Written by Staff Writer
05 Dec, 2019 | 10:35 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – A complaint was lodged at the police headquarters today, claiming that the recent landslide that occurred in Malapattawa, Walapane, adjacent to a stone quarry, was a crime, and not a natural disaster.
The complaint was lodged by the Surakimu Sri Lanka Organization.
Palitha Wickremeratne, Secretary of Surakimu Sri Lanka Organization noted that those who operated the stone quarry are responsible for the lives lost. He went on to note that they would not accept it as a natural disaster and the illegal miners and the politicians involved were equally responsible.
He added that they urge the police to enforce the law against those responsible for this and to punish them on charges of murder.
The provision of a permit to the stone quarry, located adjacent to the area where the landslide occurred, has stirred much controversy.
As per a document issued by the Land Reform Commission on the 23rd of October 2007, permission was granted to an individual named S.M.D.Samarakoon, to operate this stone quarry.
The said individual was authorized to operate the quarry with effect from 30th November 2006.
Jayantha Kularatne, Member of Walapane PS noted that the quarry started its operations in 2005 by the brother-in-law of C.B. Ratnayake; Samarakoon.
He added that in 2007 a landslide occurred and the operations of the quarry were halted due to the fear of the quarry being caught up in a landslide.
This matter was pointed out during discussions between the Governor of the Central Province and public officials in Walapane yesterday (December 04).
Attorney-at-Law Lalith U.Gamage, Governor of the Central Province questioned if the houses were damaged by the quarry, why the license for the quarry was renewed.
An NBRO officer responded that they already informed the residents to evacuate and still they remained in their houses.
The governor questioned whether they were compensated to evacuate the NBRO officer did not provide a clear answer.
This discussion confirms that the National Building Research Organization was aware that locals residing in this area, in 26 homes were in grave danger.
Professor Athula Senarathne, University of Peradeniya shared his expertise on the matter with the News 1st.
“When we observe the area where the landslide in Walapane took place, we can see a layer of green fungus aligned towards the slope. The layer of earth on top of the fungus was weak.
There is a layer of stone on the top of the slope. Every time blasting and drilling at the quarry takes place, the layer of earth and fungus is affected.
The water flow between these two layers increases as well. When this happens for a very long time, landslides can occur” the professor stated.
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