha wanted otherwise, he would have left not just a tooth, but his entire skeleton, for his followers to worship.

          The annual Esala Perahera, in Kandy, is yet another case in point. This colourful and spectacular ‘parade’ of the ‘tooth relic’, atop a magnificent elephant, is nothing but an ego-boosting exercise, of small minded men of yore, and now, a tradition of small minded men of the present. The ‘Esala Perahera’ therefore, is no relation of Buddhism!

          • 4
            6

            Amarasiri,
            Seems like you have lot of free time in your life :)
            And of course it is likely that you may not be a Buddhist as well, no offense
            Calm down dude!! If you could use ur free time and energy to find a solution to the original purpose of the article, which is “Traffic in Kandy and Environmental pollution”” (seems like you got lost in the middle) Bravo!!!

            • 5
              4

              Siripala

              “Seems like you have lot of free time in your life”

              Right now, between the Word Cup 2015 Cricket matches, where 22 people throw, hit and chase a stupid leather ball, yes, a little bit of time. It is not much different from what religions do, except that there is no ball, less exercise for the players, but very profitable for the priests, monks and mullahs, unless they climb steps or a mountain or mountains.

              With due respect, what the author talks about is the Cause and Effect of Pollution on the health, environment, traffic congestion, and hardships faced by the people because the Dalada Veediya (Street), the CAUSE, is closed.

              CAUSE is a reason why something happens. The good Professor O. A. Ileperuma did not go beyond the closing of the street, as the main CAUSE of the EFFECT. The Prof. also touched upon the fact that it was open for 100 years before the LTTE bombing.

              EFFECT is what happens as a result.

              The CAUSE cannot be removed, because, one Mahanayaka objected. The Politicians are afraid, want to be politically correct.

              “..when the police consulted the Asgiriye Maha Nayaka thero, he vehemently objected and even got the nod from the President to keep the road closed.”

              So, the CAUSE goes deeper, to the “Tooth of Buddha” . Three options should be given to the Asgiriye Maha Nayaka thero and the ‘Politicians”.

              1. Open the Dalada Veediya, street. Solution

              2. Subject the “Buddha Tooth” to forensic analysis including carbon dating to confirm or deny its authenticity that it belongs to Buddha. The Results:

              a) If it belongs to Buddha, move it to Mahiyangana Vihara. More serene and very historical.

              b) If it does not, Open the Dalada Veediya, and reduce pollution and traffic congestion. The Monks can continue to do what they did before, everybody being well aware it is a fake.

              Do you have a problem with that?

              You can still practice Sinhala Buddhism, or just Buddhism with or without the Tooth, Fake or not.

              By the way what is your definition of a

              a) Buddhist

              b) Sinhala Buddhist?

              There seem to be a lot of confusion here.

              • 7
                2

                A,

                “1. Open the Dalada Veediya, street. Solution” Bravo!

                Good Luck n May God Bless You!!

                S

                • 2
                  3

                  “God bless” can’t open the Dalada veediya now. They left the country after dividing the dalada veediya by constructing a road across the premises and church.we will not allow anybody to open a road within the Dalada Maligawa Remember your grand father’s father was a Buddhist.

              • 1
                0

                This reply is for amarasiri. I do think that you should get your brain checked. If you dont like the buddhist values in this country, you are free to go anywhere else where you could value your own beliefs. If you are living here keep your mouth shut and abide to buddhism. If not go somewhere else. Simple as that. Also if you are suggesting that the tooth relic should be taken to mahiyangana, didnt your pea brain get the thought that it would be much easier to shift all the schools outside kandy city rather than trying to destroy a historic icon? Do you have any idea how many schools are there? Also kandy is a heritage city Named by unesco. Do you know what that means? It means you cannot even change a brick unless there approval and it should be the way it is even if you rennovate. Even your trymeepala toiya cannot do anything to change it. So dont argue about something you cant do. So might as well urge your yahapalana toots to take the schools away from the city and reduce traffic and polluton in the city. Or else make an alternate route. There are flyovers made within few days in sri lanka,and already 1 year wasted nothing done but fight over for a shut down road rather than building one. Why? Trying to save tax money so that they can fill up the money that was stolen from the central bank? Just accept the fact that the new govt. is incapable of making an alternate route and also they dont have money to build a alternate route, but fight for the old A26 road and creating disputes amongst people. Its the total incapability of the jahapalana govt. Just accept the fact that they dont have money. But have money to bring in air ambulances and send hypocrits to mount elizabeth for treatment from people’s tax money.

