Ambalangoda Rest House site a hotbed for criminal elements

By Jeevananda S. Kaviratne

The historic Ambalangoda Rest House was partially demolished some three years ago ostensibly to build a hotel school, but today the place has become a haunt for drug addicts and other anti-social elements, prompting public protests in the area.

The demolition work on the famous rest house began on the recommendation of a ruling party politician three years ago, but questions as to who removed the timber beams, roofing material, lime stones and other valuable items from the colonial-era building still remain unanswered, residents said.

The question was raised at a recent meeting of the Ambalangoda Urban Council, where politicians from the both sides of the divide also expressed their displeasure over the demolition and the failure to build the hotel school. Residents said they now suspected that the demolition of the rest house which stood as a cultural icon at the town was a racket.

Till recently, a plaque stood at the site, announcing that a hotel school is to be built there. But this plaque was toppled by some residents who were angry about the authorities’s failure to stop the nefarious activities taking place at the site, which has turned into a shrub jungle.

This week, the residents formed an action group to protect the site from drug addicts and criminal elements whose presence has become a threat to the law and order situation in the area.

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