TENSE SITUATION IN PUTTALAM DURING PROTEST AGAINST DUMPING GARBAGE IN ARUWAKKADU
Atense atmosphere prevailed in Puttalam due to a massive protest that took place against the proposed dumping ground in Aruwakkadu in Wanathawilluwa. More than 5000 people including the Maha Sangha and religious dignitaries participated.
The Organization for a Clean Puttalam, which had convened the protest, swore an oath to carry on the campaign non-stop to prevent the proposed project from being started anywhere in the Puttalam District. The Maha Sangha and other religious dignitaries who addressed the gathering pointed out the adverse effect of the proposed project including its threat to public health.
The protesters, carrying banners and placards, paraded the streets of the Puttalam town and staged a protest in front of the Puttalam District Secretariat. Addl. District Secretary P.a.d.m. atukorala, who met a group of representatives of the organization including Chief Incumbent of the Kandakuliya Samudrasanna Viharaya Ven. Bendiwewas Jinasena Thera.
During the meeting, the Ven. Thera stressed that the people would continue the campaign until the proposed project was given up. Later the representatives handed over a memorandum to the Addl. District Secretary. The protest was called off after marching to the Puttalam lagoon.
Meanwhile the residents of the Aruwakkadu area launched a fast in front of the Kalpitiya Divisional Secretariat to protest against the proposed garbage dumping ground.
President of the Kalpitiya Civil Organisation Collective and secretary of the Tourism Organisation Abdul Malik said the garbage dumping ground would be located at Serakkuliya, a few kilometres off Aruwakkadu in close proximity to the Kalpitiya Lagoon. He pointed out that proposed project would cause extensive environmental damage to the lagoon and that it would affect both the fisheries industry and agriculture in the area.
He said the fast that was staged yesterday was a preliminary step and that his organisation was prepared to take the issue to the Human Rights Council in Geneva if the government ignores their call to abandon the project.