26 June, 2017

For Those Who Died In Vain In Meethotamulla

By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

For the Sinhalese and Tamils, it was their New Year day. A day of joy and celebration. While around the country pots were overflowing with boiling milk ushering in the New Year, in Meethotamulla the saga was somewhat different. Many of people living there were literally buried under the decomposed, rotten and toxic garbage mountain that broke loose. It was unbearable to hear the heart-rending wail of the bereaved family members some of those who had lost their little children.

According to the Central Environment Authority about 7,500 tonnes of waste is produced in the country every day. Residents say that nearly 1,000 tonnes of garbage is added daily each day at Meethotamulla. The height of the garbage dump has now reached more than 300 meters. These people did not go to where the garbage was. The garbage was brought to where these people were living.  A dereliction of the government’s duty and a gross violation of the basic constitutional rights of the people affected.

These people have been living here for several decades in inhuman conditions breathing in foul odour every day. The feeling is inexplicable. It stinks. They have been in this unimaginable and horrendous state all these years. Most of them have developed various medical complications. Where are the human rights activists?  Where are the Politicians? Where are the  environmentalists?  Someone quipped, “The environmentalists are more concerned about fauna and flora than human beings”. The planned alternative landfill site at Aruwakkalu, North of Puttalam, about 170 kilometres away from Colombo did not take off the ground because they were unhappy. They said that the site is within the one mile buffer zone of the Wilpattu National Park.

Mr. President

Mr. President, you are also the Minister of Environmental Affairs. Around the second half of 2015, you spoke about having a National Strategy for environmental conservation and identified areas like deforestation, environmental damage, environmental degradation, natural resource damage and soil erosion. What you seem to have failed in doing is to identify the priorities in your list in the National Strategy? The garbage dump is not an issue that came up after you assumed power. It was very much there while you were with the previous government. Why did you not accelerate the implementation of your plan?

Way back in 2013 during the Rajapaksa regime some houses were damaged when the dump collapsed. Former MP Duminda Silva held a discussion at the Kolonnawa Municipal Council on issues arising from the garbage dump at Meethotamulla and promised to provide a solution to the problem within a month. He never did that.

Musali

As a citizen, I humbly ask you on behalf of the many who have been silenced by death, have you mismanaged your priorities? If your National Strategy is a long-term plan what have you envisioned for the short and medium term? On one stroke of the pen you deprived thousands of IDPs from returning to their ancestral homes and livelihood in Musali and adjacent areas. This was done in a mighty hurry. 

In Meethotamulla while death and destruction was staring on the face of the departed souls and their bewildered kith and kin, you apparently did not have enough ink in that same pen to issue an order regarding the Garbage Dump issue. Or, was it a case where there was not enough pressure by the vested interest of the pseudo environmentalists and the self-serving politicians to look into the garbage problem?

Mr. Prime Minister

Mr. Prime Minister in February 2015, when you met withThe Peoples Movement Against the Kollonnawa Garbage Dump’, it is alleged that you had promised a solution within 6 months. Is not your six months too long, Mr. Prime Minister?

Which Law?

“Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faizer Mustapha yesterday warned that stern legal actions would be taken against those who failed to segregate garbage in order to dispose it properly from November 01”. “In terms of section 272 (5) of MCO, the penalties for disregarding by-laws on garbage disposal are included a sum not exceeding Rs. 1000 for the first time offenders and the second or third time offenders will be fined a sum not exceeding Rs. 2000. Offenders who repeatedly disobey the by-laws will be fined a sum not exceeding Rs. 250.00 each time”. (The Island, October 29, 2016).

Other pieces of legislations threatening action are Section 261 of the Penal Code on public nuisance, the National Environmental Act, No. 47 of 1980, disposing garbage which can harm the environment is illegal. In the same Act Section 23, if the garbage disposed in a public or private place is harmful to the health of people, the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) holds power to take appropriate measures.

Mr. Minister which law is applicable to the following :

  1. To the incident that happened in Meethotamulla?
  2. The dereliction of duty on the part of all those who were responsible?
  3. The failure to avert a disaster which was imminent and foreseeable?

“The Minister of Mega polis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka: He has said his ministry has already gone through a tender procedure and shortlisted seven projects for the management of solid waste at Meethotamulla (mountain) garbage dump, long an ecological problem and eyesore in Colombo”. (Sunday Times, July 24, 2016).

