By C. Wijeyawickrema –
If NPCM Wigneswaran and TNA members want to help Jaffna famers there is an unusual book that they should read. The principal author of this book of collection of essays, “Community based water conservation and development: two contrasting examples from Sri Lanka and from Russia” (OPRO Printers, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, September 2013) is the well-known engineer D.L.O. Mendis. With names and dates, he alleges, that the River for Jaffna project was derailed half-way from its completion by two or three non-engineers holding high-level positions in GOSL, just by exchanging a few e-mails between them! Despite this arbitrary act, a technical committee which had the task of prioritizing the water resource development projects to be undertaken in the island listed River for Jaffna as the new number one priority. Therefore, instead of promoting Tamil separatism by way of planting maaveerar trees or using the word genocide, Wigneswaran can help Jaffna people by getting the RfJ project resurrected ASAP. DLOM’s book gives all the information he needs to request, if necessary, funding help from David Cameron, Manmohan Singh or the Canadian one, via MahindaR.
Cows and engineers
DLOM’s book reminded me two engineering episodes that I could never forget. One was about the Mahaveli Authority engineers. They had a hard time figuring out why cows and buffaloes did not use the bridges that they built for the animals to cross the irrigation canals so that the canal bunds do not get damaged. The bridges were at the identified cattle crossings. When this cow issue came to the attention of a new Director General (and who told me this story), who was a people oriented manager, and a believer in the value of “community knowledge,” he asked the field engineers to arrange a joint meeting with the area farmers.
At this high-powered meeting farmers were listening to technical, cost-benefit kind of discussion going on between head office staff and the field engineers. After witnessing this drama patiently, an elderly famer finally got up and said “cows do not like the bridges because under the hot sun concrete bridges are like burning hot coal. Cows simply did not want to get their hooves burnt. Before the meeting turns into another technical discussion, the farmer also volunteered to offer a solution: He said, “You make adjustment to cover the surface of the bridge with a thick layer of soil.” The DG told me that after this meeting one engineer was talking about applying for a patent, and he told him if so make it a joint one with the farmer. The other was a personal experience of visiting an abandoned working class housing scheme at Nuwara Eliya, built on a hill top by civil engineers of the then Cement Corporation because cement was available in plenty. They were all concrete structures, ice cold for most months of the year and were not habitable even by wild dogs. How engineers lost the ability to use commonsense or to benefit from the “social capital” available in plenty with village farmers can be due at least partly to the concrete not soil-based education they have received in an ex-colony of the West. From arts graduates who joined CCS (now CAS) to medical or engineering students have received an education based on the humiliation theory—natives and native systems were primitive and needs modernization or Europeanization. This Eurocentric thinking (Europe is superior) created a perpetual class of black-whites, not just in Ceylon but all over the colonial and ex-colonial world.
Black-whites are not, they become
Mendis in his book does not use the phrase black-whites, but the message in the book is that at least in the field that he is an expert, in irrigation, hydraulic engineering has prevailed, ignoring the native (ancient?) concept of eco-villages. Thus, Jungle clearing is the first budget item in irrigation projects, and no space for soil restoration. It is amazing that in a dog-eating-dog world of white R2P and Geneva Human Rights, very few knows that (ancient) paddy farmer in Sri Lanka kept a small plot of the paddy field reserved exclusively for birds. The delicate ancient water conservation systems (Irrigation canal systems) became objects to be cleared (destroyed) for the construction of modern concrete reservoirs, big and bigger. Using historical evidence Mendis demonstrates that Sri Lanka should go back to its ancient eco-systems approach of using water for human benefit.
He compares the eco village idea that became popular with the Ringing Cedar Series by the Russian, Vladimir Mergre (p.5) to home gardens found in the Jaffna peninsula and the dry zone of Sri Lanka. In 1857 the colonial secretary Emerson Tennent compared these Jaffna gardens with the market gardens of Fulham and Chelsea in London (p. 9). With mostly stupid politicians of all colors paying lip services to sustainable development, the destruction of the environment and eradication of past heritage is continuing, and Mendis’ book should be required reading for teachers of universities on the need to empower students with a balanced knowledge that everything European is not great (black-white mind set), and in the case of the story of water, Sri Lanka has had an admirable record.
