Meethotamulla victims heave sigh of relief (video)

Meethotamulla victims heave sigh of relief (video)

Written by Staff Writer

22 Apr, 2017 | 10:44 pm

Thursday, April 20 – President Maithripala Sirisena declared waste disposal an ‘essential service’. (click here to read more on the gazette notification)

However, against this backdrop, people attacked attacked vehicles transporting waste. Today April 22, one such person was arrested for attacking such a vehicle in Muthurajawela.

The incident

Saturday, April 22 – Protests erupted in Nugape, Bopitiya (Wattala) for the second day, demanding authorities to refrain from dumping waste from Colombo in Muthurajawela.

The group of protesters, which included several members of the clergy, blocked the path of lorries carrying waste and pelted stones at the vehicles.

Later, the group left the area to hold talks with Minister John Amaratunga. However. afterwards, the waste disposal continued and so did the protest. Police intervention to defend the vehicles and clear the path only made an already tense situation, even worse.

Court notice ‘hand delivered’

JVP Western Provincial Councilor Lakshman Nipunarachchi and six others have been ordered to be present before court on Monday, April 24.

The notices were issued by the chief magistrate of Kesbewa Gihan Ranawaka, on JVP Western Provincial Councillor Lakshman Nipunarachchi, the former mayor of the Boralesgamuwa Municipal Council Aruna Priyashantha, the former mayors of the Kesbewa Municipal council Sumana Viviyan Ranaweera and Lakshman Perera and three others.

Police were ordered by the Magistrate to ‘hand deliver’ the notices to the residences of those mentioned above.

The charges:

  • Obstructing the enforcement of a court order
  • Obstructing and making garbage trucks turn back
  • Obstructing the garbage from being disposed
  • Unlawful assembly

The group had acted in such manner following the court order issued on April 20. The court order granted permission to Dump 350 metric tonnes of garbage from Colombo at the Karadiyana waste dump.

However, notwithstanding the fact that a notice has been issued on him to appear in court, Provincial Councilor Lakshman Nipunaarachchi and several others staged a silent protest against the disposal of waste at the Karadiyana terminal.

The team of experts from Japan

On April16, Prime Minister of Japan contacted his Sri Lankan counterpart to issue his condolences and to inform that a technical team is likely to visit Sri Lanka at the earliest to take stock of the situation and assist in remedial measures.

The team of experts arrived in SL analysed the waste disposal issue. On top of that, they also inspected the Karadiyana waste disposal centre.

Will there be a repeat of Meethotamulla at the Thekkawaththa garbage dump?

Geologists have warned of a possible collapse at the Thekkawaththa garbage dump, where waste collected from the Kandy Municipality is disposed of.

“There are several slopes here which are at risk from landslides. If there is heavy rainfall this could give way. The southern slope facing the river could give way, which means the waste could enter the river and the Polgolla reservoir, contaminating the water supply throughout the Raja Rata region.” – Prof. Athula Senaratne (Department of Geology – University of Peradeniya)

Temporary shelters and new houses

Some of the victims have been given temporary shelter at a refurbished storage facility belonging to the Paddy Marketing Board.

The refurbished storage facility was initially equipped to house 24 families. However, 50 more families will be directed to the facility as the second phase of relocation.

Furthermore, over 400 families are currently taking shelter at the Terrence N De Silva college, Kolonnawa which was designated as a relief camp.

Good news came for some, as houses were provided in the Laksanda housing complex in Salamulla, Kolonnawa. 30 families have already settled at the housing complex while there are 68 houses remaining.

“These people are special, they only have belongings to fill one bag. Though other people come here with happy thoughts. These people come here with sadness. We have arranged counseling for them here.” – Jagath Ranaweera (Manager – Laksanda Housing Complex)

More on this:

Meethotamulla: How a day meant for celebrations- turned dark

People living in high-risk zones around Meethotamulla asked to evacuate

Meethotamulla: People denied of meeting Premier during his visit

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