Written by Staff Writer
21 Jul, 2019 | 9:29 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): Hayleys Free Trade Zone Limited, the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and a number of other institutions have made contradictory statements regarding the garbage that was found at the Katunayake free trade zone. A release by Hayleys Free Trade Zone Limited stated ” HFZ wishes to make it clear that it is not an importer or exporter of goods. Statements to the effect that HFZ imported these goods are therefore baseless and false.”
However, a communique issued by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka states “Hayleys Free Zone Limited had imported from the United Kingdom 130 containers of used mattresses and carpets for the purpose of re-export, in October 2017.” According to the BOI, the consignment of garbage had been imported by Hayleys Free Zone Limited.
The communique further added “However, in January 2018, having observed that a significant amount of this cargo was unloaded/stored within the free zone premises without being re-exported as envisaged, BOI has given written instructions to the company to strictly comply with commitments laid out in the BOI agreement and the applicable environmental regulations.”
The BOI had also taken steps to suspend all future import of used material and the company committed to clear all cargo by the end of February 2018. The BOI release further notes “Since the company has failed to re-export the goods as committed the BOI board has decided to take stern action against the company with a view to concluding this matter expeditiously.”
Chairman of the National Movement for Consumer Protection, Ranjith Vithanage states that they question these ‘babies’ in reference to people who know nothing, what strict measures were taken by them on the matter. He further said that since their license has not yet been cancelled and legal action has not been filed that by the looks of it they have done nothing. He added that they should be informed of who is in charge of the BOI and this matter.
Meanwhile also speaking on the issue, the Chairman of the Protect Sri Lanka National Movement, Venerable Pahiyangla Ananda Sagara thero said that the action taken by the BOI on the matter is not a subject of surprise, because its Chairman Mangala Yapa does not have a good record himself since he together with the Prime Minister and Malik Samarawickrama created something called the development agency in 2017.
He further said that this was carried out inside the WTC spending billions of rupees to create it which was however not even approved in parliament. The Thero said that it was through this agency that the Hambantota port was handed over. He also said that they have a suspicion that it is the very same trillionaires responsible for bringing down the garbage as well. The Chairman of the movement further said that the garbage has been piling up since 2014 and 2017 while adding that only 29 have however been re-exported. He questions how much they earn through this since they have not the same through re-exporting them.
Meanwhile the National Council member of the Youth For Change, Lahiru Weerasekara says that in Rathupassala people were shot and killed because of the toxic substances released by a company owned by famous businessmen Dhammika Perera. He said that during this incident that the STF and the Army were deployed to provide special protection to the businessman.
He further said that the garbage was brought down to the country through a company owned by Dhammika Perera, however, that they have only been issued with a warning. Weerasekara requests that the businessman’s residence in Payagala be searched. He questions the government if they are ready to punish these people for their crimes.
National Organizer of the Foundation for People’s Rights, Asela Sampath says that the media is engaged in the vital task of revealing the hidden truth to the whole country. He further said that when a businessman comes to the Central Environmental Authority and gets them to do something, they first comprehend the money falling into their account and draft regulations accordingly.
The National Organizer claims that this garbage dump could be much bigger than the polythene sheets that were banned from the country. He also questioned as to why the Central Environmental Authority only attempts to send these containers back after it reaches the country without checking the matter before. He added that although they respect the Customs for taking prompt action that they were also too late in detecting it.
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