          • 2
            4

            You are a fake. your real father is not Amarasiri follow up DNA test and prove it, U speak sinahala but not a real Sinhalese may be an example of the invaders like Portuguese , Indian soli or Muslims

            • 5
              3

              anura Laxman

              “You are a fake. your real father is not Amarasiri follow up DNA test and prove it, U speak sinahala but not a real Sinhalese may be an example of the invaders like Portuguese , Indian soli or Muslims”

              Interesting Observation.

              All, except Native Veddah Aethho are Paras from South India, called Dravidians. They all came by Illegal Boats, Hora Oru, Kalla-Thoni. except Native Veddah Aethho, who walked 25,000 to 30,000 years ago to claim their Land, when the seal levels were low. The Dravidian South and Easy indian Paras came much later.

              Yes, everybody is a Para, except the Native Veddah Aethho. That includes the Parsa-sinhala, Para-Demala, para-mislim, Para-Portuguese ( Parangi), Para-Dutch,( OOlanda- Parangi), Para- English ( Engreesi Parangi), Para-Malay ( Ja-Parangi) and the recent arrivals from Kerala Para-Karve-Parangi.

              Det your DNA Tested. You can find your relatives in Dravida-Land or Dravida-Nadu.

              Please note, The word Para, shortened form of Para-Deshio, Foreigner, is not used here as a derogatory word, as some may think, but to indicate that these groups are Foreigners in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

      • 5
        5

        Who are you to write like this [Edited out] boot polisher of white goons you can,t write about Buddhism like that remove your fake church from our temple premises

        • 5
          3

          anura

          “Who are you to write like this [Edited out] .. “

          Only Agnostics can recognize the stupidity of the faithful. Do not worry. Sinhala Buddhists have plenty of company in this scared field.

        • 0
          0

          Anura
          You are wrong.
          If not for the white colonials you will not have the present Maligawa,the glorious perhara,the roads,the schools and even the house occupied by the diyawadana nilame which was the house built for Sir John Doyle. Learn your history and you are acting like our version of Taliban.Buddhism is a tolerant religion and you guys shows nothing but intolerance and utter stupidity and even deceit. They make money out of that place.

  • 20
    9

    The traffic congestion will have no impact on Ven Mahanayakes since their Mercs get Police clearance.

    The road should be opened to reduce traffic congestion.

    The Politicians from Kandy will not want to talk about this due to sensitivity.

    Imagine the time and money that could be saved in addition to impact on environment.

    But who cares!!!

    • 3
      2

      Jagath Fernando

      “The Politicians from Kandy will not want to talk about this due to sensitivity.”

      Who elects the politicians? The People.

      Who elects the Asgiriye Maha Nayaka thero? Another bunch of theros who aspite to be Asgiriye Maha Nayaka thero? A vicious circle?

      The politicians pay homage to the Asgiriye Maha Nayaka thero thinking that all or most of the people support the decisions of Asgiriye Maha Nayaka thero.

      However, Namal Rajapaksa, had night auto races, with the blessings of the the then President Rajapaksa, father of Namal.

      Since one Mahanayaka, the sensible one, had no obkection, the people need to apply pressure on the Asgiriye Maha Nayaka thero to agree to the opening. Threaten to move the Tooth to the Mahiyangana Temple, where it belongs.

      People power and agitation will open the Street. Ask JVP to do it. V is for Vimukthi, liberation, from the Asgiriye Maha Nayaka thero imposed pollution.

  • 15
    8

    You are quite right prof. Here in this country foolhardy politicians do whatever it suits to their agenda ie. vote bank! Nothing in their empty head……
    At least, Ranil tried to do something but he fails with the stupid masses….

    • 6
      4

      MirakRajBanda

      “At least, Ranil tried to do something but he fails with the stupid masses”

      These is support for your hypothesis.

      http://www.photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html

      National IQ Scores – Country Rankings
      http://www.photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html
      SOURCE: Richard Lynn, Tatu Vanhanen, Jelte Wicherts.

