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Tug of war among institutions at fault for Meethotamulla: President


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President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that a tug of war between institutions was at fault for the lack of implementation of decisions made in terms of dealing with the garbage which had piled up in Meethotamulla prior to last week’s tragedy.

“It was not a funding issue but an institutional failure,” the President told a meeting with editors and media heads yesterday. 

“There has been a tug of war between institutions and people managing them, ignoring the onus of implementation of decisions already made with regard to the management of garbage in Meethotamulla. Some wanted garbage piled up since there was money made per lorry entry and exit,” revealed Sirisena.

He lamented that no matter how much compensation was paid the lives lost could not be regained, hence all efforts must be made to ensure this calamity does not reoccur. 

It was pointed out that the general public and the media must cooperate with the Government’s efforts to deal with the disposal of waste. He recalled that people, often motivated by politicians or out of ignorance, were quick to protest against the available methods of disposal of waste even if the site was isolated from human habitation. People oppose even the transport of garbage down their roads though the site concerned may be miles away. 

The President recalled a case in Medirigiriya in the past. He said protests against dumping waste in Karadiyana or Dompe were uncalled for since an emergency has arisen following the Meethotamulla tragedy.

The President outlined various discussions taking place to ensure the more sustainable disposal of waste. “A small city state like Singapore has succeeded in managing their waste disposal in a technologically advanced manner. So there is technology and people need not have unnecessary fears or be gullible to politically motivated attempts to whip up protests,” Sirisena urged.

Disaster Management Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, who was with the President during the meeting with the media heads, said the removal of garbage at Meethotamulla would take several months while the Government would fast track alternate solutions to deal with daily garbage. 

 

President orders Gazette to make garbage collection essential service 

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday gave a directive to issue a Gazette to make all garbage disposal services of local government bodies essential from today. 

Earlier today, Megapolis Minister Champika Ranawaka also lobbied to make garbage disposal an essential service. 

 

 

Retired judge to probe Meethotamulla tragedy

A retired judge will be appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena next week to conduct a full-scale probe on last Friday’s collapse of the garbage mountain in Meethotamulla which killed 32 people and destroyed hundreds of houses. 

The move was announced by the President yesterday to ensure an independent assessment and identify the failures and causes, thereby ensuring a calamity of that nature does not occur again. 

“All can make representations to the retired judge. The independent report will be sought within a month. If legal action is recommended against any institution or person we will do so,” President Sirisena added.

 

 

 

 


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