The Court of Appeal today issued an interim order preventing the Wanathavilluwa Pradeshiya Sabha and its chairman from enforcing any fee from the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) during the dumping of garbage at the Aruwakkalu sanitary landfill site.
The Court also gave temporary permission to dump garbage at the site until the case is further heard.
The issue came about when the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development decided to halt the disposal of garbage accumulated within Colombo city limits at the Kerawalapitiya garbage dump. The Ministry made this decision claiming that the facility’s capacity to accommodate garbage had exceeded its limits.
However, according to CMC sources, the Wanathavilluwa Pradeshiya Sabha had requested a monthly fee of Rs. 2.5 million to dump garbage at the Aruwakkalu site. The cost of transporting the non-recyclable waste to Aruwakkalu alone will amount to Rs. 45 million monthly, despite the cost and other logistical problems involved with the transfer of approximately 200 metric tonnes of garbage.
However, when the first convoy of trucks carrying garbage arrived at the Aruwakkalu site, the security officers have obstructed the disposal of garbage and have stated that the site is not ready to accept garbage. The Wanathavilluwa PS Chairman has then turned up at the venue and forced the trucks to be turned back.
The CMC said that in addition to that, the Wanathavilluwa PS Chairman had started making various demands from the CMC to facilitate the garbage trucks to the Aruwakkalu site. These included the provision of a gulley bowser on a temporary basis, a garbage compactor, construction of a gym etc.
The case will be heard again on August 28, 2019.
The PS Chairman is reportedly using a loophole resulted as a mistake made by the Megapolis Ministry. The Ministry and the Aruwakkalu project had failed to gazette and takeover under the landfill project or the Road Development Authority, a small section of the access road to the site. This section comes under the PS and is being used as one ruse to prevent access.
In his comments to the Daily Mirror, Wanathavilluwa PS Chairman Samantha Munasinghe said that they demanded money as per the Pradeshiya Sabha Act. “According to this Act, we are responsible for the roads and public health in the area. So the CMC will be using our roads while garbage is a public health concern. Once they bring the garbage we have to segregate everything, dispose accordingly and bear the cost of maintenance.”
He further said that he asked for a bowser and a compactor from the Provincial Council. “We will take money for transporting garbage,” he added. “Let the CMC dispose of garbage at Aruwakkalu for the time being. We will take necessary action in the near future.”
Garbage was seen piling up in the Colombo city over the last couple of weeks since the municipality had not been able to collect garbage to dump at a proper location. (Kamanthi Wickramasinghe)