      Rank
      ——– Country
      ———————– %
      ————-
      1 Singapore 108
      2 South Korea 106
      3 Japan 105
      ,
      .
      28 Sri Lanka 79

      The intelligence scores came from work carried out earlier this decade by Richard Lynn, a British psychologist, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish political scientist, who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries, and from subsequent work by Jelte Wicherts, a Dutch psychologist.

      • 6
        6

        you can go to he… with Ranil, we will not allow to open the road constructed by the British

  • 15
    18

    Do vehicles run in Mecca, Vatican, Amritsar, Jerusalem???

    This is a most venerable religious shrine. Its tranquility should be preserved. In the first instance traffic should have been banned.
    During Premadasa regime motor races were held on this road???

    I am from Kandy and vehemently oppose moves to open this road for WHATEVER REASON, while agreeing with Professor’s observations.

    • 5
      5

      J K Wijedasa

      “This is a most venerable religious shrine.”

      Yes, agree, a most venerable religious shrine, for Sinhala Buddhists, but it was not always there in Kandy. It was used by the kings and Priests to project power. Now the kings are the politicians and the priests are still there. The Temple and the Tooth has become a tourist attraction as well, and commercialized.

      Put the Tooth in the Mahiyangana Temple, Mahiyangana Raja Maha Vihara. where First Buddhism came to Lanka, according to the chroniclers, and only the true pios Buddhists will visit there

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahiyangana_Raja_Maha_Vihara

      Buddha’s visit

      Historical sources, including the ancient chronicle Mahavamsa, record that the Buddha visited the Mahiyangana area in the ninth month after he attained enlightenment, which was his first visit to the country.[3] According to the Mahavamsa, Sri Lanka was inhabited by yakshas at the time. It says that the Buddha subdued the yakshas there and held a discourse on Dhamma with them. They were then sent to an island named Giri so that the country would be “purified” and Buddhism could be established there later on, where it would prevail “in all its glory”.[3]

      Several kings have since renovated and enlarged this stupa, including Dutthagamani[5] who raised it to a height of 120 feet (37 m). Other rulers such as Voharika Tissa, Sena II, Vijayabahu I and Kirti Sri Rajasinha have carried out repairs and maintenance work at the temple. In 1942, a society was formed for the renovation of the temple under D. S. Senanayake. Reconstruction work began in 1953 and ended in 1980 with the completion of a new pinnacle for the stupa.[4][6]

  • 9
    8

    Gota’s UDA would have solved these problems but you gave him the push. Kandy would have been as clean as Colombo.

  • 15
    8

    Obviously Mr. Wijedasa has not read my article. This is not a road meant to travel to the Maligawa. This has been the A26 highway to Mahiyanagana for a long time. This road reopening is not for pilgrims but the suffering public. Even in Sri Lanka we have roads which are closed to traffic in some places like the Sri maha bodiya and only pilgrims visit that site and this does not affect daily commuters. All other places of worship such as Mecca, Jerusalam etc. have dedicated roads leading only to the shrine with no hassle to the daily commuters.

    • 11
      7

      So the solution is modify A26. Most of the Mahanuwara town is ancient lands of Dalada Maligawa. Remove even those businesses.

    • 5
      3

      Ileperuma

      “This has been the A26 highway to Mahiyanagana for a long time.”

      That is where the temple and the sacred Tooth of the Tooth need to be, Mahiyanagana.

      There is Temple, Vihara there that can accommodate the Tooth.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahiyangana_Raja_Maha_Vihara

    • 3
      1

      What is the meaning of “Road to Mahiyangana for a long time” ?? This access road and the church constructed by the British after capturing the Palace and remove all valuables. there was no road before 1815 …We will not allow to open a road within the premises

  • 2
    5

    Look like [Edited out] because of the road closure.

  • 11
    12

    This so called Temple of the Tooth was the palace of the last king of Kandy where he and his family lived. During that time it was not a place of Buddhist worship for the masses. The place asserted a high Religious importance only after the King was deposed and the premises fell in to the hands of the Buddhist priests of Asgiriya and Malwatte. Yet for the entirety of the British rule and a further fifty years after Independence the adjacent roads were public property used by the public for their convenience. It was only after the the LTTE attack that the roads closed and now remains closed inconveniencing the public where the Buddhist Clergy have conveniently taken ownership.

