Heli pad proposal for midway in Sri Pada climb

23 February 2013 04:14 am - 32     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


A proposal had been made to construct a helicopter landing pad several kilometers below the Maha Maluwa of Sri Pada  (summit) to land helicopters of VIPs and to airlift visitors who fall sick while visiting Sri Pada.

When the Daily Mirror contacted Sunil Shantha Weerasekara, Basnayake Nilame of the Saman Devalaya in Ratnapura, he said there was a discussion about constructing a helipad. He said he just voiced the concerns expressed by many tourists and VIP members who visited the Sri Pada site.

“I just presented an idea at the discussion but I assure you that there are no plans to construct a helipad yet. Even earlier when Malaysian envoy visited Sri Pada he inquired about the availability of a helipad in case of a visitor who falls sick. On an earlier occasion, Russian nationals fell sick while on their visit to Sri Pada and we didn’t have a way to immediately take them for medical treatment, at least to Nallathanni. It was only on this context I presented the idea but there are no plans yet,” he said.

He said there was an area called Andiyawalathenna where they had observed an increased growth of a particular invasive plant and added that maybe after destroying the plants the area could be used to land helicopters not as a large helipad but to have a clearing.

“During an earlier occasion too, helicopters have landed several kilometers away from the Sri Pada Maha Maluwa to bring generators. However, I would like to stress that we would never endanger the eco system because we are the guardians of Sri Pada,s” he said.

While reiterating that a helipad would not be built, he said the discussions were held to come up with a national policy to protect and provide a better environment for the devotees who visit Sri Pada.

“Earlier there was a rumour about building a cable car system. We are against any project that will threaten the sustainability of Sri Pada. The discussion would be held on February 26, with the participation of about 22 national bodies to protect the wildlife, flora and fauna, archaeology and the heritage of Sri Pada” he said.

Meanwhile, environmentalists voicing their concern about the sustainability of the Sri Pada eco system objected to the idea of constructing a helipad.
The Environmental Conservation Trust (ECT) alleged that a helicopter landing pad was going to be constructed in the Ehalakanuwa area in the Sri Pada world heritage site.

Sajeewa Chamikara, Director of ECT expressing his objection to the construction of a helipad alleged that preliminary steps for the construction were to be taken on March 4.

Chamikara said a discussion was held at the Ratnapura divisional secretariat on February 20 with the participation of the Basnayake Nilame of the Saman Devalaya in Ratnapura, Sunil Shantha Weerasekara to discuss the construction of the helicopter landing pad.

He said the second meeting regarding the construction was to be held in Colombo on February 26 and added that the move was not in line with the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance.

“The heli pad is to be constructed to land helicopters of VIPs who visit Sri Pada. However the Sri Pada ecosystem is very sensitive and it is also recognised as a world heritage site by the UNESCO. Sri Pada is the only area where a large region of virgin tropical forest still exists. It is the only place where 33 endemic birds could be found and a large number of species which are yet to be scientifically identified reside in this site.

The noise pollution and the construction activities would surely affect the habitat of Sri Pada” he pointed out.

He urged the authorities and the director of the department of wildlife conservation to immediately look into the issue as it would endanger the whole eco system of Sri Pada. (Sarasi Paranamanna)
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  Comments - 32

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  • Podiman Saturday, 23 February 2013 06:42 AM

    As per the past experience, they do what ever they want to do for the sake of them, not the eco-system

    Muhammad Sunday, 24 February 2013 12:00 AM

    Once the k,,g decided, no one can change, the landing pad will be established very very soon. via DM Android App

    Dinesh Sunday, 24 February 2013 02:47 AM

    Well said lionheart.....Galle face Colombo will be ideal location, since it is in easy reach of the VIPs.......LoL

    lionheart Saturday, 23 February 2013 06:48 AM

    Why not spend a few billion more and shift Sri Pada to a convenient location......the whole purpose of climbing is what makes the journey so sacred.

    Ranjit Sunday, 24 February 2013 02:57 AM

    Oh finally a helipad for Citizen Perera? This is Chinthana at the peak performing Miracles of Asia.

    Anosh Sunday, 24 February 2013 03:01 AM

    and in near future - 'Climb Adams peak online'

    Ranjitdea Sunday, 24 February 2013 02:58 AM

    What happened to that grandeures plan to build a cable car to Sri Pada by the Provincialcouncil

    psy Saturday, 23 February 2013 12:00 AM

    ha ha surely not for sick ppl but only for VIPs... who os trying to fool whome ?. via DM Android App

    Savvy Sunday, 24 February 2013 03:46 AM

    Sell this bloody place to the Chinese ...they to are so called Buddhist no problem....

