Chinese company files appeal to resume operations of stone quarry that claimed three lives

Chinese company files appeal to resume operations of stone quarry that claimed three lives

Written by Staff Writer

09 Feb, 2020 | 9:00 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st):- It is reported that a Chinese company has filed an appeal to resume operations of a stone quarry in Walapane, Malapattawa where three people were killed, and a child went missing during a landslide recently. According to our correspondent, the Ministry of Environment has informed area residents in writing to submit objections if there are any. The letter sent by the Ministry of Environment, to area residents was dated January 29th.

Although the ministry informed the residents to file objections within ten days, the letter was in fact posted on February 5th and the area residents had received the letters only on February 7th. Thereby the area residents effectively had only one day to file objections. It is even more surprising that the letter was only received by a section of the village.

Controversy surrounds the granting of a permit for the stone quarry in Walapane, Malapattawa after 3 people were killed and one child in a landslide that occurred in the area.

On December 4th last year, Member of the Walapane Provincial Council, Jayalath Kularatne said:

“The quarry started in 2005. It was operated by Mr. Samarakoon an uncle of Minister C. B. Ratnayake. A landslide is reported in 2007 close to the quarry and it was suspected that the operations of the quarry were a cause of the landslide. Then the quarry closes down and the quarry reopens in 2011. I raised a question in the council as how it reopened in 2011 after being closed down in 2005 for lack of safety. I was told that the stones were necessary for the development of the area and that it was done on the request of Minister C. B. Rathnayake. That letter was in the council.”

The massive public outcry against the operations of the stone quarry prompted the governor to intervene and halt the operations. It is also surprising that the area residents were asked to file their objections against such a backdrop.

The National Building Research Organization designated this location as a high-risk zone following research that was conducted in 2007. However, the National Building Research Organization had later given permission for the operations of the stone quarry and issued a report stating that there is no risk of landslides in the area.

Thereby this report issued by the National Building Research Organization in August last year has been proven to be a ruse after a landslide occurred in the area in November last year. Therefore the manner in which this Chinese company obtained the relevant reports from state institutions for obtaining a permit for the operations of the stone quarry should also be looked into.

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