New laws needed to evict persons from disaster prone areas – Minister

Chamal Rajapaksa

Parliament will have to formulate strict new laws to evacuate the people from the natural disaster prone areas permanently, Irrigation Minister and National Security Disaster Management and Home Affairs State Minister Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament on Saturday.

He said that not in all such areas but where the threat is regular and worse those persons have been offered alternative lands or houses and there should be strict laws to evacuate them permanently to bring about a long lasting solution.

He added most of them are reluctant to leave their houses, or even if they left some or other relative would come and settle in there. Especially where the issue in Ratnapura is concerned, the matter is that there are no lands to grant houses to nearly 2,000 families who become victims to natural disasters too often as the lands have been granted to estate plantations. He added an area of such an estate should be acquired to solve their issue soon.

Minister Chamal Rajapaksa made these observations in response to a supplementary query made by SJB Parliamentarian Chaminda Wijesiri during the round of questions for oral answers. The Question was raised by SJB MP Hesha Vithanage on the unresolved issues of the natural disaster victims for a long time to which Minister Rajapaksa said that the Opposition members suddenly remembered these issues only when they were driven to the Opposition by the people.

SJB MP Vithanage said that in 2018 during the UNP led Good Governance Government only 9 natural disaster victims in Ratnapura district had been granted with compensation although many were affected. He added during that period compensations were given victims of natural disasters from the districts where powerful ministers hailed. He added that all victims should be considered equally irrespective of affiliations and party politics.

At this stage Minister Rajapaksa said that special and clear circulars would be issued in this regard without any delay.

(Source: Daily News – By Sandasen Marasinghe, Camelia Nathaniel and Amali Mallawarachchi)