Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 10 October 2010





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

[Sunday observer PLUS]

Defence Secretary’s brainchild becomes a reality:

Canal transport turns Colombo into another Venice

Dignitaries at the water sports festival

The canal network in the Colombo Metropolitan area which was rejected for over a few decades causing immense environmental and health hazards is presently being turned into public attraction spots as it is now becoming a part of the city transport network catering to the public transport needs.

The boat service that was launched by the Sri Lanka Navy during the first quarter of this year with a small fleet of fiber glass is now booming into a vibrant transport made in the city and also as a recreational facility as the city canals now being cleaned step by step for the launch of boat services to cover entire Colombo city.

Boat ride on the Kirulapona Canal

Getting ready to go on board

The service has also turned into a new venture by the Sri Lanka Navy, like the troop carrier 'Jetliner' which plays host to many grand functions.

The boat services launched by the Navy is also now becoming a public attraction for small functions. Like the 'Jetliner' hosting parties for the elite and the rich, the lagoon craft cruising along the Kirulapone canal has now become a place to host functions with smaller numbers for the average citizen in Colombo and suburbs.

The boat service which first started to cater to the transport needs of the students and the staff of the Open University at Nawala, Nugegoda to Wellawatte has now expanded to cater to the public transport needs after extending this service from Wellawatte to Battaramulla along the Kirulapone canal.

"It has now become a convenient mode of public transport for the people travelling between Battaramulla and Wellawatte", Captain Senerath added. At the first stage with the launch of this boat service the 45 minute journey from Nawala to Wellawatte the 45 minute journey could be cut short to a 20 minute journey.

The boat service between Battaramulla to Wellawatte is now operational daily from 7.30 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. and from 4 pm to 6.30 pm, Captain Senerath said.

Though first started as a free service for students of the Open University the service is now run for a fare of Rs. 10 for students and Rs. 20 for the general public.

The use of these inland waterways for transportation and as a mode of public recreation was a concept of the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the responsibility of making that concept operational was vested with the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe.

Then the Navy deployed its personnel to make Greater Colombo canals into environmental friendly surroundings whilst providing a hassle-free, mode of transportation and recreation.

According to Captain Senerath the cleaning of the Dehiwala canal, Kirulapone canal, Diyawanna and Kolonnawa oya, Heen Ela in Kolonnawa, Dematagoda canal and St. Sebastian's canal was undertaken by the Navy, deploying a unit comprise of 200 Navy personnel for this task.

 Canal clean-up operation by the Navy

The Land Reclamation and Development Corporation assisted the Navy to dredge the canals to suit them for boat rides whilst the Central Environmental Authority carried out a program to educate the people living along the canals to make them environment friendly, by requesting them not to dump their garbage into the canals.

According to Navy personnel who are operating the boat service in the Kirulapone canal, at the initial stage, they did face some difficulties as people continued to dump garbage and polythene into the canals. But, with the launch of an intense awareness campaign the dumping of garbage into these canals has been drastically reduced.

The Municipal Councils which cover these respective areas also help the Navy to keep the canals clean.

After the dredging and cleaning up of Kirulapone Ela upto Battaramulla, the Navy extended its boat service to Battaramulla on the first of June this year.

"At present we operate six fiberglass boats and a single boat can accommodate 10 passengers any given time", Captain Senerath said.

The Navy is also using a lagoon craft which can accommodate 25 passengers.

The craft are equipped with life saving jackets with maximum safety measures taken by the Navy personnel.

The boats are also provided with awnings for use during rainy weather.

"Not only for the public transport, these boats can also be hired by small groups for pleasure rides", Captain Senerath said.

"A group of people held a birthday party on board the lagoon craft recently", he added.

To facilitate such recreational trips the Navy has introduced family packages at reasonable tariffs.

The latest recreation attraction canals was on Friday with the launch of the water sports festival at Battaramulla with the participation of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the prime mover behind this concept and the Navy Commander Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe who made the concept a reality.

It was held under the theme of 'Reawakening Inland waterways through Sports'. The eye-catching scene of the speed boats running on the waters of Diyawanna and Kirulapona canal between Battaramulla and Nawala, brought the concept of conserving inland waterways to fruition.

The inaugural water sport festival was aimed at a number of races and events since the canal is now safe navigable for these activities.

The races included in this water sports festival were open Jet Sky race, open Sit On Top Kayak race (Men & Women), open Motor Boat (25 HP) Race, Open Recreational Paddle Boat Race, High Speed Boat Manoeuvre by the Rapid Action Boat Squadron of the Sri Lanka Navy.

The Sri Lankan Ambassador to USA Jaliya Wicramasuriya, Chairman Sri Lanka Ports Authority Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama, Chairman Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation, Harshan De Silva, General Manager Waters Edge, Thusitha Samaraweera, President, National Canoeing and kayaking association of Sri Lanka, Prithiraj Perera, Senior Naval Officers and a large number of spectators were present on the occasion.

According to Captain Athula Senerath measures are also under way to expand the canal boat service to the other canals for the convenience of the general public.

Those canals are being cleaned and necessary infrastructure is being developed by the Navy to expedite the process in collaboration with the Land Reclamation and Development Cooperation and respective Municipal Councils.

"More than eighty percent of the cleaning process has now been completed by the Navy deploying its men and resources to start the boat service along these canals also", Captain Senerath added.

"At the next stage we will be able to start boat service along the Dehiwala canal to cater to the people travelling from Dehiwala area", Captain Senerath added.

With the expansion of this boat service the common masses will have the opportunity of hassle free journey from Dehiwala to Colombo Fort, he added.

Donate Now |
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)

| News | Editorial | Finance | Features | Political | Security | Sports | Spectrum | Montage | Impact | World | Magazine | Junior | Obituaries |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2010 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor