CDF offers free man power for Dighavapi restoration


The Civil Defence Force has offered free manpower to renovate and restore the Dighavapi sacred shrine and archaeological site in Digamdulla, the National Heritage Ministry says.

The CDF had offered their service during a meeting held at the Bank of Ceylon auditorium, attended by the officials of the Ministry, Department of Archaeology and BoC to commence the Dighavapi Sacred Area Conservation Project, the Ministry said, in a media release yesterday.

According to the surveys conducted so far the sacred area spreads over 64 square kilometers centering the historical Dighvapi Chaithya. Initial stages of the project should be concentrated on clearing and demarcating this area, Director General of Archaeology Dr Senarath Dissanayake was quoted as saying by the release.

The Dighavapi area, which is considered one of the 16 sacred places in Sri Lanka, believed by Buddhists to have been hallowed by visits of the Buddha, boasts of historical records dating back to the third century BC.

The project to unearth the area consists of three stages, the release said adding that its cost would be enormous. Clearing the area and its surroundings would be done in the first stage while the unearthing and restoration of Chaithya and Salapathala Maluwa (courtyard paved with stone tablets) would be done in the second stage. Conservation of the ruins found in the surrounding area would be done in the third stage of the project.

The cost of the first stage is estimated to be around Rs 200 million and the manpower cost alone would be around Rs 150 million, Dr Dissanayake said.

The CDF has agreed to provide its cadres for the conservation project thus cutting the initial cost by three fourth and making it feasible to commence the project, the release said.

National Heritage Minister Dr Jagath Balasuriya, Digamadulla UPFA MP Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, Chairman of the BoC Dr Gamini Wickramesinghe, Director General of Department of Archaeology, Dr Dissanyake, Director General of the CDF Rear Admiral Ananda Peiris, Actg Secretary of the National Heritage Ministry Renuka Ekanayake also participated in this meeting, the release added.

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