Incomparable Family Bandyism -Corrupt Sirisena responsible for lowering normal level of Parakrama Samudraya by a half meter to save their hotel from going under water
Posted on December 4th, 2014

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Not one drop of water must flow into the ocean without serving the purposes of man
King Parakrambahu the great (1164-1196 AD), the builder of rainwater reservoir “Sea of Parakrama”

The vision of the King Parakrambahu the great is now overridden by the bandyism of  Sirisena family in Polonaruwa  to save their hotel illegally constructed on the bank of Parakram Samudraya from submerging.

According to irrigation department Parakrama Samudraya is a shallow reservoir with an average depth of 5m and a surface area of 26,500,000 m2 supporting to  irrigate over 18000 acres of paddy land, By lowering the normal level by 0.5 m  7500 acres of paddy land will be deprived of their vital water supply.

The report says After the hotel expansion work in 2009, the sluice gates were secretly opened every night on the instruction of the area Irrigation Engineer escorted by the police. The fishermen who went fishing in the middle of the night in Parakrama Samudraya have seen this and when they exposed it farmer organisations protested against this unscrupulous act. By this time heavy rain fell causing floods in Polonnaruwa during 2010- 2011 that made some unknown party to break the sluice gates,” farmer organisation sources claimed on condition of anonymity.

The sources further claimed that the tank that can retain 110,000 acre feet of water now holds only 80,000 due to lowering the water levels. According to the sources, around 7,500 acres of paddy lands could have been cultivated with the 30,000 acre feet deficit of water. They also said how the hotel sewerage pipes are diverted to the tank underneath.

This has deprived the downstream farmers of enough water for their paddy cultivation. This was clearly evident by the way the Irrigation Department did not allow the farmers to cultivate paddy in all their paddy lands during the recent drought but half or one third of their lands due to lack of water. As a result the country faced a severe rice shortage during the past few months and had to import rice from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Even the sewerage tanks were overflowing very often due to high water levels,” sources claimed.

Full Report  Courtesy Sunday Leader

Watering Corruption

By Nirmala Kannangara

http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2014/10/19/watering-corruption/

The Irrigation Department has come under severe criticism for releasing water from Parakrama Samudraya in Polonnaruwa to safeguard interests of a sibling of a powerful politician in the District thereby depriving farmers, who live along either side of the downstream, of water for their agriculture purposes.

The Irrigation Department has succumbed to political pressure and allow Hotel Sudu Araliya on the banks of Parakrama Samudraya, to disregard all norms of irrigation rules and expand the hotel encroaching on ‘Sea of Parakrama’.

Hotel Sudu Araliya was earlier by the Parakrama Samudraya but after it was bought out by Dudley Sirisena of Nipuna rice fame, the brother of Health and Nutrition Minister Maithreepala Sirisena, the hotel encroached its property on the tank reservation. Although this illegal expansion work has been brought to the notice of the Irrigation Department and the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) by the people and environmental organisations, no action was taken by these two government institutions to stop the illegal constructions, alleged farmer organisations.

According to the farmer organisations, a part of the hotel including the sprawling garden is well within the tank reservation and is below the spill level. If the tank is filled to its full supply level (spill level), part of the hotel and its garden will go under water,” the sources said.
To prevent the hotel from submerging, the Irrigation Department is compelled not to fill the tank to its maximum capacity but one foot below and the sluice gates were secretly opened every night to prevent the hotel from going under water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secret affairs

After the hotel expansion work in 2009, the sluice gates were secretly opened every night on the instruction of the area Irrigation Engineer escorted by the police. The fishermen who went fishing in the middle of the night in Parakrama Samudraya have seen this and when they exposed it farmer organisations protested against this unscrupulous act. By this time heavy rain fell causing floods in Polonnaruwa during 2010- 2011 that made some unknown party to break the sluice gates,” farmer organisation sources claimed on condition of anonymity.

The sources further claimed that the tank that can retain 110,000 acre feet of water now holds only 80,000 due to lowering the water levels. According to the sources, around 7,500 acres of paddy lands could have been cultivated with the 30,000 acre feet deficit of water. They also said how the hotel sewerage pipes are diverted to the tank underneath.

This has deprived the downstream farmers of enough water for their paddy cultivation. This was clearly evident by the way the Irrigation Department did not allow the farmers to cultivate paddy in all their paddy lands during the recent drought but half or one third of their lands due to lack of water. As a result the country faced a severe rice shortage during the past few months and had to import rice from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Even the sewerage tanks were overflowing very often due to high water levels,” sources claimed.

