DESERTIFICATION OF GREATER TELDENIYA AREA
Posted on June 6th, 2010

Mahinda Weerasinghe

The people in Teldeniya are fed up by the destruction caused to the their environment by the corrupt agents of the environmental authority, and are getting organised for a demonstration next Saturday by blocking these huge quarrying material carrying trucks plying the local roads by blocking them.

I am forwarding a vital letter sent to the Minister of Environment.

Hon. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa
Ministry of Environment
“ƒ”¹…”Sampathpaya’
No. 82, Rajamalwatta Road,
Battaramulla
03-06-2010

DESERTIFICATION OF GREATER TELDENIYA AREA

Hon. Minster,

                         It is with deep misgiving that I pen this letter. I am the owner of Powrugolla Estate in Udawela, Teldeniya.

 On 1st of August 2009, around 3pm, you’re Officer of the Department of Environment; one S.K.Kahawathe a senior officer, from Wella Asala, Polgolla, arrived at the estate and halted felling of our timber (Gini Sapu) trees, which we have sold to a timber merchant for exploitation.

In case you are not conversant; these are grade 3 trees, and should be chopped down every 5 to 6 years to make way for a new crop to establish. Indeed “ƒ”¹…”Gini Sapu’ is similar to a vegetable, and should be cropped every so many years for the proper economic management of the Estate.

Indeed one needs no permit to fell “ƒ”¹…”Gini sapu’ trees or even a permit to transport them. In fact we are unaware of a single person who has been disallowed of felling such trees by your authority or stopped by the Police from transporting them without a permit.

My first thought when I heard of this action was that, a new law must have come into effect, unknown to us.  In fact your agent has disrupted the legitimate activity of a big Estate without a proper authorisation.  This Kahawatthe on blocking the felling process has informed that we need a permit to fell these trees. We now know that, this was a totally incorrect declaration given to my Manager!

Stranger still, a few days later our tree merchant paid a fee (paid a special fee which no one has done up to then), and received a permit to cut those very trees.

In fact we got to know the essence of the matter when Kahawattha filed a case against my Manager in the local courts about five months later. He accused my manager of environmental denigration as a result of felling these trees, while bizarrely enough, issuing a permit to cut those very tree the week after.

Then on the first day of the trial (01-03-2010), Kawatha and his cohorts never showed up in court. I surmised this was a diversionary tactic by Kahawathe. So I did not press our lawyers to make an X party case and get the indictment thrown out, but wanted very much to proceed with the case in order to establish what his real intentions being!

On the next calling of the case on the 21st May Kahwatthe was present with his Director K.G.T.N. Kirilla , also now with a lawyer in attendance. The Teldeniya court Judge knowing there was something fishy about the case, forwarded it to the chief justice’s office requesting their advice. The next hearing is on 3rd of September 2010.

Obviously we recognise Kahawattha’s main thrust; to harass me using his official position (quite criminally). But he should know that this would be like “ƒ”¹…”pouring water on a ducks back’.

Indeed he was focussed on punishing me from seeking a legal remedy for the 3 rock quarries he has illegally granted without proper reporting or documentation.

Read the web page:-  

“ƒ”¹…”RAPE OF VICTORIA RESERVOIR AREAS BY THE CORRUPT AGENTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY’

 http://sinhale.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/rape-of-victoria-resoviour-areas-by-the-corrupt-agents-of-environmental-ministry/

 Indeed we repeatedly requested through Registered post from the Geological Survey & Mines Bureau and the Environmental Authority to let us have the reports generated before issuing such licences for rock quarrying in the greater Teldeniya area. Specifically the water resources board report and the neighbours’ views. We never received these reports.  Obviously our fundamental right for information has been violated.

 The consequence of such rock quarrying activities is; the landscape laid barren the ground water depleted and in drought season eco system simply withers and the vegetation simply perishes. In time number of school children would die of Lang diseases, and they may be affected with cataracts and cancer by inhaling the quarrying dust. Also the noise pollution and danger to life and limb is a bona fide situation, as a result of collapsing rock quarries. Indeed the local roads carrying quarrying material have been totally destroyed and the bridge in that area is on the verge of collapsing.

Read the web page:-

A NEW MURDER COMMITED AIDED BY THE “ƒ”¹…”LICENCE TO KILL’

http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2009/12/08/a-new-muder-commited-aided-by-the-%E2%80%98licence-to-kill%E2%80%99/

Also attached for your information is the local principal’s grievous letter where he explains his sad plight.

Indeed a 4th quarry was allocated by Kahawatte to quarry for rocks right alongside our water source. This place is the estate forest preserve where we sustain our natural water supply. Luckily water resources board came to know of it and halted it.

See attached report by the water resources board.

Now steadily several villages of Teldeniya are turning to desert. The Victoria reservoir is losing vast quantities of water due to such relentless rock quarrying with a resultant diminishing of power generation of the Victoria hydro station.

Powrugolla Estate once employed well over a 50 workers, but now barley can afford to offer work for seven.  Once the Estate was running a rice mill, using cubes and cubes of water and offering employment up to 40 persons but that’s history now. That mill has to be shut down due to the lack of water. This within 3 months of the initiation of the rock quarrying.

Hon Minster Yapa, your agents are using tax payer’s money and their positions to feather their nests, while exploiting none existing powers. Your agents such as the one named, are getting rich at the expense of the environment depredation which they are being paid to protect in the first instance. All this while obliterating the legitimate and sustainable economic activities of estates such as ours, which bear the nation’s economy. Eventually such crimes have to be accounted for!

At the moment you are answerable as the Minister of Environment for these agents’ questionable activities. Yet finally the buck stops with the president.

The right thing for you to do is to suspend Kahawathe forthwith and put a neutral team to investigate such disparaging activities by this unethical character.

As I feel the nation cannot linger for your decision, I am publishing this compliant in the internet web site, thus galvanising the Sri Lankan public by prodding them to wake up to the insidious ongoing situations. Thus hopefully I will be able to enrol their assistance to halt the desertification of our nation.

Your response, Sir, as to what actions you would instigate if any, would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Mahinda Weerasinghe

Copy to: – President Mahinda Rajapakse

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