So what is it about the Sri Lankan polity that endures the mismanagement of the basic urban infrastructure all citizens are entitled to? The flooding of Colombo and other areas bring into sharp focus the ‘in your face’ indifference the governing authorities display with regard to avoiding repeated occurrences of this nature. Leaving aside the cause for the increasing incidents of flooding (filling up the low-lying drainage systems for development of housing and other commercial establishments is one reason), there are several options that could be exercised to minimize the damage that is now being caused at incredible cost to individuals, as well as to the country.

Dredging the silted-up swamps to allow for effective draining the lower-lying areas, clearing the canals and other waterways that are clogged with garbage, vegetation and silt, disposing the mountains of garbage at the edge of swamps in and around the city that block the flow of water, reviewing (and repairing, if necessary) the state of the city’s sewerage system and ensuring that the city’s drains are not clogged, are a few imperatives that must be activated immediately to reduce the potential damage in future.

It seems apparent however, that nothing will be done – as usual! So what does it take to shake these guys up and make them pay attention to the fact that they were put in their positions to serve the public interest? One of the editorials in a Daily suggested that lawsuits be brought to bear on the institutions responsible and questioned the effectiveness of consumer protection agencies (if there are any around?). Would mass demonstrations help? The opposition parties have not yet seen fit to make their voices heard, but then that’s like par for the course! How much more do we endure?

Of course, given our collective ‘lotus-eater’ national characteristic, it seems most likely that nothing substantial will occur until some enlightened individual is in control – and that is like asking for the moon at this particular point in time. So here we shall be in our apathetic condition absorbing the shit.

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