Meanwhile National Organiser, All Ceylon Farmer Federation Namal Karunaratne said, neither the Irrigation Department nor the CEA has prevented Hotel Sudu Araliya violating irrigation and environmental rules simply because Health and Nutrition Minister’s brother owned it. Meanwhile questions have been raised whether the Irrigation Department’s responsibility is to look after farmer interests or the politicians’ and their siblings’.

This is the second biggest tank after the Senanayake Samudraya. King Parakramabahu the Great constructed this tank to provide enough water for the farmers, not to promote tourism. As it is illegal to open sluice gates at any tank before it is filled to its maximum capacity, we want to know from whom the Irrigation Department obtained the approval to reduce the water level in the tank by one foot, Karunaratne queried.

According to Karunaratne, as a result of needless water releasing, farmers along the downstream were unable to cultivate paddy in more than 2,000 acres.

Having had to abandon 2,000 acres of paddy lands is a great loss to the country. This is not the only instance where paddy was not grown due to lack of water as the Irrigation Department has continuously released water in many tanks to ‘satisfy’ the ruling party politicians. There are also instances the Irrigation Department is accused of drying up tanks to enable politicians to build hotels on tank reservations. This is the main cause for the prevailing rice shortage,” Karunaratne alleged.

Politicians’ hotels

Yodakandiya tank in Tissamaharamaya, Balalu Wewa in Anuradhapuara, Nuwara Wewa in Anuradhapura, Magalla Wewa in Kurunegala are few tanks the Irrigation Department lower the water levels almost daily to prevent the hotels, which have come up on their respective reservations, from going under water. All these hotels belong to powerful politicians in the ruling party.

Meanwhile, questions have been raised why the CEA has allowed this hotel to violate the National Environment Act by allowing the project to ‘establish a suitable reservation’.

The Sunday Leader is in possession of the letter the CEA has sent to P.G.W. Sirisena, Managing Director Sudu Araliya Hotel instructing that any obstruction to the natural flow of the tank shall not be done.

Director General, CEA, Ramani Ellepola in her letter dated July 26, 2012 to the hotel has also stated that a monitoring committee consisting of representatives of the CEA, Irrigation Department, Urban Development Authority, Department of Archaeology, Divisional Secretariat and Thamankaduwa Pradeshiya Sabha and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority will monitor and supervise the project ensuring that stipulated environmental conditions and mitigating measures are being complied with.

If all these government institutions monitored the project, why couldn’t they monitor the way the Irrigation Department keeps on lowering the water level of the tank? Has this hotel obtained the Environmental Protection License (EPL) in accordance with section 23 (A) of the National Environmental Act No: 47 of 1980 as amended by the act No: 56 of 1988 and No: 53 of 2000 prior to the commencement of operation and if so, have they got the license renewed thereafter,” Karunaratne queried.

Meanwhile Attorney-at-Law who specialises in Environmental Laws, Jagath Gunawardena said it is the responsibility of the CEA to make a periodic inspection and see whether the hotel has violated any environmental laws.

The Irrigation Department has a primary responsibility to maintain the maximum water level of the tank. In addition if there is a violation of law, the Irrigation department has to inform the CEA in the first instance. The CEA has no authority to instruct the project proponent to take action to establish a suitable reservation to the tank in consultation with the Irrigation Department and maintain it properly. The CEA has to carry out periodic inspection whether the project proponent has complied with the environmental regulations or has violated them,” Gunawardena said.

Meanwhile a senior Irrigation Officer on condition of anonymity said that all tanks in the country have to be filled to its full supply level since these tanks provide the required water for the farmer community.

It is highly illegal for the Irrigation Department to avoid filling Parakrama Samudraya to its full supply level. According to the State Land Ordinance, there should be a reservation at every tank. This hotel has been constructed within the reservation and we don’t have any powers to avoid filling any tank to its maximum. Every tank has to be filled to its full capacity. The Irrigation Department has the authority to open the sluice gates when the tank overflows or when there is a threat to the tank bund,” sources said.

According to her, this is a ‘mafia’. This fraud is not only done by the Irrigation Department but also by Mahaweli Authority, he said. All hydropower generations are derived from Mahaweli river water and the Mahaweli Authority too follow a ‘secret’ method to release water to prevent hydropower generation.

