Will bring considerable benefits to Kandy
A ceremony was held on 24 August 2019 at the site of the Bogambara Prison Complex Redevelopment to announce the opening of Phase I of the project for the Bogambara Cultural Park.
The project for the former Prison complex is of considerable historic value. The prison is, in fact, one of the oldest existing buildings in the World Heritage City of Kandy and is considered an archaeological landmark.
When it was built in 1876 by N R Saunders, the Inspector General of Prisons and Police of the British Ceylon Government, Bogambara’s Prison’s main inspiration was the Bastille fortress in Paris. Bogambara was Sri Lanka’s second largest prison and housed gallows, as well as serious offenders and the death row.
The project will offer considerable benefits to the country and, more specifically, to the city of Kandy, since it will include an open air theatre, studio for traditional arts and crafts, a tourist information centre and multiple recreational areas. The project will also impact favourably on the lives of the residents of the city of Kandy by generating new opportunities for employment as well as creating avenues for trade, tourism and investment.
To develop the Bogambara Cultural Park, the Government of Sri Lanka in 2013 transferred the inmates to a new prison complex in Pallekelle. A decision was made to conserve the buildings because of their archaeological and historic value. The master plan for the project and design redevelopment was established by the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs on 9 December 2016 and will be implemented by the Ministry of Development Strategies & International Trade, Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, Urban Development Authority, Central Engineering Services Ltd and Board of Investment of Sri Lanka under the guidance and supervision of the Department of Archaeology.
The project was officially opened by Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, who formally unveiled a plaque in honour of the occasion and also delivered the keynote address.
“We want to develop the city of Kandy, including the Bogambara cultural complex,” Wickramasinghe said, “in the same way as the Galle Fort, Trincomalee and Anuradhapura were developed as areas of cultural interest, in view of growing tourist arrivals into the country”.
Also gracing the event were Ambassadors of Japan and Thailand, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Public Enterprises and Kandy Development Lakshman Kiriella, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka, Deputy Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Nalin Bandara, Secretary, Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade S T Kodikara, Chairman of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka Mangala Yapa, and Director General of the BOI Champika Malalgoda, and other Senior State Officials.
Dilip S Samarasinghe