COVID-19 and the Yahapalana Bridge
Unfortunately, we forget things very quickly and very easily. Once terrorist leader Prabhakaran said we remember things only for a period of two weeks. Sometimes people try to forget bitter things and sometimes people forget things when time passes by. Sometimes some people remember good things for ever or at least for some time. Some individuals also try their best to forget because the past holds many disadvantages for them.
The best example is the opposition's request from the Election Commission to restrict giving publicity to the Presidential Commission appointed to investigate the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks. But this is not about the request made by the opposition, the recent remarks made by certain politicians about religious leaders or the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks or apologizing for everything after committing the same offence again and again. This is about COVID-19 and Hanuman Bridge.
Do you remember one project which was promoted by the previous `Yahapalana Regime' ? The previous regime talked about Globalization and linking countries. This island called the `Pearl of Asia' was about to be linked with another giant country affecting the island nation's identity, independence and safety. It was similar to some other controversial agreements promoted by the previous regime such as ITCA, CEPA, etc without the approval of the Sri Lankan people. Some trade agreements were signed with other countries putting Sri Lanka in danger in the midst of protests by the people.
It was the Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) which educated the public on those evil efforts of the previous regime. The GMOA was accused and harassed in every possible way because they genuinely stood by their Motherland. The GMOA pointed out during the previous regime that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world where there is no one to take the responsibility when damage is caused by international agreements. Sri Lanka does not have a National Policy on signing foreign and international trade agreements.
It was pointed out at that time that various politicians signed trade agreements without consulting anyone just for personal gain and they also handed over various trade fields of Sri Lanka to foreigners through Cabinet papers. Meanwhile certain persons call themselves scholars, advisers and consultants promoted selling National assets for personal gains.
At that time Opposition politicians pointed out that India will solve its unemployment problem and poverty issue using Sri Lanka.
That is why Sri Lanka does not need to pay for building a bridge between Talaimannar and Dhanushkodi. Fears were expressed that they could settle here. Poor Sri Lankans could face the prospect of unemployment in that case.
The previous regime tried its best to link Sri Lanka and India through a bridge. According to some International media reports published during the previous regime, Indiaâs (then) Road Transport and Highways Minister announced in their Parliament that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had agreed to fully fund the US$ 5.2 Billion Palk bridge project. The project envisages a 23-km-long bridge across the Palk Straits to link Dhanushkodi at the tip of Rameswaram in India with Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. While British colonial rulers considered building a bridge connecting India with Sri Lanka, it was former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who gave the project a fresh lease of life when he proposed it to India in 2002.
As a result of various protests staged by a large number of patriotic Sri Lankans the previous regime was not able to launch the project. But not many saw the benefits of stopping this project at that time. Only after COVID-19 almost all started to see the value of the natural location of Sri Lanka and the importance of remaining as an island. All stopped talking about `Globalization', the mantra of the previous regime. Many who left Sri Lanka and were involved in mudslinging to disgrace their motherland started to cry and beg the Sri Lankan Government to bring them back to Sri Lanka. Instantly Sri Lanka became a heaven for them while their previous heavens turned into hells.
Hanuman Bridge / Palk Bridge is a 35 km long stretch of shoal and sandbank under the sea between Pamban Island of Tamil Nadu and Mannar Island of Sri Lanka. The bridge which is submerged in the water is roughly 100 metres wide and up to 10 metres in depth. Citing images from a NASA satellite, investigators have found a line of rocks 30 miles long between Sri Lanka and India. The stones in the image are sitting on a 'sandbar', which occurs in areas with shallow water. As geologist Erin Argyilan explains, sand could accumulate between the land masses. Some scholars say that this bridge is not something natural and artificially made by people. Some other scholars say that the sand bar is natural, but the stones sitting on top of that sand bar, are not. They are manmade.
When it comes to Nature, scientific evidence has emerged to prove that the sea level is rising and islands are sinking instead of creating new lands/landlines etc.
COVID-19 gave a good lesson to mankind on disrespecting Nature, the effects of going against her and becoming abnormal in the name of `development'. We have to make friends. Countries need each other. We need peace and bilateral cooperation. But we need to give priority to our Motherland. Everything comes after that.
We are fortunate and proud today to have a leadership with this vision. Our current leadership had proved their love to the Motherland by the heroic act of defeating terrorism and developing the country from 2005 to 2014.
Therefore we do not need proof again. But surely we need proof from all the others who contest in the upcoming General Election. The regime that ended last year showed the opposite of their current stands on the country, religions and all the other aspects. Then how can we believe you? This is the question asked by every single Sri Lankan voter from all the other politicians.Â