Fool of bricks
The black-white mentality is pervasive from the president of the country to the GSN (grama sevaka niladharee). Generations of Sri Lankan people grew up under the humiliation paradigm of European colonialism. For them, the colonial master came to modernize, the primitive people in the island. They created an inferiority complex by humiliating natives. Everything that came from Europe was good, and a class of people received training in Christian boarding schools in Colombo, Jaffna and Kandy for example, on European habits and history. Ever since successive generations, even those who go to universities in the Sinhala medium, ended up as victims of this humiliated mind-set, becoming black-whites by default. It is a process of survival that traps them in—black-whites are not; they become.
This Eurocentric thinking is more visible today than in the past as more economic freedom and more “development” is supposed to be taking place today. It is for “development” that field officers of the archeology department give permits to dynamite granite rocks sites with ancient ruins. It is because of modernization that younger medical graduates think native Vedamahattya (Ayurvedic physician) is of no good, until they get older and seek his help as the western system they practiced cannot help them any longer. When LSSP Marxists in the 1940s called King Dutugemunu was a fool of bricks (for building the Ruvanveli Maha Saaya), was it due to stupidity, ignorance, or extremist political ideology? The irony is that white civil servants in Ceylon discovered, protected and valued ancient Sri Lankan ruins, whereas irrigation engineers and politicians in Sri Lanka after 1948 continued to destroy this heritage for short-term personal gain, placing the future generations at risk.
Black-white irrigation blunders
Mendis points out several “irrigation blunders” made in the past.
(1) One is the wrong location of the Uda Walave Reservoir. Rather than submerging all the ancient “small tanks”, the reservoir should have been located further upstream at a new site so as to command the systems of small tanks. This suggestion made in 1967 when the Uda Walawe headworks being constructed (1965-68) was ignored and the country is paying dearly for it by way of unmet water needs (p. 131).
(2) Similarly, the Lunugamvehera was selected (Lower Kirindi Oya Reservoir) without investigating the alternative site, Huratgamuwa site because of a political desire to rush through during 1978-86 (p. 124). By leveling off and submerging small tanks both Uda Walwe and Lunugamvehera projects led to ecological imbalances and mal-development (example: droughts in the Hambantota Area) (p. 192).
These projects were all components of the Southern Area (water resource development) Plan, based on hydraulic engineering perspective, while DLO Mendis had proposed a plan based on ecosystems perspective (p. 161, 168-9).
(3) The latest mistake, according to DLOM is the Implementation of the Moragahakande reservoir and the NCP Canal Project (p. 161). Like the two previous projects, this one was also undertaken without considering the alternatives. Because of the fact that NCP canal is a ridge channel (running along the central dividing ridge in the north-central part of the island) unlike the contour channels used by ancient irrigation canals such as the Jayaganga, DLOM thinks this will create an east-west water use conflict in the near future.
Tragedy of the commons
Politicians acting in haste or in an arbitrary manner created untold damage to the people of Sri Lanka and yet there is no learning from the past mistakes. This is called a new kind of tragedy of the commons, because it is an abuse of the public property by a temporary group of politicians in power at a given time. For example, When the Gal Oya project was in preparation the late Dr. S. A. Wickremasinghe suggested vehemently not to build one large downstream reservoir (known later as the Senanayaka Samudraya) but to construct a large number of upstream small reservoirs so that a better fit with the ecological and societal concerns could be achieved. The tax-paying general public of Sri Lanka has suffered so much because for known or unknown reasons politicians and engineers ignored his appeal, which now looks as nothing but commonsense advice.
May be JR Jayawardena was also involved in that decision as a minister. But a second disaster was made by JRJ when he implemented the Mahaveli Project, and when it became an accelerated one. Both the environment and the people had to suffer unnecessarily for this mega-techno experiment, and it was hurried for whose benefit? We only know that Mahaveli petrol had a green color added so as to try to prevent pilfering it. Mahaveli project is an insult to all those Sinhala kings who contributed to a water tank-based civilization in Sri Lanka. No one knows, to what extent, the Mahaveli blunder is responsible directly and or indirectly for increased landslides, micro climate changes, soil erosion and kidney failure disease in the dry zone of the island. The weight of the huge Victoria reservoir on a limestone-covered bed rock must have some repercussion.