    Worshiping body parts is not a Buddhist practice even if the relic belongs to Buddha. This practice of worshiping body parts have derived from Jainism. Besides Buddha described the body as a mass of abhoring matter (Jarawa) not something to be venerated. Buddha while he was living never encouraged or allowed any to idol worship him in order to attain Nirvana. He never preached so. This practice of venerating Buddha has been adopted by the Buddhist Clergy for their own advantage and sustenance. To begin with the size of the canine tooth on display should fit a bone structure of a figure easily towering over fifteen to sixteen feet in height. There is no such record of a Nepalese living among this mountain race who were comparatively short in height. Therefore it is no wonder that Buddhist myths propagate that Buddha was towering over eighteen feet ( Daha ata riyan) to match the canine. To begin with this tooth was moved from place to place after it fell in to the hands of the Portuguese who is supposed to have crushed the original and what is there now is a fake. If only the Buddhists and the Clergy agree to carbon test the tooth, to establish the authenticity will save a lot of anguish, without blindly continuing to worship something which is not.

    My qualm is with the LTTE buggers for not having blown the palace and the tooth in to smithereens so that there could have been a wide roadway for the convenience of all in Kandy without a fuss.

    • 7
      10

      Gamini,

      Buddhism in Sri Lanka is really an aberration of all that Buddha preached. Buddha will be appalled to see so many people being inconvenienced due to a purported fraction of his tooth. He will be appalled to see Gnanasara claiming to be a follower of his philosophy. What a joke Buddha and his philosophy has become in Sri Lanka.

      Kandy Maligawa was built and occupied by the Nayakkars of South Indian origin who bought themselves into kingly status, who could not even speak the local lingo. Countless Sinhala Sri Lankans are content to fall on their knees in this edifice built by the very same people who they so murderously hate.

      Thirdly, most of the politicians in Kandy, both MPs and Mayors have always been pambayas, gutless morons who are held hostage by all kind of Nikayakas, mainly the Malwatta and Asgiriya Nikayakas – parasites in saffron robes who prey on the ignorance of the masses.

      I totally agree with content of your last paragraph.

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        Gamini expose your real name do not talk about Buddhism Its our right to protect Buddhism like Islam, Christian Hindu etc.

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      What do u mean by SO CALLED ??? are u catholic , Hindu..??? Or shoe polisher of white goons

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      Gamini,
      I was with you until I confronted your last paragraph, where you suddenly went totally feral. No one in their right mind would want to wish a place of historic value , never mind the fake tooth, be blown to pieces .!
      Allowing light vehicles during the day and closing the road , at night might be the way to go , considering religious feelings.

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      It was not a holy or sacred place.we must not worship or exploit body parts of the great teacher. This barricade is used by the privileged scum to divide and rule.One of them used his Tamil colleague to refurbish the maligawa and the contractors were linked to the ltte.Bomb attack came useful to put barricades to prevent access to the taxpaying public but no restrictions for the privileged scum bags who use that road daily. It is truly an example of a religion been exploited for gain and to divide and rule. These people are not really Buddhists.

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    I think this issue has to be dealt rationally and not emotionally. The question as to whether the genuineness of the tooth relic is not of relevance here. What is relevant is the opening of the road. Unfortunately in a peaceful environment authoritarian decision making has no place and there are a lot of stake holders in decision making. Don’t forget the fact that one of the reasons of MARA being booted out by the voters was that he and his brother GOTA performed in an authoritarian manner in which no body dared to question.

    The author of the article has made his point with respect to the pollution and it agrees with common sense although I may have asked a lot more questions and pointed gaps had it being presented at a scientific gathering. For starters, why not open the road for light vehicular traffic with no tooting, no parking and no waiting within that stretch. Close all entrances to the Maligawa from the A26 road so that their is no question of VIPs or VVIPs getting down near the Maligawa but walk the distance as MARA puts it. Police the area well so that no abuse takes place. I am quite confident should these measures be taken and the results be observed for a period of 3 months, those who oppose the opening will soften their stance.

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    Dear Professor,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I require to visit Kandy perhaps twice a year on work and dread the experience due to the unbearable traffic. These fools have effectively cut the town in half. I just cannot understand how residents of Kandy have put up with this nonsense for so long.

    The way I see it, they have three options, one is to immediately open the road, the second is to widen the lake road (highly improbable due to urbanization. and the third is to cut a new road, perhaps through Trinity College over the hill (very expensive option indeed).

    I am compelled to visit Kandy sometime during the next two weeks…..certainly NOT something I am looking forward to!

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      Diluk Desinghe

      You are correct . These ‘ fools ‘ should open the road immediately . After all , you travel to Kandy TWICE A YEAR on work , and should not be inconvenienced . To hell with the Maligawa and the concerns of experts who think that pollution caused by traffic could have an adverse impact on this iconic building .

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      Diluk Desinghe

      “The way I see it, they have three options,.”

      “This is not a road meant to travel to the Maligawa. This has been the A26 highway to Mahiyanagana for a long time.”

      What about a fourth Option, moving the Tooth and the Temple to Mahiyangana, where it should have or would have stayed and it on Mahiyangana road to begin with.

      The Mahanayakas would never allow for that,,, loss of good business.

      So, come to a compromise: Open the Road or move the Temple to Mahiyangana.

      Expose the Mahanayakas and the Politicians. Make them look stupid and idiots. Sooner or later, even idiots will get it, if they are average idiots.

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    For a start, this could be one-way (from Kandy) and may be the rest of the lake round too to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.
    First of all the mind-set has to change of all parties to accept that THERE IS A PROBLEM.

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    yes prof. its only 100yrs this was constructed by the British together with the church constructed within the temple premises So its to be removed with the church now. We don’t agree with your comment. There will be no Ranil Gvt, in the country to remove the barrier its a dream mind your own business

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    Hello Illeperuma who are you ?? There was no road near the temple before 1815 Have u read the history of Sri Lanka You can go to England with Ranil and do such things

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      The relic was brought to the Maligawa by the British in 1824 to purify that place once used by a tyrant..

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    This is a very valid, timely needed suggestion. I appreciate the writer for bringing this up again for the knowledge of the authorities. Primarily the closure of the road affects the health of many people at all ages. People are highly worried about the kidney disease in the dry zone. This is also a silent killer of the people living in Kandy and suburbs.

    There are always leg-pullers in our society. I don’t think Asgiriya Mahanayake Thero could understand these scientific facts – the level of Sulfur dioxide levels of 0.03 ppm and 0.08 ppm and to realize the danger of it when exceeding threshold levels. These are decisions to be taken by the government after consultation of scientists and health department, rather than other organizations that may be seeking their survival. It is sad to hear that former president did not look at this menace for the benefit of people in the city of Kandy. Probably he too could not understand this as he did not stay in Kandy so long, just coming and going.

    Somehow this is a serious situation, the people should by force remove the barrier and use the road, if it is not opened to rectify the issue. This is because a silent killer of the people in Kandy.

    Hope current President will make this road open as suggested, by ignoring all the protests coming from ignorant people.

    Thank you Professor Ileperuma for this most important message.

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      Dear,
      Once you open the road these air pollution” the level of Sulfur dioxide levels of 0.03 ppm and 0.08 ppm ” will come to the temple and the city The problem is the distance So you can propose a new fly over or new access elsewhere These roads, cemetery and the church were constructed by the British
      Why can’t u understand that ?? Please expose your religion first?? We will not allow anybody to open a road through the temple You suppose to do it with Ranil, Jhon,let’s see next election we will give you a good solution

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    Well, this street would have been used even for centuries by people, to go to Mahiyangana at a time when Sri Lanka did not have a terrorist problem. Now that we have experienced the consequences of that, we should never allow it to be reopened, as the serenity of this place had been maintained for over a decade after the attack on the Maaligawa by the LTTE. Only a very politically biased person in a high position like Malwatte Sanaghanayake will have no objection to reopen it. The writer of this article probably a non Buddhist or some one who is a name sake Buddhist like Malwatte priest, does not seem to care about the Buddhist values. Next time he might suggest to build a highway by the side of Sri Maha Bhodi in Anuradhapura which leads to Jaffna because it is convenient for people of Anuradhapura to go to Medawachchiya & Vavunia up to Jaffna.

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    Whatever public statements are offered by politicians and bureaucrats in defence of the disaster that is clearly documented with regard to innocent children’s (and adults’) health within the Kandy lake environment, and the major inconvenience that cost ordinary citizens many extra stressful hours every day they travel around the lake, it boils down to preserving the status quo and inflated egos of religious personalities whose mandate it is surely not, to preside over this issue.

