CMC Commissioner sacked over Meethotamulla tragedy

Saturday, 3 March 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Western Province Governor sacks CMC Commissioner based on Presidential Commissionfinding

By Skandha Gunasekara

Almost a year after the incident, the Western Province Mayor yesterday removed the Colombo Municipal Council Commissioner from the post for his role in the Meethotamulla tragedy. 

The first official to be held accountable for the disaster, Colombo Municipal Council Commissioner V.K.A. Anura was dismissed from his position based on the three-member committee report by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Meethotamulla garbage disaster.

The 180-foot garbage mountain collapsed on the Meethotamulla community as the country celebrated Sinhala and Tamil New Year on 14 April 2017, killing 32 and displacing 76 families living in the vicinity. 

Western Province Governor K. C. Logeswaran removed the Commissioner based on the findings of the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe the calamity.

“The President forwarded me the report of the Presidential Commission and requested that I take action based on what the investigation has revealed. Subsequently, I decided to remove the Commissioner from his post after studying the report,” Logeswaran stated.

The commission report found that payments to a private company tasked with disposing waste had increased exponentially in 2015 and 2016. The President’s Media Division revealed that even though the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) had paid Rs. 64 million to dispose of waste in 2014, the amount had increased to Rs. 183 million in 2015 and in 2016 to Rs. 232 million.

The report had also noted that the incompetence of the CMC in waste removal and its refusal to implement solutions offered had exacerbated the garbage problem and led to the collapse of the Meethotamulla dump.

Anura, however, claimed that he had not been informed of any decision to dismiss him from his position as the CMC Commissioner by any authoritative figure.

Soon after the catastrophe and following claims from various parties that the tragedy had been longstanding problem that could have easily been avoided, President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate the issue and to ascertain who was responsible. 

The Commission was headed by retired Appeal Court Judge Dr. Chandradasa Nanayakkara and included Committee Secretary D.M. Karunaratne and public official Palitha Abeywardana.