Marine Drive / Galle Road byroads
Whilst it’s a pleasure to drive on Marine Drive, the residents of the bye roads / lanes connecting Galle Road and Marine Drive are very much inconvenienced whilst driving to and from their residences to Marine Drive. It’s because the sea-side end of these byroads have not been properly levelled, pot holes have not been filled, not merged smoothly with Marine Drive road. The commuters and the residents hope the Road Development Authority /CMC will carpet these areas as well to prevent the vehicles getting damaged in the long run.
I also wish to bring to the attention of those responsible that the special tiling fixed on the pavements for the benefit of the blind pedestrians on both sides of Galle Road are not even at most of the places and I see these being constantly removed and refixed making it worse than what it was before.
Coming down the Galle Road from Galle Face and entering the Liberty Plaza area one often wonders as to who planned those traffic lights. Very often when it is green one cannot move because the traffic entering the Liberty Plaza area from Galle Road Kollupitiya blocks the movement of traffic on Galle Road from the Galle Face end.
This is like the flyover on Galle Road at Dehiwela; when one travels on it one gets stuck because the buses travelling on Galle Road and not using the bridge stop at the stand and impede the movement of traffic on the bridge. Have we in Sri Lanka given up town planning and are only interested in opening bridges and traffic lights with the participation of the so called party politician of the area?
Travails of a traveller
The ticket-checkers at the Sigiriya Rock insist on checking the identity cards of Sri Lankan visitors as the “local” tourists are charged only Rs 50/- while foreigners (including Sri Lankans with foreign passports) have to pay a hefty Rs 3,000/- for entry. That NICs are required to be shown at the entry point is not an instruction displayed on any sign-boards or when purchasing the tickets and at times when one leaves his wallet containing ID documents in his vehicle parked far away, unpleasant arguments occur with the staff at the entry who are quite rude about the procedure.
While the Archaeological Department charges the hefty sum of Rs 3,000/- for a foreign visitor does it provide the basic amenities such as a well-maintained toilet to him/her which is naturally expected after paying so much? Somehow the provision of clean toilets at tourist sites seems to be not at all a priority in the minds of the bureaucrats. During recent visits to archaeological sites at Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa I observed several moonstones being trodden on by the numerous visitors to these sites.
Over the years the millions of feet have taken their toll on the carvings on these moonstones and many are fading away. In Italy for instance I have seen how such artifacts laid on the ground are protected by a hard perspex covering over which people may walk while observing them but without damaging them. The Archaeological Department should take heed to protect our ancient heritage in such a manner.