Renovation of Kokmote Lake
It was like a miraculous coincidence that the Helabima organization participated in the first project of it as constructing an abandoning tank in the area which converted to Tamil name as Kokkamodai, thus supporting the indigenous Sinhalese in two fold way such as assisting their irrigation requirements and unveil the Sinhalese identity at the area.
It has to be noted that the original Sinhalese name of the area is “Kokmote” and historically or recently there were no Tamils lived in this area and it existed as always a 99 percent Sinhalese area. Kokmote tank project carry out with the invitation by presidential councilor, late Mr Neru Gunatilake in Vijayabahu Trust Fund. One of the committee members accepted this invitation behalf of Helabima organization at a Vijayabahu Trust Fund general meeting held in Seruwavila temple at Trincommalee on 15 th January 1998.
- Objectives of the project
- To renovate the abandoned irrigation tank and save waste water to the sea.
- Alleviate the poverty of the people in the area by helping their irrigation needs.
- To bring back the people of the area by showing our interest at the area.
- Recognition of the project
The oldest person of the area had been heard from his ancestors that there was an irrigation tank used as a storage tank in this area. Following pictures might display the original situation of the ruins of the tank.
It had been proved the very reason of existence of such a tank as a “storage tank” by later investigations carried out by irrigation engineers inirrigation
department in eastern sector.Meanwhile the excessive water from great Padaviya tank wasted to the sea via the Kokmote area and eventually to the Kokilai lagoon.
The team of engineers from Irrigation department advised the importance to Vijayabahu Trust Fund of storing the water which used to waste for years. Also a very important fact has taken in to the account such as the p eople in the area became victims of Tamil terrorism can be benefitted if the tank will be built. One of the emain requests of the people who lived in the area was to have enough water by an irrigation system rather expecting the monsoon rains. There was a scarcity of drinking water in the area too.
The tank is situated in Indipitiya village close to Welioya and 4 Km away from Kokilai lagoon.
Following picture is after clearing the jungle and building the dam of the tank. Note the thick jungle at left side of the dam and it had to clear the same jungle inside the abandoned tank.
- Project cost
Though the initial estimate was 400,000 Rs (Approximately 4000 USD), it has to increased up to 8,10, 000 Rs (Approximately 8000 USD) at the completion of the project. The failure of the proper estimation was mainly due to the intensive terrorist threat within a short time after the first estimation of the project and hence the reluctance of hiring earth moving equipmentcompanies to send their machines as well as sending building materials to the particular area.The other main reason was the tank has to be built from the scratches rather than renovation stage found out in the initial investigation on site; as there were not even a single trace of a tank remained at the site but a thick jungle.
- Project manager
Mr Manel Kulatunge from Sarvodaya movement had been appointed from Sri Lanka to manage the project on a voluntary basis. Investigation and the advices made by Ven Chandaratana Thero the main incumbent in Tantirimale temple and Mr. B. G. B Ayupala, Senior Superintend of Police (SSP), Kanthale Division. Following picture had taken in another angle to explain the construction.
- Final project status
The increase of the initial estimate had been paid back by the brilliant results of irrigation ability of the tank. Once the tank filled by the excess water from the Padaviya main tank, it has been noted that the drinking wells of the area spilled out due to the increase of the height of the water table. Secondly and in later stages, it has been found the people who left the area came back due to the very reason which would help them immensely in paddy cultivation.Undoubtedly this project identified as one of the most successful project completed by Helabima organization. The ceremonial opening participated by the members of Helabima organization, Vijayabahu Trust Fund, venerable monks in the area. It has been telecasted in Rupavaini (National TV station) in April 2000. A picture of the ceremonial opening at the site.