Kandy is considered as the second capital city of Sri Lanka. It is popular for Sri Dalada Maligawa, where the sacred Tooth relic of Lord Buddha is kept, and also for many scenic places in the district. But in general, a person who is not a Kandyan would probably remember only Dalada Maligawa, lake round and the straight streets of the town with classic buildings from the Kandyan and English eras standing beside those streets.
Those things have made Kandy a world heritage city. But in order to keep it so, Kandyans are charged with some other greater prices of restriction of development and expansion of the city, in order to meet the present day needs and heavy traffic jams in daily basis at peak hours .
Those restrictions are;
- No building in the city is allowed to build higher than the Maligawa. (All the buildings in the city are made short, no sky scrapers are allowed.)
- There are plaques built into the walls of almost every ancient looking building in the city claiming them as world heritages and must be kept them as they are, which has made their repairs and remodeling almost impossible. As well, it has withdrawn the broadening of streets as well.
Today (Saturday), I went into the town and went around the streets about two times in my car, but couldn’t find a single slot of parking available. Even the KCC car park was full and made me park the vehicle a long way away from the city and walk all the way back to the town. It is no matter for me to walk, but a walk in the town area, with all the dust and smoke is so exasperating. The main reason for this seemed to be the denial of parking beside the streets. It is a good move, but only after making several multi storied car parks around the city to hold the necessary parking capacity. Or else, where are we supposed to park the vehicles..?
There is a reconstruction of the Kandy-Katugastota road going on, but the speed of construction is not admirable as they have not even started digging for the construction of tunnel near the Indra traders, which will probably make a bottle neck once the road is widened. (still, the construction process must be appreciated as that is a road with the most severe traffic blocks in the peak hours.) In parallel to this construction, Aruppola road which can be used to reach Pallekale side bypassing the Mahaiyawa area is going on.
Even though all these construction processes must be appreciated (at least for keeping them going on without holding them just for planning…) there seems a major failure in these construction processes;
It is that all these constructions are done just to fulfill the requirements of the near past. That means, whenever a need arises, statistics are collected and the planning is done according to them. The statistics would be out dated even by the time of construction as the system of governance here in Sri lanka is that fast… No accounting is done for the future and it is for sure that we would have to make a third lane (for the Mahaiyawa road I mentioned above) in another five to ten years time. Why don’t we build it in one go and reduce the expense in the long run..? Going beyond, there are several junctions in the road in which an application of a flyover is so easy with the advantage of terrain, which would avoid the traffic jam a lot.
This is just in Kandy. If you think about your home town, it is for sure that there are also such idiotic moves for development. I am not going to point a party to dump the responsibility. But we, as a nation, must be ashamed of ourselves for not having a national vision and a mission for development. Not just development, it better be ‘sustainable development’.