Mendis now in his seventies is one of the engineers who did not become a victim of the black-whitening process. This is why he could escape from becoming a victim of the hydraulic engineering paradigm followed by engineers in developing the 1959 water resources development plan (p. 152). In 1956 R. L. Brohier presented a four-stage model of the development of ancient irrigation system in Sri Lanka (1. Rain water tanks, 2. Small village tanks, 3. Large reservoirs, each submerging a number of small tanks, and 4. augmentation of a large reservoir by diversion from a river (p. 131)). Brohier based his hypothesis on the increasing size of storage reservoirs, without any reference to the invention of the sluice. This made his model erroneous (p. 145).
In the 1980s a new paradigm replacing Brohier’s was presented by Mendis—a seven-stage hypothesis on the evolution and development of water and soil conservation ecosystems (irrigation systems) in ancient Sri Lanka (1. Rain fed agriculture, 2. Seasonal or temporary river diversion and inundation irrigation, 3. permanent river diversion and channel irrigation, 4. Development of weirs and spillways on irrigation channels, 5. invention of the sluice with its access tower (sorowwa and bisokotuwa). 6. Construction of storage reservoirs equipped with sluices, and 7. Damming a perennial river (p. 145))
The concept of Vetiya
Why so many abandoned small tanks (Brohier’s stage 3) was an enigma for irrigation engineers until the engineer P.A.G. Paranagama, around 1990, discovered by accident in the Mau Ara basin (Walawe left bank) that these were not bunds of abandoned small tanks, but examples of Vetiyas, a small earth bund, essentially a water conservation device built to raise the water table (p. 147). Each vetiya raised runoff in the Ara or Oya above the valley bottom and into the permeable reddish brown earth soils of the valley sides, before deflecting it around the vetiya so that it could drain back to the valley bottom and down to the next vetiya in the chain (p. 197). In South India, a small tank is called a yeri or eri, and the term includes the vetiya. The result of this system was that farmers had their “Dry Zone Forests Gardens” similar to the “Market Gardens” (home gardens) in Jaffna. In Jaffna the water table was raised by lift irrigation using groundwater whereas in the Dry Zone it was by gravity fed rain water using the vetiya.
River for Jaffna
The concept of River for Jaffna is therefore nothing but using the Vetiya idea kind of water conservation method to raise the groundwater level in the Jaffna Peninsula. If some modern “environmentalist” is worried about its environmental impact, the only adverse impact will be the need to change from fishing in brackish water lagoon to fishing in a fresh water lagoon. It is like tobacco framers are offered subsidy to change over to onion or chilly cultivation! Transition from brackish water to freshwater lakes will take time giving room for fishermen to adjust to the change.
The River for Jaffna does not mean creating a new river, overland concrete canal or a huge pipeline. The idea of converting several lagoons is the Jaffna peninsula into fresh water lakes is at least a century old. At present there are over 100,000 water wells in Jaffna and the top part of these wells hold fresh water. If well water is pumped out excessively then salt water underneath comes out and spoils cultivation. So the purpose of RfJ is to saturate the groundwater with fresh water lagoons and thus keep the salt water down. This can one day help in protecting these wells from the adverse effects of a possible sea-level rise due to global warming. The RfJ is simply a plan to augment the freshwater groundwater supply in the Jaffna peninsula by a erecting a few barrages so that the water coming from the Kanakarayan Aru and three smaller streams to the Elephant Pass Lagoon is taken to the Vadamarachchi Lagoon through Muliyan Link Channel.
While RfJ is half completed and it is evaluated as the number one priority by a recent expert committee a different more costly project is being promoted by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board with an ADB loan. This new project plans to take water from the Iranamadu tank to the city of Jaffna. This new project has the following components (i) Improvement of Irainamadu Head Works including high lift irrigation (ii) provision of water supply and sanitation in Jaffna Peninsula (iii) Sewerage and (iv) Construction of Assistant General Manager office building, OIC office and Quarters. Readers can compare the work involved under the new project with the work to be done under the RfJ project.