Mr. Minister, this is April 2017 what have you been doing for the past eight months? Did not you know that this was a ticking time bomb, the consequences of which would be calamitous?

What Do You Call It As?

Earlier this month the residents living near the Meethotamulla garbage dumping site took to the streets demanding an end to the torturous life they were subjected to. I do not know what to call it as – hypocrisy, irony, political gimmick or sincerity – when United National Party (UNP) Parliamentarian S. M. Marikkar led the demonstration. He is part of the machinery. He represents these people. He is supposed to find solutions and not to demonstrate. Did he demonstrate because he cannot garner enough support with the powers that be? Then, dear Member, I suggest you resign.  If you call yourself the servant of the public. Of what use is it, in continuing to be part of the government which does not help you to solve the problems of the people who trusted you and voted for you to represent them?

Can any of these institutions and the Ministers in charge of these – the CMC, Urban Development Authority (UDA), Western Province Waste Management Authority (WPWMA), Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Kolonnawa Municipal Council, other local authorities plead ignorance of the garbage problem? 

The people are disappointed and deeply saddened at the prevailing state of affairs. Those of you who are responsible will carry the guilt if you have some semblance of morals in you.

All those who died, died in vain.

#Meethotamulla

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Latest comments

  • 5
    6

    The Govt. should provide compensation for those died in this disaster, all three communities suffered loss of lives and properties Sinhalese-Tamils & Muslims and there should be no racial discrimination like the previous Mahinda – Gotha Rajapakse corrupt Govt. both Mahinda & Sirisena Govt. should take full responsibilities for this disaster as this was going on for the past 8 -10 years.
    Mara Govt. was interested in building highways and laundering money in foreign countries forgetting these poor people.

    • 5
      5

      Look! the understanding about whole thing about the GOVERNANCE, THE GOVERNMENT, POLITICIANS, AND ITS BACKERS must be redefined to its truest nature.

      SRI LANKAN STATE is a FASCIST SYSTEM run by the members belonging to the RACIST SINHALA ONLY gangsters and thieves.

      This evil lot has a protective garb, the Buddhist Nationalism as their tool to silence and intimidate anyone who crosses their line.

      The Evil GodFather of Sinhala Buddhist Racist Mafiosi, ANAGARIKA DHARMAPALA, a Satanist and in the beginning of his racist political life became a follower of Zionist/Satanists H.P. Blavatsky- Henry Steele Olcott (Theosophy or the Jewish Kabbala doctrines embedded society) who publicly declared both as Buddhist converts, trained and schooled the Sinhalas to become racist maniacs with their BUDDHIST REVIVALISM.

      D.S. Senanayake, J.R Jayawardene, SWRD Banda, AE Gunasinghe, Baron Jayatilake are some of the Racist minded, and mind controlled by western Zionism in their indoctrination centres in the UK and US, in the likes of Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard etc,etc.

      Zooming into the future, coming from this unbroken chain of propping Racist minded leadership to head the country and its state rule, there came the modern silent Hitlers, Stalin and Netanyahu type racist thugs as Presidents and Prime ministers.

      We got Banda, JR and Mahinda the three of the most influential figures that initiated MASS MURDER on the innocent population.

      • 4
        0

        Radical Ideas

        “Look! the understanding about whole thing about the GOVERNANCE, THE GOVERNMENT, POLITICIANS, AND ITS BACKERS must be redefined to its truest nature.”

        Radical ideas are expected to identify the total problems connected to daily life of ordinary people.

        You missed one vital component which is the state bureaucracy and those functionaries, either do not their job or ever willing to carry their political masters’ clanking “b***s”.

        Had they put their foot down and stood for the ideals of civil service then you and I wouldn’t be here typing about clanking b***s of politicians, cronies, corrupt, …..

        What were the state functionaries doing all these years since the day Colonial Masters left our shores?

        Well were the people doing all these years since the day Colonial Masters left our shores?

        I suppose the people have a fascinating record of electing their representative not on based on merit but on lies and more lies and lot of bigotry, nepotism, …. who killed more (which is synonymous with war victory and perception of peace).

        • 0
          0

          Native Vedda,

          Your observation is very much true and I humbly agree with you.