    The issue has to be discussed and decided upon, purely from a city planning, engineering, security and police intelligence point of view, rather than on the personal whims of those least affected by the serious problems, due intransigence of uneducated but pompous little dictators who masquerade as religious leaders.

    Lets hope good sense prevails, and knowledgeable and wise people who have subject information are allowed to decide and influence decision-makers.

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    I too was treated by Dr Arnoma in last august for Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It affected my breathing within days of my arrival in Kandy from UK.I thought London was polluted but Kandy was worse.I left SL 3 months ago and the illness is still there,but not so severe as before.My eldest brother who is 84 years old has a severe breathing problems who is also treated by Dr Arnoma.Two of my elder sisters and a brother died of severe breathing problems due to pollution in Kandy.Two years ago I took air samples to UK and found the air in three places in SL polluted.Mathale was the worse place and Kandy came close second.
    I think whole of the Indian ocean area is polluted. I remember the air stewardess sneezing and tearing in the eyes, soon the aircraft entered the Indian ocean area,inspite of sophisticated inbuilt environment control systems in the modern aircraft.
    Every time I visited Kandy the GPs gave powerful steroids to supress the symptoms. Opening the road by the Maligawa will help. I appealed to the highest authorities as possible but to no avail. Water too is polluted in Polonaruwa area where I had to attend the funeral of my sister’s son in law, who died of kidney failure. I had to attend 7 funerals in 3 months and some could have been prevented if the politicians do the right thing. But they have imposed severe restrictions to subjugate the people and divide and rule..

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    Nothing will happen since it will be political suicide to open the road without the blessings of the Mahanayskes.

    Mahanayskes will not allow since it will erode their power over politicians.

    May be a new Merc or a Porsche to the Mahanayskes may do the trick.

    MARA used to give new Mercs every 3-4 years from tax payers money even though there is sufficient unaccounted loot at the temple to buy a new fleet.

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    Prof Ileperuma has made a very rational and logical explanation on the need to reopen the road by the Dalada Maligawa. Unfortunately, most of the responses don’t address any of the issues he has raised.

    As a person who travels to Kandy infrequently, I nevertheless have realized each time I go the craziness of the traffic plan, even after some uniflow routes have been introduced. Over the past year or so I have come to the conclusion that traffic jams in Kandy are indeed much worse than those in Colombo! The single most obvious cause of this is the block of *any* traffic on the road by the Maligawa.

    As such, for any non-fanatical citizen of the country, it should be clear that the threat to the Maligawa is hugely less than the inconvenience to the people by reopening the road.

    However, I also do feel that owing to the rapid increase of vehicular trafic, most likely sooner rather than later, the entire route around the lake would have to be uniflow. This in turn would mean that all traffic passing the Maligawa would flow in one direction, leading to less noise pollution too. It could also be afforded the same status as a ‘horn free zone’ as near hospitals for instance.

    Hope the government would take quick and decisive action on this one without consulting all and sundry – esp illogical pseudo-devotees.

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    This reply is for amarasiri. I do think that you should get your brain checked. If you dont like the buddhist values in this country, you are free to go anywhere else where you could value your own beliefs. If you are living here keep your mouth shut and abide to buddhism. If not go somewhere else. Simple as that. Also if you are suggesting that the tooth relic should be taken to mahiyangana, didnt your pea brain get the thought that it would be much easier to shift all the schools outside kandy city rather than trying to destroy a historic icon? Do you have any idea how many schools are there? Also kandy is a heritage city Named by unesco. Do you know what that means? It means you cannot even change a brick unless there approval and it should be the way it is even if you rennovate. Even your trymeepala toiya cannot do anything to change it. So dont argue about something you cant do. So might as well urge your yahapalana toots to take the schools away from the city and reduce traffic and polluton in the city. Or else make an alternate route. There are flyovers made within few days in sri lanka,and already 1 year wasted nothing done but fight over for a shut down road rather than building one. Why? Trying to save tax money so that they can fill up the money that was stolen from the central bank? Just accept the fact that the new govt. is incapable of making an alternate route and also they dont have money to build a alternate route, but fight for the old A26 road and creating disputes amongst people. Its the total incapability of the jahapalana govt. Just accept the fact that they dont have money. But have money to bring in air ambulances and send hypocrits to mount elizabeth for treatment from people’s tax money.

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