Water supply and sanitation in Jaffna project
Component 1: Improvement of Iranaimadu Headwork including high lift irrigation.
Component 2: Water Supply
- Construction of intake at Iranaimadu
- Construction of Treatment Plant at Palai (35,000m3/day)
- Supply and laying of treated transmission mains (44km)
- Supply and laying of distribution mains (284km)
- Construction of 17 nos of Elevated towers and 4 nos of Underground reservoirs.
Component 3: Sewerage
- Construction of sewerage net work
- Construction of Sewerage treatment plant at Kallundai
Component 4: Capacity Building – Construction of Assistant General Manager office building, OIC office and Quarters
Work need to be done to complete RfJ Scheme
Step 1: Recondition Thondamanaru Barrage
Refurbish the existing Thondamanaru Barrage (where the northern end of Vadamarachchi lagoon joins the sea) and improve the discharge gates to allow for discharge of flood water. This will make Vadamarachchi a fresh water lagoon. The existing barrage is no longer watertight and allows sea water to enter the lagoon.
Step 2: Recondition Ariyalai Barrage
Provide a spillway and gates at the southern end of Upparu Lagoon where it connects to the sea, near Ariyalai to make Upparu a fresh water lagoon. Provide a link channel between Vadamarachchi and Upparu lagoons so that fresh water from Elephant Pass lagoon can be supplied to Upparu lagoon. The spillway and gates were constructed, but the gates are no longer watertight and sea water enters Upparu lagoon.
Step 3: Complete Mulliyan Link Channel
Excavate a 12 metre wide, 4 km long channel, called the Mulliyan Link Channel, from the northern side of the Elephant Pass lagoon to convey fresh water from the Elephant Pass lagoon to the southern end of the Vadamarachchi lagoon, including regulatory gates to control the flow. Unfortunately only about 80% of this was completed when funds ran out.
Step 4: Complete Spill cum Causeway at Chundikulam
Build a bund at the eastern end of Elephant Pass lagoon at Chundikulam to prevent fresh water going to the sea at that end and a spillway to discharge excess flood water to the sea. This work was completed and Elephant Pass lagoon became a fresh water lagoon for a few years but unfortunately the bund was breached by subsequent heavy floods, thus allowing sea water access since then.
When RfJ could deliver to people of Jaffna Eco villages, GOSL is trying a massive project with ADB loans. Most people think such large projects have generated a class of commission-based officers and politicians. Sri Lanka has an evil triangle: politician, officer and NGO. It began may be thirty years ago, but it is in worse shape now in 2013. This triangle of black-whites is not interested in Small Is Beautiful, Eco Villages, Sustainable Development, global warming, landslide or soil erosion. Mega projects aimed at “modernization” whether it was agriculture or irrigation has failed to deliver all over the world. As Mendis points out in his book Sri Lankan dry zone and Jaffna limestone region gave home gardens to people for thousands of years without kidney failures.
The Eco village of the Russian Anastasia is nothing but the living Trinity of the Sri Lankan heritage. The village, the water tank and the temple (mosque/church) was an ecological unit that was in harmony with nature and with society. At a time when a debate is going on whether the need of the people is devolution of powers to politicians in the provinces or the empowerment of people at the village (GSN) level, Mendis’ book shows that eco villages is what we had and what we need. President MR who is now in trouble for acting like a Sinhala Vessantara by accepting 13-A, still has time to consider how the Jana Sabha concept, that he himself promoted some time back with a Director General of Jana Sabha, could be implemented at GSN level with units demarcated on the basis of ecology-geography-hydrology.
A non-political Jana Sabha system where people decide how to run their daily affairs is the only way to prevent genocide talks by Wigneswaran, to have a handle on crime and corruption rampant in the country and to prevent Sri Lanka divided into two warring units. I think Mendis is in a position to write a book linking the Eco Village concept with the GSN level empowerment of people living in eco villages as he is perhaps the only irrigation engineer who saw the link between water conservation and politics.
