Written by Staff Writer
15 May, 2017 | 6:31 am
Firday, April 14 – The garbage dump in Meethotamulla collapsed, killing 32, injuring more and leaving hundreds people displaced. With one month gone, what has befallen the people who suffered at the hands of this tragedy? What is going on at present?
Today, the dump-site has symbols of a cemetery. All that remains are ruins of homes demolished in the collapse. An eerie silence grips the area. Even those who spoke about the issue and debated it at length are silent.
But…, the tragedy continues.
Sunday, May 14 – The area has been declared a danger zone – but, people are still in the process of leaving the area. People say relief and concessions which were extended to permanent residents were not given to people living on rent.
“People living on rent only received the 50,000 and the 10,000 rupees. So, only homeowners were were affected by the disaster. According to them, Renters did not face the disaster”, said a person who was in the process of packing his belongings to leave the area.
Several survivors returned to the scene of the tragedy on Sunday – in remembrance of their loved ones who lost their lives in the incident. One person who returned to the site with his two daughters, mourning the loss of his wife, said: “The government told us that compensation would be paid, but we have not received a single rupee”.
According to the Kolonnawa Divisional Secretary, 262 families are evacuated from the area. While several families were settled in the Laksanda Housing Scheme, of the families directed to the Paddy Storage Facility, four remain.
The DS maintains that relief will be arranged as promised. He said that people who are yet to receive homes have been given an allowance of Rs. 150,000 for their shelter. He added that it has been paid to all 260 families.
“As per the decision of the government, compensation will be paid for bereavement. Once the estimation is complete on the loss of property and damage caused, compensation will be paid for that too”, said the Kolonnawa DS.
Meanwhile, a research team from the Peradeniya University is set to submit an investigation report on the incident to court on Monday, May 15. The report contains the team’s findings on the cause of the collapse and future course of actions.
Meanwhile, the Left Center movement pointed out the following:
The government says it does not have the finances to spend on compensations. However, since the beginning of its run, the government of ‘good governance’ has spent Rs. 2.96 billion to heal the vehicle fever of MPs and ministers.
“It is pointless for the nobility to get together, enrich themselves and provide privileges to reach agreements on power, if the foundation is shaken. The foundation of this government is the people.” said Chameera Perera Convener of the Left Centre.
Also, the People’s Collective for those affected by the Explosion at the Salawa Ammunition dump claim the government is yet to pay compensation for the value of homes and property damaged by the explosion.
The Salawa camp’s munitions dump explosion destroyed 353 homes and shops on June 5, 2016. While almost an year has passed since the disaster, 23 displaced families are still continue to live in tents.
The people affected say that “while compensation was paid for their homes, the money received did not match the value of the homes”.
“If the government fails to release the report on the steps taken on or before the 5th of June as noted by the Report of the Human Rights Commission, then the People’s Collective and the Salawa United Traders Association will seek redress from the Supreme Court. The Human Rights Commission’s Report states the injustice of this government very clearly and therefore the government cannot evade it”, stated People’s Collective for Persons Affected by Salawa Munitions Dump Explosion.
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