Yahapalana Government too planning on seeking military assistance to solve their matters
BY GAGANI WEERAKOON
During the last six months of the year 2017, a total of 63,987 suspected dengue cases have been reported to the Epidemiology Unit from all over the island.
Approximately 42.62% of dengue cases were reported from the Western Province.
This situation warrants regular removal of possible mosquito breeding sites from the environment, authorities revealed.
However, the intensity of dengue reaching epidemic levels with garbage piling up in prominent venues in Colombo and many other urban areas was marred with mainstream media taking an interest in a copper plate found at a cemetery in Padaviya area.
The story was that a copper plate and other materials allegedly used in performing a black magic act (huniyama), aimed at casting an evil spell on President Maithripala Sirisena, three brothers of SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake, two Provincial Council members and another individual, were found by two youths in the Pahala Usgalla cemetery near the main road at Padaviya, Kebithigollewa.
The copper plate had on it the figures of (as it was reported) President Maithripala Sirisena, former North Central Provincial Council Minister Hethuhamige Nandasena, NCPC Minister Susil Gunaratne and his son Thusitha Gunaratne, SLFP General Secretary cum Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake, and his three brothers, Kaveen Dissanayake (Private Secretary), Lawyer Amila Dissanayake and Ravindra Dissanayake.
It went on to describe that rumours were afloat in Kebithigollewa that some minister, who is greedy for power, has done this charm to bring about confusion in the mind of the President and paralyze the activities of all.
It is also being said, that the aim of the individual, who has done this, is to displace the individuals whose names are mentioned and for himself and his family to secure positions in the present government. The former minister is one who is obsessed with sorcery, they alleged.
While, the majority of Sri Lankans', especially politicians' obsession with astrology and such primitive practices are quite evident, it seemed President Sirisena himself has taken things into his head – even though he attempted to act indifferent – as he was later seen making reference to the incident at a public event. Later, a follow-up news item also appeared, even though it is not clear as on whose interest, saying that as the horoscope of President Sirisena is quite powerful, no person or element in the country will be able to harm him either through occult practices or any other similar rituals.
According to those reports, a noted astrologer Ven. Liyangaswathure Devananda Thera said that President Sirisena has assumed the Presidency purely due to the powerful influence of his horoscope.
He asserted that no enemy in any form will be able to harm the President as the latter was noted for his devout religious beliefs and conduct. The Thera says the President's horoscope is so formidable that his power was bound to last up to 2025.
When looking at the conduct of the Yahapalana Government in recent times, one could not stop but think, whether the rulers have completely kept faith in astrological stars and disregarded the 6.2 million voters who elected them into power, by packing up a government led by a ruler (and some members of his family) with a head of his own.
The mess-up created at dividing ministerial portfolios according to the so-called scientific method has resulted in overlapping subjects coming under each ministry with each other providing authorities responsible to continue pointing fingers at each other and not solving the matter.
For instance, the matter of garbage seems no one's business as heads of local government authorities pointing fingers at the Ministry of Megapolis and the Minister of Local Government authorities, Faizer Mustapha demanding Commissioners and Secretaries of Local Government bodies to resign from their posts if they cannot manage the garbage disposal issue.
"These officers know exactly how corruption flourishes on garbage collection and disposal for a long time.This has become one of the main sources of income for corrupt officials. They do not want to solve the problem as they lose income. Corrupt officials should be responsible for the Meethotamulla garbage dump collapse. If they acted responsibly and genuinely by taking correct decisions timely, such a disaster would not have happened," he said.
Meanwhile, former Mayor of the Sri Jayewardenepura Urban Council Janaka Ranawaka yesterday held Minister of Megapolis Patali Champika Ranawaka responsible for the spread of unauthorized illegal constructions in and around the city of Colombo.
Ranawaka who is also the Sri Lanka Freedom Party's (SLFP) National Convener for Kotte, said that many such illicit constructions will meet a fate similar to the one met by the building that collapsed in Wellawatte last month that killed two persons and injured many more.
He added that several illegal constructions have sprung in Obeysekarapura, Rajagiriya on wetlands owned by the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLRDC). He alleged that this matter had been brought to the attention of Minister Ranawaka but there has been no positive response.
He also noted that several illegal squatters have constructed small-scale establishments in and around the wetland sanctuaries.