          As you say the beaurocracy and its functioneries are all schooled in the Zionist education system which is the mind control training to obey the rulers. Then the rulers are selected by the Jewish criminal elements in the West and the selected garbage we call the ruling elites of Sti Lanka are pitted in a fake election process that the entire masses are duped into believing as a genuine process takes place. After the so called fake election process give birth to a garbage politician as a President or Prime minister.

          Once the fake game is over, the elected new leader goes about implementing the usually expected unelected one’s orders. Meaning the Sinhala Buddhist Zionists (Sinhala Only deep state criminals).

          This is the curse that the unfirtunate Sri Lankans are going through for the last 100 years. Even before the so called fake independence gained from the British criminals, the Sinhala Only creeps began their dirty game of capturing the hold of power and then corrupting the system from within with the aid of Jewish backing and their support.

          What we are seeing in the present day is the result of this systematic destruction.

  • 15
    2

    Harsha on his FB is crying crocodile tears and passing the buck to the past regime… let’s get real here.. there was a plan to deal with the garbage dump at the end of 2014.. but just not followed through by this inefficient government.

    When will they hold the local government elections I wonder!

  • 2
    0

    The day the voters of this country vote in a honest set of politicians, this garbage dump will just be chicken feed. Till that day we will go on finding fault with this person and that reason and never ever get this failed state out of the mess it is in. Go on grumbling till then.

  • 1
    2

    Thanks for the wonderful and forthright exposure of the condition under which more than 30 poor people died and more than 100 missing according to the sources close the Dump. The present Govt. and the last Govt. has completed ignored the people living in and around the area and strayed in to other environmental issues and deprived once again the poor innocent IDP of a descent living in their former place of residence. Animals are more important to the Government and NOT the people. The people who have no power and influence are treated less than animals, trees and plants. Environmentalism has become another religion. The present Govt. got its priories mixed up, they have lost their direction, groping in the darkness. Everything they started are in utter mess. All their boasting prior to the election ended in smoke even after two years. Everything is in failure. May God save Sri Lanka under this unity Government.

    Hats off to your Mr Usuf.

  • 6
    1

    This yahapalana government shall be totally responsible for the scourge of Meetotamulla and shall take full responsibility without blaming previous government. All of Sri Lanka knows who Mahinda Rajapaksa and his wrongdoings and why the people elected My3 so as to put the country in order but My3 has miserably failed to deliver the expectations of the voters. Mr Usuf rightly pointed out how the president has put his priorities, in spite of knowing the time bomb is tickling at Meetotamulla, which he and his dysfunctional, good for nothing cohorts totally ignored, where while on an official visit to Moscow, President Maithripala Sirisena hurriedly signed a controversial gazette on Wilpattu, inked at the Sri Lankan Embassy in cold Moscow while on an official tour thereby depriving the Muslims of their ancestral lands. So I see this incident as total unjust, thereby targeting the IDP’s who have endured the worst HR calamity. Now that the Divine laws has taken its precedence. This should be taken very seriously as more such Divine Curses could befall for all unjust rulers. Mr President, PM and all politicos, remember there is the One above who is Just. So fear Him and do justice equally to all Sri Lankans without prejudice to one race. Divine Retribution cannot be stopped by any so called super powers. The One and Only Super power is God Almighty. So fear Him alone. If you dispense justice equally, the Super Power will Bless us all. Meetotamulla is very minute Tsunami and a small warning. Teat all Sri Lankans equally squarely, Muslims, Tamils, Sinhala, not rhetorically but truly, sincerely and gain the respect of all people, do not earn the anger and curses of people, by depriving their rights.

  • 3
    1

    The title suggests about those who died in VAIN; but, I read a poem in a Sri Lankan daily today, which hints the power of those DEAD! The following is its direct English translation:
    “This is the only country in the world, where a garbage mountain slid and collapsed on the people. Those who died (poetically ‘now sleep’) under earth today may possibly be the force that topples the government tomorrow.”
    In Sinhalese, the poetic stanzas are more powerful than mere sentences (translated to English above). Those words depict the collective anger, frustration, and helplessness as a nation and everyone points the finger at this government’s indecisiveness, indifference, carelessness, apathy, selfishness, and strong gluttony for bribes and perks instead of solutions for people’s problems. Apparently, local politicians (UNP MPs: Hirunika and Marikkar) are hiding from the enraged locals now. Angry crowds booed even the Law & Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake, IGP, and the Army commander who visited the area, and they all had to back off!
    It is a proven fact beyond any doubt that this government has neither knowledge nor necessary capability to make any decision, let alone action! It is high time if Prez and PM decide to dissolve parliament and let people decide to have a strong government that can take care of the people! Unfortunately it will be the end of their political career but it will definitely give the country a strong government that makes decisions! ‘There can’t be any government worse than this’ is an emerging opinion that has been registered in people’s silent mind now!

