Karadiyana, Dompe to be used as temporary sites

Harsha De Silva

The Government will temporarily use Karadiyana in Piliyandala and Dompe to dispose garbage collected in Colombo.

Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said the Disaster Management Committee on Meethotamulla which met on Saturday decided to immediately stop dumping garbage to Meethotamulla and use the new sites for the next two weeks until a permanent site is decided.

He said agreements were signed a few weeks ago to begin ‘waste to energy’ projects to deal with the long-standing garbage issue in Colombo. About 800 tons of garbage had been dumped into Meethotamulla daily and the garbage mount was 300 feet tall at the time of the disaster.

Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said plans have been made to develop the area as an urban park. He said the efforts to deal with Meethotamulla garbage dump were continuously obstructed by the protests of the public and various groups.

“We informed the Colombo Municipal Council in December 2015 not to dump anymore garbage to Meethotamulla and find an alternative place. The CMC identified several alternative lands but shifting could not be done due to protests. The popular slogan ‘Kolamba kunu apita epa’ (We do not want Colombo’s garbage) constantly hampered the Government’s plans to deal with the issue” he stated.

Law and Order Minister Sagala Rathnayake who visited the area soon after the disaster said priority has been given to the rescue and relief operations. While expressing the Government’s condolence on the tragedy, he said swift actions would be taken to implement the decisions taken in the aftermath of the disaster. He said the Government has already concentrated on providing a durable solution to the problem. He pointed out each time the Government proposed an alternative land, public protests prevented from implementing those plans. He also apologized over the incident on behalf of the Government.

Minister Susil Premajayantha said new houses would be constructed for the families that should be permanently evicted, adding that those expenses would be borne by the Government.

UNP Colombo District MP S M Marrikar said the Government could not shirk its responsibility over the tragedy, adding that the Government was unable to find alternative to Meethotamulla for two long years despite repeated reminders and protests.

The JVP issuing a press release on Saturday said all the succeeding Governments should be blamed for the Meethotamulla man-made disaster that could have been averted. “This disaster was a result of the absence of proper waste management plan in the country. The Government should take swift action to prevent similar tragedies in the future,” the statement said.

MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena, who visited the site following the tragedy, said the Government should provide housing facilities for the affected people and should provide long term and short term solutions for the issue.

While the political blame game continued, People’s Movement against Kolonnawa Garbage Dump Organizer Nuwan Bopage pointed out the garbage dump was a money earning machine for CMC authorities. He accused about 60 waste management project proposals relating to Meethotamulla could not be implemented due to corrupt deals.

(Source: Daily News)