Fathima Fukushima / December 21, 2013
Stop talking nonsense.
There are NO rivers in Jaffna and there will not be.
The Professional / December 21, 2013
Of course. There is no river and DLOM’s plan does not have a river either. The barrages and bunds proposed were meant to create fresh water lagoons which have the capacity to supply drinking water perennially to Jaffna. The scheme was presented by DLOM at IESL and Minister of Water Supply, Dinesh Gunawardena and Chairman, NWS&DB were also in the audience. Now huge capital investments with foreign loans have become the trend. Persons like FF who do not understand what eco-friendly development means, are always in league with those who promote such styles.
C. Wijeyawickrema / December 21, 2013
It is sad that people with false name write comments without even reading the essays. This Fathima should read the essay to find out that I explained that there is no river in Jaffna.
How can we or when will we get an objective, intelligent and fearless readership that make us proud??
chandra / December 22, 2013
-This Fathima should read the essay to find out that I explained that there is no river in Jaffna.
How can we or when will we get an objective, intelligent and fearless readership that make us proud?-
This Fathima is none other than Lorenzo from LW. Not exactly the brightest crayon in the pack.
You post articles in LW dont you?
chandra / December 22, 2013
Man, What’s wrong posting articles in lankaweb?
Palmsquirrell / December 22, 2013
His only reason for being here is to agitate , troll and repeat the same line of thinking ad-nauseum.
Senguttuvan / December 21, 2013
A river for Jaffna, I believe originally proposed by Eng. Arumugam and carried on today by his son in the diaspora, is more than an economic-agricultural project. It has features that can contribute immensely to
reconciliation. While DLO/M and a few other Engineers seemed to have pushed hard for such an endeavour, their efforts continued to be stifled by Engineers and the State along clear racial lines. I recall a meeting at the OPA a few years ago, when I was a guest of a former President, when DLO/M also spoke on the subject. I was pained to hear a senior Engineer seated by my side shout “don’t give them water but give them bombs” to the horror of many. I am glad there are those like the writer willing and able to rise above the communal divide. The hard-working Jaffna farmer has established over the decades in the production of many badly needed items like Rice, Subsidiary foodstuffs despite a hostile and dry climate. Enabling him with badly needed water will, I suggest, will be in the wider national interest.
Dr.Rajasingham Narendran / December 22, 2013
The Jaffna river project if implemented would negate the need for water support,y scheme in Jaffna, where every home has a well. The subterranean water storage will improve and this will keep out the encroaching salinity. What remain to be done are:
1. A three kilometre canal to connect the elephant pass reservoir with the Jaffna canal system,
2. Provide for the excess Iranaimadu waters during the monsoons to flow into the a Elephant pass reservoir
3. Create a system to carry the excess water from the rains falling on Jaffna in to the lagging system.
Of course increasing the capacity of the Iranaimadu tank will augment the needs of the Kilinochchi farmers and make way for water to be released into the lagoon system when needed.
The inflow into the Irranaimadu tank can be also improved by connecting it to Mahaweli diversion system as envisaged. By the Sirimavo government.
What is needed urgently and firstly is to think beyond parochialism, both regional and national.
C. Wijeyawickrema / December 22, 2013
I am a Sinhala Buddhist grew up and living in an ocean of Christians. As a SB I cannot be racist as I go by what is reasonable. This is the Middle Path base of Buddhism.
The River for Jaffna is a reasonable thing. That is why I support it. I believe that Sri Lanka should have GSN (gramasevake niladhaaree) units based on ecology/hydrology. That kind of demarcation is language-blind and leaves no room for separatist talk.
The homeland idea must be destroyed because it is unreasonable. The problem in Sri Lanka today is corruption, crime and stupid politicians. Everybody except the rich suffer due to this.
Senguttuvan / December 22, 2013
I am glad you subscribe to Buddhism, a set of doctrines, that was a gift to the world from the great Indian sub-continent. The argument
has been the different interpretations – also under spirited discussion in these pages presently.
