Colombo floods, many different names

Many loans to repay.... No solution


by Eng Anton Nanayakkara

Team Leader Kelani Ganga Report

April 2009

Senior Deputy Director of Irrigation (retd)

I was more than shocked to read part of a report called "Proposed Remedial Measures for Floods in the City of Colombo" to be presented to the Defense Secretary and the World Bank to obtain funds for implementation of Drainage Management plan for the City of Colombo dated March 2010. I can only say "God have Mercy on the people of Colombo" even by accident if the World Bank accepts this report of March 2010 as a comprehensive report on this subject.

As the Team Leader for the Cabinet Approved Study of Kelani Ganga (Left Bank) dated April 2009 it is my responsibility to state that this report was done under very uncongenial conditions created by the then SLLR & DC Chairman Karunasena Hettiarachchi and his able assistant Gnanapala for reasons better known only to them which left me poorer by Rs 52,700/- unpaid to date ,while all other Consultants were fully paid. The crime was that the report was handed over to the minister who submitted the Cabinet Paper and not the chairman who caused many disruptions to the study including two consultants going missing mysteriously leaving the Team leader to cover up their functions at no cost to the government

This report (2009) submitted under my signature as Team Leader offers the most comprehensive, natural, least damaging to the environment, more environmentally friendly and least cost economic solution to save Colombo from the catastrophe awaiting to happen if the World Bank even accidentally agrees to fund this project of March 2010.

This report of 2009 does not require a new Mutwal Tunnel while there is already an existing Mutwal Tunnel once claimed to be the most reliable sea outfall for Colombo that is free from sand bar formation as against the cases of Wellawatte and Dehiwela. It does not require a ridiculous trans basin diversion to drain Madiwela water all the way at Panadura,. reversing the natural direction of flow and ignoring the environmental impact assessment to the surrounding areas which includes a bird sanctuary through which this canal will flow and ignoring the sea front and the many outfalls from Galle Face up to say Mount Lavinia prior to reaching Panadura. many miles south... It simply deals with three technically sound separately identifiable catchments (north , south , and east) and not dozens and dozens of subdivisions each costing many millions all put together may not mean anything.

On the contrary the Cabinet Approved Study opens up many new lands for city expansion, new water front, new outfalls, ring road for the City of Colombo joining the outer circular road.,a solution to the shanty problem, all supported by a report from a London based Consultancy Firm done at no cost to the government which had been studied by all relevant ministries and departments prior to approval given by the then Chairman UDA Prof Nimal de Silva.

It is the writer’s intention that this brief letter will reach the attention of the Defense Secretary, Harsha de Silva Chairman SLLR&DC and Mr Ganesh President of OPA and Eng Fernando President IESL, Eng Mrs Kamaladasa Director General of Irrigation all of whom have knowledge of what is going on before it is too late to do anything.

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