TENSE SIT­U­A­TION IN PUTTALAM DUR­ING PROTEST AGAINST DUMP­ING GARBAGE IN ARUWAKKADU

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS - BY HIRAN PRIYANKARA JAYASINGHE AND PATHMA KU­MARI KANKANAMGE

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.

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