Multiple protests in Colombo stall traffic

Multiple protests in Colombo stall traffic

Written by Staff Writer

19 Mar, 2019 | 8:24 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st): Heavy traffic was reported in Colombo due to several protests held citing various demands.

The Inter-University Students Federation and the Students Union of the Sabaragamuwa University were protesting opposite the University Grants Commission in Ward Place, Colombo, citing the number of students recruited for the new academic year at the Sabaragamuwa University was slashed. Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the students. Later the students dispersed after a protest held obstructing the Ward Place road.

Chairman of the Students Union at Sabaragamuwa University, Nissanka Gamage noted that 33 student enrollments under Social Science and Languages have been slashed by an arbitrary circular issued by the University Grants Commission. He added that the governing bodies of the Universities have no answers and the gates of the UGC is closed every day. He added that they deceive them (Students) by providing the same answer all the time.

Heavy traffic congestion was reported in Borella and Narahenpita due to the protest. In addition, the Medical Faculty Students’ Action Committee and their parents protested opposite the Health Ministry today citing the Ministry is attempting to provide SAITM students with their medical degree by violating the decision taken to award it via the Kotelawala Defence University.

Meanwhile, locals from Aruwakkadu, Puttalam staged a demonstration opposite the presidential secretariat today (March 19), against the disposal of garbage in their area. The Galle Road, opposite the presidential secretariat, was temporarily closed due to this demonstration. Protesters said they strongly object to the Solid Waste Management Project, that is proposed to be constructed in the Arawakkadu area.

Chief Incumbent of the Kalpitiya Kandakuliya Samudrasanna Temple, Venerable Bendiweva Diyasena Thero noted that there are other options. He noted that authorities disregard methods used by the international community. The Thero went onto note that this project has an issue with standards. He said this project will inconvenience the locals of three districts and will cause harm to the environment as well.

Chief Incumbent of the Puttalam Buddhist Center Venerable Udubadana Kusaladhamma Thero noted that they staged the demonstration against the government’s plan to destroy Puttalam. He noted that the government is committing a crime by implementing a project without a proper plan and if the project is to be implemented, it must be done properly.

Subsequently, seven people were permitted to enter the presidential secretariat, to explain their grievances. An Additional Secretary to the President said that the President will provide a solution to their problems following his tour of the Puttalam district, which is set to take place on the 22nd of this month.

Demonstrations were also staged opposite the Prime Minister’s Office. Five protesters were permitted to meet the Secretary to the Prime Minister. The protesters said that the prime minister’s secretary had promised to inform the Prime Minister in this regard immediately and make arrangements for a meeting with the premier on a future date.

Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Megapolis & Western Development Madhava Waidyaratna speaking regarding the matter noted that only 340 families reside in the Serakkuliya area. However, he noted that 5000 people had gathered in Colombo for this demonstration and it is clear that this demonstration was staged not only by those who are affected by this project but also by those who have hidden agendas. He requested those who are against the project to provide them with an alternative solution.

Secretary to the Ministry of Megapolis & Western Development Nihal Rupasinghe noted that by the 15th, the first phase of this project was completed and currently the Aruwakkadu landfill is capable of accepting 600 tons of garbage on a daily basis. He noted that the pradeshiya sabhas and municipal councils in the Puttalam district have been informed to dump their garbage in this landfill.

He went onto note that in a few more months, there will be no space in Colombo to dump garbage. He questioned the country; “If there is no space in Colombo, what will we do with the garbage?”

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