Admin reforms planned in Nuwara Eliya
The dilapidated and disfigured central hill town Nuwara Eliya is heading for a smallscale administrative makeover at the local level.
Urban Deve l o p m e n t Authority deputy director for Nuwara Eliya, H M W Herath, said: “The city which is around 15 square kilometres is expected to be expanded to 50 sq km. More grama sevaka divisions would be annexed to the city, increasing from the present eight to 20. A meeting between representatives of state and private sector agencies in Nuwara Eliya will be held.’’
Unplanned buildings, including lodgings, hotels, restaurants, shops, bungalows and malls, have defaced the once-picturesque town and the number of buildings exceeds the town's capacity.
Many business-people and hoteliers have bored tube wells in their compounds to tap ground water sources . Environmentalists believe this depletes the groundwater sources.
The drainage system is ancient. Leaks in some locations emit an unbearable stench.
New buildings do not fit into the landscape of the old colonial style architecture which had earned Nuwara Eliya the description of “Little England.’’
In the Gregory's Park area a number of makeshift shanty-like boutiques have come up. Heritage sites like the Victoria Park are in neglect and people have encroached on park land.
With the growing number of tourists, traffic congestion has worsened. In addition there are no designated parking spaces in the town.
Chaminda Mahanayake, an environment researcher told the Sunday Times that conditions once seen in the dry zone are being experienced in Nuwara Eliya.
“Our research has shown the number of migrant bird species has fallen due to the climatic changes in Nuwara Eliya.’’
He also pointed out that usually the monsoon begins in April. However the rains now are not regular. “The tall bushy trees have disappeared from the town area. You could observe this most clearly on the way to the Horton Plains,’’ he said.
He added that irresponsible visitors are undermining the garbage disposal scheme of the local authority.
Pensioner, H M Wijepala, who was born in Nuwara Eliya
New buildings do not fit into the landscape of the old colonial style architecture