Plus - Appreciation

Lankan bridge engineer who rose to the top in the British Civil Service

Kanagaratnam Sriskandan

Kanagaratnam Sriskandan graduated from the University of Ceylon in 1953 and joined the Public Works Department as an Assistant Engineer. Relinquishing that service in 1956, he proceeded to the UK to specialise as a bridge engineer.

He rose in rank, in local and regional operations, and in 1980 was appointed as Chief Highway Engineer, the Department of Transport. This was a unique achievement for a non-white officer, in the Under Secretary Grade, in the British Civil Service.

Sriskandan was on the team that assessed proposals for the Fixed Channel link; the Anglo-French Safety Authority for the Channel Tunnel; a Council of the British Standards Institute; the Council of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and many national and international scientific committees. He contributed many papers, and lectured on bridge design, construction and maintenance.

Retiring in 1988, he served as a director of the Mott Macdonald Group for a further five years.
Born on August 12, 1930, Sriskandan was the second son of the late Dr. and Mrs. Kanagaratnam. He had his early education at Jaffna Central College, and later at S. Thomas’s College, Mt Lavinia for a short period before joining Royal College, Colombo. From Royal, he proceeded to the Ceylon Technical College to do his engineering studies. The Technical College was later amalgamated with the University of Ceylon.

Sriskandan was a talented sportsman. He represented the Ceylon University in tennis and badminton. In later years, he played squash and golf.

He passed away peacefully at his residence in Chislehurst, Kent, UK, on April 21, 2010.
Sriskandan married Dorothy Harley, sister tutor at the Colombo General Hospital, in 1956.

He leaves behind Dorothy, sons Kumar and Ranjan and daughter Shiranee; grandchildren Adam, Joanna, Kathryn, Samuel and Alexandra; and siblings Ganesan, Arichandran, Meena Selvarajah, Sivan Yoganandan, Sivathondan and Mangay Williams.

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