I am glad you consider yourself a reasonable man. The world becomes a better place if everyone bows down to reason. It is unfortunate Sri Lanka missed the bus for the dearth of such people and political leaders.
The Homeland theory in the NEP gets into national discourse more in the past few decades when one side complains they are being increasingly sidelined. For one, with presumably an engineering background, you will notice in the dichotomy seen in the development and resource-allocation for the Kurunegala District since 1948 and that of the neighbouring Jaffna-Mannar and EP in comparison. Since, instead of consideration and review, the Tamil areas were ignored by design and as a matter of political policy – some of their youth were reluctantly compelled to take to arms, which the world now recognises as not only reasonable but inevitable.
It is not merely corruption, crime and stupidity of politicians in the country that have brought in the virtual collapse of the State. What we now have is wholesale thievery, in the name of the nation and religion, by those who should know better and their thousands kith, kin and bootlickers. Drug-trafficking appears to be the virtual monopoly of VVIps. The country is bankrupt to the core and it will not be long before the bottom falls out. It is held back by artificial means – by treacherous means. One cannot blame the Tamils, in these circumstances, to ask for the means to shape their own future and not be part of a sinking ship.
As to the destruction of the Homeland feature you refer to, I must say, lack of effort by the State and its leading actors by no means can be a cause for complaint. The process has been on with all resources of the tri-forces thrown in for over 5 decades but the spirit and will of the other side seems unbreakable. The “issue”ow has crossed our borders and a formulae for settlement in on the horizon.
Banda / December 22, 2013
Senguttuvan talks about an unfair ‘development and resource-allocation for the Kurunegala District since 1948’ and ‘the Tamil areas were ignored by design and as a matter of political policy.’ Even if what Senguttuvan says is true, I would not have objected to that policy for several reasons.
For one; Tamils minority in Sri Lanka have enjoyed undue privileges like the whites in South Africa. For another; the Sinhalas were mistreated like the blacks in SA and their areas were deliberately given step motherly treatments by the British Raj for around 150 years before independence. Hence if Tamils were fair, they should have considered such special treatments as corrections of the injustices forced upon the majority and their areas just like the governments have done in Malaysia and SA is doing now.
But Tamils ain’t like the Chinese in Malaysia or the whites in SA. Tamils have a chip on their shoulder for they have no country of their own anywhere in the world. They want a country by hook or by crook. One could clearly see this mentality if he/she read the Tamil Nation website. Remember, Tamils have grouped with other Dravidians and demanded to carve out a separate country called ‘Dravida Nadu’ from India in the 1020s. Although all other Dravidians had shifted away from that separation ideology after the Indian independence, the jingoistic Tamils continued their agitation for a Tamil country. Even after India granting a mono ethnic jingoistic Tamil state called ‘Tamil Nadu’, DMK had contested 1962 state election on a separatist ticket and made a significant inroad to separation.
Realizing the gravity of what is to come, Nehru had introduced the 16th amendment to ban anyone that made slightest talk on separation from contesting elections. And that stopped the division of India by Tamils. Thereafter all Tamils had converged to enhance the Eelam project in Sri Lanka to get their pipe dream fulfilled. So, regardless of our offers, be they in India, Mauritius or wherever, Tamils will try to get their Eelam through different road maps. This Senguttuvan’s home-land is just one of them.
There is only one permanent answer for all this separation tactics. And that is to make the North a heterogeneous Province for all Sri Lanka citizens by hook or by crook.
Senguttuvan / December 22, 2013
I gave the example of the Kurunegala District for a comparison
with the Tamil-majority Provinces/Districts I mentioned – all of which virtually still remain in the early 19th century level. I am glad Kurunegala District is developed thanks to the political influence of successful political heavy-weights who came from the region who influenced the allocation of huge resources from the Centre. It also
gives me some pleasure to see minor traffic blocks in the Town – so far away from the metropolis. I do not envy the prosperous
Kurunegala, where I have many friends even today who host me for lunch/dinner when we pass by, but I am making the point for over
5 decades Tamils areas remain neglected – by design mostly.
I hope you agree with me it is time we changed the equation in the environment we have brought ourselves into.
