Captain Chandra Godakanda Arachchi**, in Island, 31 December 2018, where the title is “I cry for Galle Fort”
The sun rises magnificently above Rumassala. The wind roars during Monsoon with white horses beautifully rolling over. Catamarans are in the bay and children straggle to school. Tourists roam around in Fort. What a beautiful place the Galle Fort used to be when I grew up in the 1960s and first half of 1970s. My days in Galle were very special and precious to me and, therefore, I make it a point to visit Galle regularly even though I have been out of the country, most of my life, since I left Galle in 1975.
I spent almost a week in Galle during my last visit to Sri Lanka in October this year and joined the young and not-so-young enthusiastic professionals, businessman in walking along the ramparts. The number of visitors, both local and foreign, has significantly grown during the last few decades.
The ramparts need improvement. One has to be extremely careful when one walks as one runs the risk of having falls. A plank placed across a deep drop closer to the lighthouse is a deathtrap. Many visitors flock in this area particularly during weekends. There are many places where one is prone to trip. The ramparts have suffered erosion in some places, but no action has been taken to effect repairs.
Piles of rotting garbage can be seen in some corners, with rats, and crows having a field day. One has no easy access to public toilets.Poor lighting is another problem faced by the people walking along ramparts after dark.
The Galle Heritage Foundation (GHF) has as its vision “Making the World Heritage Living City of Galle Fort” a cultural tourist centre of excellence in 2025″. The Galle community as a team should try and come together to make it.
The Galle Municipal Council (GMC) and GHF are responsible for solving the aforesaid issues, but all those who use the Galle Fort and ramparts and business places located in the area should also share that responsibility. A public awareness campaign is called for to prevent garbage being dumped in the fort. Walkers should be able to organise a campaign to clean up the fort and ramparts at least once a year.
** Arachchi is a Former Pilot – Port of Galle
NOTE a range of previous articles on Galle Fort involving Norah Roberts, Joe Simpson, Hemantha Situge and yours truly Michael Roberts. by deploying Google.