However, Minister Ranawaka and the head of SLRDC has shown a significant lack of interest to remove the constructions or taken any legal action against the squatters.
He further noted that this is the first reported encroachment on the wetlands for this year. "Although this information been forwarded to the SLRDC no moves has been made to address the matter", he said.
He further said that the Urban Development Authority has also revoked the power that allows the Urban Council to crack down on such illegal constructions, in a directive issued on 23 February 2017.
With the garbage problem tipped to blow out of proportion, the government is now planning to get the assistance of the military forces to resolve the matter.
This came to the limelight with Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake at a function held in Kotahena area last Wednesday (14) stating that garbage being piled up for the last few days in the Colombo city should be removed by respective authorities within four days.
The minister pointed out that no room should be left for people to suffer by the consequences caused due to the tug of war among government institutions.
Minister Karunanayake said that he updated the President and the Prime Minister as well over the issue.
Accordingly, the help of Security Forces should be sought to remove accumulating piles of garbage in the city, the minister said.
Minister Karunanayake further said that no room should be left for the people to suffer due to the existing conflict between the Provincial Chief Minister and the line ministries over the garbage dumping issue.
Getting the military to help resolving the problem has also been discussed at the special disaster relief committee that met under the patronage of President Sirisena soon after the Cabinet meeting.
During the meeting, Minister Susil Premajayantha has pointed out the need to bring all Divisional Secretariats in the Western Province under one unit to fight against dengue.
He had also suggested that strict laws should be imposed in getting the public to manage their solid waste properly and noted that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa deployed security forces members to keep the city clean.
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne while noting that dengue is not only limited to Sri Lanka but developed countries in Asia and West too, also told the meeting that Cuba went to the extent of destroying houses that had dengue mosquito breeding grounds.
With this, however, President Sirisena noted the impracticality of going into such extremes in Sri Lanka. It was then decided to seek assistance of the military forces to eradicate the garbage menace.
The dumping of garbage on roads is an offence under Section 63 of the Police Ordinance.
It is a cognizable offence, hence people who are found dumping or throwing garbage on to roads can be arrested by the Police then and there without a warrant.
This decision seems to have provided fuel to the government's opponents who claimed that the government should be ashamed of seeking military assistance to remove garbage in Colombo and its suburbs.
Members of this government, used military being used in such areas as an election slogan and it is a shame that they have backtracked on their policies, they claimed.
Elsewhere, in the Northern Province of the country, matters seems to go from bad to worse with Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran accusing Colombo and his Tamil political colleagues of hatching a plot to put him in trouble and leaders in TNA describing it as Chief Minister Wigneswaran digging his own grave.
Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance Leader R. Sampanthan writing a letter to Wigneswaran said that his arbitrary actions led to the situation.
"Thank you for your letter of 14.06.2017 with copy of speech made by you. I wish to state the following: The board of inquiry appointed by you conducted investigations in respect of four ministers. The inquiry had been concluded and their report submitted to you. Two have been found guilty and two others have not been found guilty. You stated in the Provincial Council that you would act on the basis of the report of the board of inquiry. You have called for the resignations of the two ministers, found guilty. No one has complained about that decision. The complaint is about the action taken by you against the other two ministers in regard to whom there is no finding of guilt by the board of inquiry. This action is being seen as a violation of the principles of natural justice and unwarranted.
I called you on Tuesday the 13th to convey to you that such action could be resisted by the two ministers nofound guilty and the members of the provincial council and suggested caution.
I also expressed concern that while you had been in touch with the other leaders of constituent parties in the Tamil National Alliance you had not discussed this matter with Hon. Mavai Senathirajah, Member of Parliament and Leader of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK).
You have called him later in the day and he had conveyed to you that action should not be taken against Ministers not found guilty.
On 14 Wednesday you announced punitive action even against the two ministers who had not been found guilty. Whatever that happened thereafter was as a result of your aforesaid action. It is my view that to bring things to an end it is necessary to first take remedial action pertaining to the two ministers who have not been found guilty. Unwarranted action should not be the cause for promoting disunity and disturbing the functioning of the Northern Provincial Council. I would urge you to take early remedial action in regard to the two ministers not found guilty by your board of inquiry. This would not deter you from holding any further inquiry."
Political experts opined that with the current development, it is likely that the ruling Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will break into two groups by the time the next Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections are held.
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