As a regular walker at the Shalika Grounds down Park Road, I have been saddened often by the damage done to these lovely grounds by those who use it on special occasions.
The grounds serve an essential function for the residents of the area providing a valued green space. There are very few parks like this remaining in Colombo. It is an asset to the city.
In the last days of the previous Government, these grounds were used for political rallies. The grounds were badly damaged in the process and have yet not been fully restored. The far-side of the green is still uneven and often water-logged.
Very often the grounds are hired by schools and other institutions for sporting/cultural events.When they leave, the whole place is in a mess with all sorts of garbage thrown everywhere. The area near the somewhat primitive toilets (strangely, situated by the entrance-designed in the socialist era of the 1970s!) are unpassable because of the extremely unpleasant stench.
I have noted that some of those who use these grounds in this manner are private/international schools and well known commercial entities.
Last Sunday (3 April) there was a very large function at the Shalika Grounds.But immediately I noticed a difference. The crowd seemed a lot more dignified than the usual users. I observed that even the children accompanying the adults were more disciplined. The organisers had brought their own garbage bins and were taking steps to ensure that they left the place clean. I even noticed a structure which looked like mobile toilet.
Impressed by what I observed on a cursory survey, I inquired about the organisation that was holding the function. I learnt that it was a function organised by the corporate giant next door, the Lanka Hospitals also known as Apollo Hospitals.
I take my hat off to an organisation which on this occasion strived to do their duty by the community.
Well done Lanka Hospitals.