I must add I helped a rural school in Mawatagama to gain proficiency in English, where many children there are now able to read, write and speak in English well. I initiated a programme to provide them new computers and a library. I introduced the school to some influential friends of mine in a Service Organisation in Colombo who built the project to such a high level President Rajapakse, joined by an Indian IT educator/billionaire, graced the opening about 3 years ago of the extended facility and assured to take several students from the school to his IT university in Bangalore. Arrangements are in place to find lucrative employment to the brighter GCE/AL students and Graduates from the Village in Colombo to realise my hope if children from that poor village can make it to a higher PQL they will help to improve villages around. All these children are those of subsistence farmers in the village who were walking barefoot when I first met them. A friend of mine, one of the largest makers of footwear in the country, gave me footwear worth a large sum in one of my initial visits there. All this I did in my many years of trying to bring the two major communities together.
Palmsquirrell / December 22, 2013
When you make absurd comments comparing Tamils to the situation with Whites in SA, the rest of your post doesn’t hold much promise. Tamils held high posts under the British because Tamils availed themselves of the education the British provided; it is not the Tamil’s fault the Sinhalese were less intrested in education.
Sinhala were never mistreated like Blacks; there was no segreagation by Tamils against the Sinhalese in Ceylon like in Apartheid South Africa . Tamils also did not run the security services and oppress the Sinhalese with the armed forces or the police. Quite the contrary, for several decades, Sinhala Supremacists stoked and nurtured hate against Tamils because of your belief that SL is your exclusive homeland.
While you are making up some invented Sinhala oppression, don’t forget how your founder genocided the aboriginal people of Lanka, the Veddah.
You realise that Dravidians are indegenous to Indian SubContinent and the Hindi speaking elite claim Aryan descent, and Aryans are from Southern Rusisa / Ukraine area. So why shouldn’t Dravidians fight for self determination, espeically since Indians fought to be independent from the British. Historically the Dravidian South was independent from the North, which is why Dravidian languages are the dominant languages in the South. The British colonised the SubContinent and created this country called India then handed the reins of power to North Indians. A bit like Britain conquering Hawaii from the Natives then handing it over to the Americans.
Banda / December 23, 2013
Talking about your comment on how the British provided Tamils to availed themselves of education, eminent professor and a historian Tennakoon Wimalananda shows in his book, ‘Buddhism in Ceylon under the Christian powers’ with ample statistics how Christian education was uplifted with lavish subsides while Buddhist Pirivena monasteries were deprived of it by the British Raj. It also pointed out the manner that evangelists coerce the British rulers to withdraw all subsidies due to Buddhist monasteries under submission agreement. It is not that ‘Sinhalese were less interested in education’ as you wrote or to the common belief of then Tamil that Sinhalas were ‘modaya’ but for the facts that professor Wimalananda has shown why they were not educated then.
You say Sinhala were never mistreated like Blacks. Well, the British never defeated the Sinhala king. Really, the Sinhala kingdom was handed over to them on an agreement. The British started to foul that agreement.
And Sinhales started to rebel against them within just three years. To supress the rebellion the British not just confiscated the properties of the people involved in the uprising but they killed all cattle and other animals, burnt homes, property and even the salt in their possession during the repression. Paddy fields in the area of Wellassa were all destroyed. The irrigation systems of the duchies of Uva and Wellassa, hitherto the rice-bowl of Sri Lanka were systematically destroyed. British never trusted Sinhalas since. Hence many a Tamil were proselytized and even other Tamils were offered better education opportunities as mentioned earlier. That’s about education.
According to Mahawamsa, there lived four ‘hela’ races called Yaksha, Naga, Deva and Raksha when Wijaya washed up to Lanka. Vedda supposed to be the off-springs of Wijaya and Kuweni. Indeed Wijaya is said to have chased his wife and children to the jungles and their descendants supposed to the vedda. If so, you genocide claim of Vedda race by Wijaya is not logical. As for Sinhalas, they are a mixture of all the said hela races and Wijaya clan. For one thing, if not for Mahawamsa we wouldn’t know any of these things.
