Garbage management should be considered an essential service and brought under a Central Garbage Management Authority, placing garbage management across the country under same without any delay, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.
He also said that the people should get rid of the popular slogan of ‘we don’t need garbage of Colombo’ and join together to solve the issue considering the matter as a national issue.
He made these observations at a press conference held at the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry auditorium at Battaramulla.
“Various governments had attempted to solve this issue at various times but certain politicians attempted make petty political gains by organizing protests and urging the people to do so,” Minister Ranawaka said. “Those protests against the scientific garbage management attempts led to this tragedy at Meethotamulla. So we should not allow anybody to abuse democracy in the country to disrupt these constructive projects .”
He also said that there is talk that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had a plan to dump garbage at Aruwakkaru in Puttlam. He added however that had been halted as the Wild Life Department was against it. The message was conveyed to us by the Central Environment Authority. The Minister however conceded that it was a commendable task as it was a scientific approach.
He also said that certain institutions level allegations that the authorities asked for bribes to allow them to engage in garbage management. “However we have granted the projects under open tenders and they have been disqualified due to various reasons including the inadequacy of technology” Minister Ranawaka said. “I clearly state that there had been no corruption in our ministry.”
Minister Ranawaka further stated that instructions were sought for garbage management through an expert committee. In 2015 international tenders were called for the garbage management in Karadiyana and Gampaha. “119 local institutions and 11 international institution applied,” Minister Ranawaka said. “So we selected four investors and three investors for Karadiyana and Gampaha respectively after a technical evaluation.
Those who were not selected say that they were asked bribes. This is the nature of the country.”
He also said that that Meethotamulla land was handed over to Western Povince in 2012. The CMC dumped garbage there and later the Western Province was given another land in Muthurajawela.
“With this our ministry’s responsibility is over” Minister Ranawaka said. “The responsibility of Garbage disposal came within the ambit of provincil councils”.
Megapolis and Western Development deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna also participated at the Press Conference.