    Dammika Saturday, 23 February 2013 07:42 AM

    Does these decision makers know the value of many means in climbing SRI PADA? Why cannot they spend this money to uplift the standards of the needy people

    Arjun Gunawardene Sunday, 24 February 2013 05:18 AM

    The proposal is purely centered around rescue and emergency services (including fire hazards and security). It is not necessarily a “bad idea” as long as it’s limited to the purpose for which it’s built. Alternatively, a fully trained ground rescue team can be installed on site to respond to emergency and other critical life threatening situations. Quick access to medical facilities would mean the difference between life and death. A paramedic hospital can also be conveniently located. Currently Sri Pada faces a severe threat to its eco system by dumping of non-perishable materials than any other potentially known hazard.

    Zarook Sunday, 24 February 2013 05:20 AM

    At the end only politicians will profit from this project and not the ordinary men and women. It is also going to distrupt the serenity of the place because flying in/out a helicopter generates a lot of noise, air pollution and disturbance to the worshippers. It is a very bad idea from my point of view and should be not be considered at all.

    Kondebandapucheena Saturday, 23 February 2013 07:56 AM

    Shame These people trying to change History too

    Lobo Saturday, 23 February 2013 07:58 AM

    They want to be photographed on top to show their piety but too unfit and fat to make the pilgrimage.....hence the helicopters!

    DHA Saturday, 23 February 2013 08:04 AM

    Whatever said and done they'll never tend the realize values.....

    Manel Sunday, 24 February 2013 09:06 PM

    VIPs going to Sri Pada on helicopters mean poor people will have to foot the fuel bills.

    kalana Monday, 25 February 2013 07:35 AM

    I am planing to buy a Helicoptor. Good move, not only Sri Pada, create for other places like bus halts, then everyone can enjoy. Then Gamunu can't increase Bus fair also.

    sageeth Saturday, 23 February 2013 12:00 AM

    not a good idea via DM Android App

    Saman Sunday, 24 February 2013 11:53 PM

    Built more clean toilets instead!

    Nalaka Saturday, 23 February 2013 08:45 AM

    Only objective of these idiots is to satisfy so called VIPs to ensure their survival. Environemntal loviing people of the country should voice against such people who destroy our future for the sake of their benefits.

    GC Saturday, 23 February 2013 09:00 AM

    A pilgrimage used to have value with the difficulty of the journey. I. Is religion now only a photo-opportunity to deceive the devout and garner a few more votes?

    GC Saturday, 23 February 2013 09:02 AM

    Evacuation of the sick can only be a cover, unless it is the fat unfit politicians who have heart attacks and cramps in climbing the few remaining steps. There are many places and hospitals where the money can be better spent (even on medicines and simple devices like syringes) if they are so concerned about the sick.

    ling Saturday, 23 February 2013 04:51 PM

    Aney, pisu or what? useless VIPs. Prince my foot, their last name does not qualify at all.

    lalitha Saturday, 23 February 2013 04:52 AM

    other than making life easy for VIPs i dont see the GOSL making life easy for ppl

    manel fonseka Saturday, 23 February 2013 05:47 PM

    As an asthmatic I have NEVER been able to venture beyond the Lion's Paw at Sigiriya, never been able to experience the complete ascent to the summit and the view from there. But I was dead against the building of a lift and even more against the landing of helicopters on the site. There are just some things in life one has to accept one cannot HAVE or experience! I have been to Sigiriya hundreds of times and look backing with nostalgia to the days when one could climb it at leisure and savour a unique experience. Sooner or later (as with Lascaux and Ajanta) the authorities may HAVE to restrict access simply to preserve the site. Take a public vote on this! NO to helicopters for VIPs! Find some other way to rescue sick people!

    Haji Saturday, 23 February 2013 09:46 AM

    Another contract for China. And gradually we will lease the place to them. Very important mater for our nation. We have completed all highways now airways. No wonder if Somalia beat us in ecconomy In Near future.

    Meharudeen Saturday, 23 February 2013 09:54 AM

    I knew something was coming after seeing both prince visited few weeks back.....

    TERRENCE Monday, 25 February 2013 03:54 AM


    dIREsTRAITS Saturday, 23 February 2013 10:25 PM

    At one time R. Premadasa was also an untouchable king and his wife the Queen of queens. Look what happened to them. Nothing lasts for ever! All kings, queens and princesses should take note.

    Miron Rathnayake Saturday, 23 February 2013 12:00 AM

    You can build anything of that sort, but it is not the possibility that matters, but the natural achaelogical value that has been earned through centuries. We should understand that this value has been there due to these difficulties of climbing Sri pada, if there hadn't been theses difficulties, it wouldn't have had this fame and veneration. So, be vigilant. via DM Android App

    Janaki Kalansuriya Sunday, 24 February 2013 12:56 AM

    I second the motion.

    Dalu banda Monday, 25 February 2013 05:45 AM

    Kele Gas tikata Sumana Saman Devi Pihitai.

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