Colombo Telegraph

President Sirisena Drowns His Woes In The Waters Of Iranaimadu

It is the observation of most persons that all signs are that if judged strictly in terms of the law, the cases against the dissolution of Parliament will go against President Sirisena. The Attorney General seemed at a total loss as his arguments were demolished and many openly sniggered at his loss for words especially when it was pointed out that he had expressed opinions in 2015 at the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment that were the opposite of what he was defending this week. The President’s lawyer had become the laughing stock in a court where he was by custom the most respected lawyer in the land.

President Sirisena now has hopes only on two fronts. First that the political threats interjected by his lawyers of precipitating chaos in the country if the apex court decided against the President will lead to a political decision. And secondly that the freshly restarted effort to buy more MPs (as confided by a Joint opposition MP) while the judgment is delayed will yield results.

A political scientist of some experience and of the UNP persuasion observed: “Hoping against hope is rather vain and Sirisena knows it. His advisers have consistently given him advice that led him deeper into trouble. So what does he do? He is drowning his judicial and political woes of his own creation and unbridled ambition in the waters of the Iranaimadu Tank. His project is to make claims for having constructed the colonial era Iranaimadu Tank near Kilinochchi and destroy any legitimate claims the UNP might have made towards its construction. Politics, as happens all too often, has transcended the need for historical accuracy.”

Plaque on the Monument to D.S. Senanayake on whose Orders the Tank was Augmented

Work on the Iranaimadu tank was begun in 1906 under the British colonial authorities and finished in 1921. The work was entirely by hand without excavation machinery. Although unconfirmed, it is believed that Malayali labour was imported and used. Irrigation of fields began in 1922. The bund was 22 feet high then. 

By 1951 the bund was raised to 30 feet, that augmentation having been initiated on the orders of the first Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake. In the period 1954 to 1956 it was raised again, this time to 32 feet under Dudley Senanayake as Minister of Agriculture and Lands. Dudley Senanayake built a monument to his father at the time. The plaque he erected is pictured here.

In 1977 the bund was raised to 34 feet and, now with Rs. 2130 million from the Asian Development Bank, work was completed in Sept 2018 raising it to 36 feet. 

Said the above quoted Political Scientist, “This is where Sirisena stepped in seeking solace through credit claims for all the work done and erasing the records of what others had done.”

Indeed, seemingly seeking emotional support, Sirisena suddenly decided to obliterate any credit the UNP may make towards the development of Kilinochchi – even if history had to be rewritten. The monument to DS was bull-dozed in the last few days, and a new monument to Sirisena was erected using a tablet hurriedly etched in Colombo and brought to Kilinochchi. 

Sirisena opened the plaque to his glory on 6 Sept. watched by officials who had to come, hangers on and those seeking favours.

A wag could not be restrained as he said “The new monument is more appropriately President Sirisena’s political gravestone.” (by Special Correspondent)

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