15th July 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Disna Mudalige
The first phase of Sigiriya renovation project carried out by the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) to ensure the safety of visitors while easing the congestion has now been completed, said GSMB chairman Dr N P Wijayananda.
He said that the Bureau has been carrying out renovation work for the last one and half years with Rs 52 million in funds received from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
He said that the narrow staircase running from the Lion's paw to the top of the rock was broadened and reconstructed using stainless steel. "Now there are two pathways to climb up and down. Four people can pass each other with ease after the broadening of the steps" he observed.
A section of the platform built to see frescoes had been closed for safety reasons for a long period. This section has now reopened to the public after reconstructing and widening using stainless steel. About six frescoes appear on the surface of the rock in this section.
The GSMB Chairman noted that local technology, consultancy and labour had been used for all the renovation work carried out in Sigiriya.
He said that technology developed by mining engineers in the Kahatagaha Graphite Mine was used as a low cost option without building scaffoldings from the base of the rock to carry out the renovation work. Wijayananda also said that six identified places in Sigiriya, where the rock has loosened due to the natural process of decaying, were anchored and stabilized using steel bars to ensure the safety of visitors. "All these were done manually to avoid any damage to the plaster of frescoes from vibration coming out of machines"noted Dr Wijayananda.
Sigiriya has become one of the major tourist attractions and the number of local and foreign visitors has been on the sharp increase after the dawn of peace. The renovation work was carried out to ensure necessary facilities to all visitors, he said.
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