May 09, Colombo: An insect menace in Sigiriya ancient rock fortress in Sri Lanka has sparked controversy with the environmentalists and authorities arguing over the removal of wasps domiciled for eons in the fortress.
While the archaeological authorities are busy in wiping out the insects that harm the world famous frescoes, media and environmentalists charge that the environmental imbalance caused by the removal of wasps from Sigiriya caused the damaging insect population to thrive.
However, the allegation of the environmentalists is yet to be proven. Few months back the archaeological authorities used chemicals and fire to wipe out the wasps from Sigiriya. Environmentalists criticized this action as a violent move.
Wasps lived in Sigiriya for eons of years and when they were disturbed by the visitors, the wasps attacked causing panic and injury to visitors.
The new attack of insects was immediately followed by the removal of wasps from Sigiriya. The officials of Archeological Department are using chemicals to wipe out these insects.
The Director General of Archeological Department Dr. Senerath Dissanayake said that the chemical used is the same as that was used around 100 years ago when the same insect was spread and it was not harmful to frescoes.
Sigiriya was declared the 202th World Heritage site at the summit of UNESCO held in 1982.