  • 3
    0

    Timely reminder. What we need is a Environment Regulatory Authority who will carry out regulatory controls over safety checks and operations all over the island. Politicians should not have any power to influence this body. Adequate regulations should be in place to prosecute any non performing politicians and public servants who neglect their responsibilities. This is more than enough to keep matter under control. We don’t need any politicians to voice their two cents worth of voices.

  • 4
    1

    The president is Responsible if the PM. and his ministers are not doing their job.Why the hell there been fed with fat salaries and perks with Luxury petrol free vehicles at the poor tax payers sweat. None of these politicians nor the govt.servents,The police or the Armed forces pay Tax.These stooger responbibility is to protect Lives and property. They all have failed in there resposibilies and should be fired like in the private sector Admin.God Save Sri Lanka

  • 1
    0

    Mass L Usuf: “For Those Who Died In Vain In Meethotamulla”

    Usually people “die in vain” for a cause. The Meethotamulla victims were murdered.

    A child building a sand castle knows that it may collapse. When it is time to go home the child often knocks it down with a single kick – this is part of the fun.

    The Meethotamulla garbage mountain had built to ridiculous height and it collapsed. The other day a CMC “expert” pontificated “It may collapse again if it rains”. Where the devil was this expert few days back?

    CMC must face charges of crime against humanity – of course in a local court.

  • 0
    0

    My sincere condolences to all those who have lost their family members to this horrific catastrophe.My heart is with all those people who have been affected by this despicable devastating incident.

    This could have been avoided if our leaders give priority for the welfare of their people. I hope we Learn our lessons from this tragedy and act quickly as possible to avoid any similar incidents in the future. Please let your words and deeds reassure the people that adequate measures have been taken to prevent further problems. Please act now.

    Environmental ministry should hold a conference involving all provincial environment ministers, experts with professional knowledge in the field and responsible officers to explore the extent of the issues involved and brainstorm the options available to resolve them. Implement the accepted proposals with international help within predetermined time frame without delay.
    Please act now.

  • 0
    0

    Our Minister of Finance has the approved princely sum of Rs 100,000 per person who died in this tragedy . This is the value our politicians place on the life of an ‘ordinary’ citizen of Sri Lanka.

  • 0
    0

    The basic problem is the dysfunctional law & order in the country. Any one can do anything and get away, with out a punishment. People who do criminal & inhuman things are rewarded instead with titles, promotions & perks.

    “Ranawiruwos” the best example. They are promoted, given titles and perks for doing dastardly killings , raping, abductions, disappearances etc., with of course the blessings of the governments in power.

    The thing called discipline starts from the elementary schools and must be cultivated continuously in colleges, universities, work places, among the forces nation wide.
    But today , the wrong things are taught from the beginning in schools and everywhere.

    Fictional stories about minority races, religions, imaginary fake stuff about the official religion & the major race are being fed into the minds of students from the young age. Their minds are poisoned beyond repair and they gradually become racists, good for nothing citizen.

    “Meetotamulla is no accident” as some one commented, but a murder by the authorities who murdered thousands of citizen and did just nothing.. They don’t care.

    No one does his/her duty right from top to bottom but get their pay & perks and want more. There are no signs of improvements anywhere to be seen. Elections come & go, people elect the same rowdies, thugs as law makers for their own disaster.
    Countries in south east Asia are all developing at great speed and Lanka is going at the reverse gear. Is it the Mahawamsa curse or what ?!

  • 0
    0

    people who died are poor, so no environmentalist . only for fashion shoots u will see these creatures. also gnansaraya type wont come, no money.
    Animals will have better rights than humans, see india. cow has more right than muslims. 100million population

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