Food, Water, Electricity & Democracy, which are the most needed? – By Prof. Samitha Hettige
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Food, Water, Electricity & Democracy, which are the most needed? – By Prof. Samitha Hettige

Uma- Oya multipurpose project commenced paying back. Political sources note JVP leader AKD being a pioneer to propose development with waters of Uma Oya but when Mahinda walked the talk with the Iranians, those who only talk weren’t happy (ref media). Since SL wasn’t a democracy even under the British, implementing projects for the good of the masses may have been faster till 1948. Leaving no space for negative minds in the absence of ‘Democracy’ may have been an effective factor? ‘Parakrama Samudraya’ still keeps the masses alive & ‘Sigiriya’ setup for a conflict still prevents conflicts through forex earnings.

Iran is the centre of the ancient Persian Empire (advanced, democratic & civilized than present Arab states as per historians). Historically Persia had close links with the civilized world at a time USA wasn’t existing. Mahavansa mentions a 300 strong delegation witnessing the starting of ‘Ruvanweliseya’ construction by King Dutugamunu (161 – 137 BC). Some see ‘Dutugamunu – Elara’ war as an exhaust point of the South India – Persia trade war. In the 4th century Persians were active at ‘Godawaya’ port & traces of petroleum based water proofing in the ‘Maduruoya’ ancient dam indicates investments on rice cultivation probably by Persia (given the climate which isn’t best for rice cultivation there) (Ref RASSL). If SL produces a bumper harvest using Uma-Oya waters, Middle East markets can be further tapped in the 21st century by adding rice to the already favored Ceylon Tea.

Iran SL relations

USA backed military ruler ‘Shah’ of Iran gave the ‘Sapugaskanda’ oil refinery to PM Dudley in 1969 & the US wasn’t bothered. When President RW invited the Iranian President, locals were concerned about US feelings but the US seems not bothered. UNP government of PM Dudley singed the Rubber Rice Pact with Communist China (1952) to prevent famine & ensuring right to life of the masses. Some locals were sad than the US & British. Richard Nixon came to test the waters & seasoned Dudley managed diplomacy for the best of SL.  Despite early media notifications, some were angry when the roads were temporarily closed to allow Iranian leader’s moves. They made a huge cry on social media which operates on electricity powered platforms.

Uma-Oya turbines gets energized with water that travels via a 600 m (2,000 ft) vertical pressure shaft, after passing through the long tailrace tunnel (Ref. media). When Uma-Oya adds more energy to the national grid, Sri Lankans especially Buddhists who boast on the value of being patient can use more electronics to educate foreigners who come to Sri Lanka to learn. One such was Ven. Sikkim Mahinda, the monk from Sikkim, India who identified himself as a Tibetan since Tibet was more known than Sikkim (Ref S. Mahinda story). He is still considered a National Hero especially by the Sinhalese from whom he questioned if they were blind.

Uma-Oya 600m shaft Vs China’s 5200m ultra-deep well.

China’s first ultra-deep geothermal scientific exploration well (Fushenre-1) in Hainan province, reached a subterranean depth of 5200 meters (5.2 KM) a week ago. This well will be used to extract power from deep geothermal resources. Geothermal energy is a stable & low-carbon form of renewable energy with large reserves & widespread distribution. The drilling was managed by ‘Sinopec’ & it was a new record for geothermal exploration in China. Hainan which is being developed as a ‘free trade port’ is expecting to use the new energy to power large scale development projects in the Hainan Island (Ref. Chinese media). Being independent in food & energy would be vital for SL. Ven. S. Mahinda’s home Sikkim itself is an example to learn the lesson.

(Photo: China’s first ultra-deep geothermal scientific exploration well (Fushenre-1) in Hainan)

(Views expressed are personal)

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