I am not saying for a moment that Dravidaian or Tamils should not have a country of their own in India. All that we Sinhalas are against is Tamils demanding an Eelam here. We say Tamils should share power at the centre and not through a Bantu land concept.
chandra / December 22, 2013
For a long time, Anagarika Dharmasekara has been talking in detail about providing water to the north as an answer for Tamil grievances. But nothing of the sort will solve the so called Tamil grievances for it is nothing but an aspiration for Eelam. One can observe it clearly from current demands by Wigge and co.
Dharma Dharmabalan / December 22, 2013
I am compelled to defend my colleagues at the National Water Supply and Drainage Board who have worked so hard to secure Governmental support and ADB funding in developing the current project to deliver good drinking water and sanitation services to the North in few years time.
The context of your article is mixing two objectives and compares mangos with bananas. The current project by NWSDB is all about drinking water and good sanitation, where as the Rivers for Jaffna is about providing water for Irrigation. Of course part of the water for irrigation can be used to supply drinking water. Quantities, timing and costs for these two objectives are miles apart.
We are in the 21st Centuary and people in the North are still without adequate good quality drinking water and sanitation services which is critical for economic development and their personnel health. All credits to those who are working in the drinking water industry in the North managing the existing systems to prevent any water borne outbreaks so far.
We need have a helicopter view of what we need to achieve and set the strategies to move in steps to achieve the goals creating short, medium and long term goals. If we wish to implement the RfJ project for irrigation and stop the current drinking water and sanitation projects undertaken by NWS&DB we will be wating for another 30 years before the people in the North have good drinking water and sanitation services.
I sincerely urge you to understand the whole aspects of water provision and not to mix up objectives and create confusion among the political masters and people who deserve better services which they have been waiting for years.
Happy to receive comments : My email. Dharmabalan@bigpond.com
Please make this comments available to the NPCM
C. Wijeyawickrema / December 22, 2013
It is a nice try to save your friends. RfJ is over 50 years old idea, and some parts were done.
How come suddenly a sanitation project was landed. Are you telling me somebodies did not get commission?
As you has admitted RfJ is taking fresh water and 100,000 or more wells in Jaffna provided drinking water. There is no sanitation via water issue in Jaffna that required this new project and shun the half-done project of RfJ.
Why didn’t your friends first thought about completing RfJ and then go for sanitation?
Thank you for your input and I am giging your e-mail to DLO Mendis to “educate” your friends.
kali / December 24, 2013
There is always a message behind your concern for Tamil wellbeing in the form of LTTE bashing as follows:
“Therefore, instead of promoting Tamil separatism by way of planting maaveerar trees or using the word genocide, Wigneswaran can help Jaffna people by getting the RfJ project resurrected ASAP. DLOM’s book gives all the information he needs to request, if necessary, funding help from David Cameron, Manmohan Singh or the Canadian one, via MahindaR”
For you information my friend people all over the World remember the sacrifices made by their sons and daughters to free themselves from Tyranny.
Why is it different and exempt for Tamils of Eelam to remember the Sacrifices by Planting Trees.
Why don’t you lot Cancel the following and use that money and effort to help some poor Tamils: The Orphans , War Widows.
“February 4 is the official celebration day of Sri Lanka’s Independence Day from the United Kingdom in 1948.”
My friend a Dogs tail doesn’t wag for nothing.
The River of Jaffna with Tamil Blood has clotted and it will only flow again when we have Freedom Justice and Equality in the form of ERYTHROPOIESIS
Erythropoiesis is the process by which red blood cells are produced.
Jaffna / December 24, 2013
This topic comes out every so often and goes back to the bottom drawer again where it belongs to ! No question about the economic benefits of the project, but to my limited knowledge there is no chance in hell that this project will pass an EIA. Why ?? There will be an irreparable damage to fauna and flora when a saline body of water is transformed into freshwater virtually overnight. Imagine the destruction of a whole ecosystem that is dependent of saline lagoon water, prawns, crabs, fish and shellfish to name but a few. Perhaps a more informed person can comment on it !
Fellow engineers, please put your money where your mouth is or shut up for good without wasting your energy, this is a joke !!