Impediment to Hydropower generation

There are allegations against Mahaweli Authority that they lower water levels to prevent hydropower generation in support of private parties who supply electricity to the national grid. By lowering the water levels, these officials restrict hydropower generation and encourage the Ceylon Electricity Board to purchase the necessary electricity from private thermal power plants for a higher price. Likewise the Irrigation Department lowers tank water to prevent hotels on reservation from submerging,” she alleged.

She further said how Irrigation officers came under constant pressure to give approval to build a hotel on the Bolgoda Lake reservation.

A ruling party MP from Kolonnawa wanted to get the Irrigation Department’s approval to build his hotel in Bolgoda lake reservation. Although our officers came under severe pressure we made sure not to give it. But however, Irrigation Department’s approval has been given to all other hotels that have been built on tank reservations due to political pressure,” she alleged.

According to her, the same devastation has been taking place at the nearby Minneriya and Girithale tanks as well and added that although the Kavudulla tank reservation has not yet encroached by any politician, hotels could be built at any moment without any proper approvals.

She further said that it is disheartening to note how the CEA and the Irrigation Department have allowed Sudu Araliya Hotel to encroach the buildings on the reservation when the minimum water levels have been given to prevent any construction work.

At least 0.5 metres have to be kept for the high flood level from the full supply level. Another minimum 0.5 metres have to be kept above the high flood level to give approvals for any construction work. All these regulations have been allowed to violate openly. As water levels are lowered to ‘satisfy’ the politicians and their siblings, this has adversely affected the paddy cultivation in the country. The rice shortage the country faced during the past few months is a direct impact of this situation,” she alleged.

Speaking further she said that releasing sewerage to the tank is completely illegal and added all attempts to get the higher irrigation officials to take action against this have gone to deaf ears.

The then Irrigation Engineer Polonnaruwa is the Ministry Secretary now. Even the CEA has clearly stated that treated or untreated waste water should be discharged into a properly designed waste water treatment system and should be discharged into agricultural lands and should not be discharged into either Parakrama Samudraya or to any waterways or any storm water drainage system at any time. Since the project proponent has openly violated all these condition the CEA too can take stern action against the hotel. It is also interesting to find out whether the CEA has renewed the EPL and if so, how they did it,” she said.

 

9 Responses to “Incomparable Family Bandyism -Corrupt Sirisena responsible for lowering normal level of Parakrama Samudraya by a half meter to save their hotel from going under water”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    WHOM ARE WE COMPLAINING TO ?? TO THE LORDS ABOVE ??

    Are we dumb, so as not to see that President MR did not know all about this family bandyism ? Who are the other Politicians who own Hotels on TANK BUND RESERVATIONS ? IN ANY CASE WHAT TOOK SO LONG TO EXPOSE THIS POLITICAL FRAUD ? Is it because MS crossed ? Otherwise all this would have never been revealed. It is not fair to find fault with the Government Officers who were complicit in this illegal activities, as they have to put food on the table. One wrong move and they will be at home.

    THIS SHOWS TO WHAT EXTENT GOVERNMENT OFFICERS AND WHISTLE BLOWERS HAVE BEEN INTIMIDATED BY THESE POLITICAL SUCKERS. ALL OF THEM.

    Are we still dumb, so as not to realize that My3pala Sirisena will be blind to all his family bandyism, and the family bandyism of all the other Politicians in this category.?? THEY ARE ALL IN CAHOOTS WITH EACH OTHER. POX ON ALL THESE DAMNING POLITICIANS. THERE WILL BE A SPECIAL APAAYA FOR THEM. THE MAFIA HYPOCRITES.

    THIS ALSO SHOWS VERY CLEARLY THAT NOT ONLY THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT, BUT THE ANTICIPATED GHOST GOVERNMENT OF MY3PALA WILL CONTINUE TO RUIN THIS BEAUTIFUL ISLAND OF SRI LANKA, AS LONG AS THEY HOLD POWER. THEY WILL SUCK THE BLOOD OF THE PEOPLE WHO PUT THEM INTO POWER. PERIOD.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    This is BAD IF true.

    But why NOW?

    Why NO disciplinary action taken THEN? No point closing the stables AFTER the horses have bolted.

    Don’t we see a pattern? Duminda Silva gets away with murder. KP/KA get away with terrorism. My3 got away with misusing his position.

  3. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Lorenzo and all

    Opposition MOU has not proposed any solid policy for combatting Corruption, Nepotism and cronyism. They are proposing a mere statement to say transparent and responsible procedures to combat corruption. (විනිවිදභාවයකින් යුත් වගවීමේ ක්රමවේදයක්) This is the same old song they have been playing since independence, rather, a stale propaganda statement from the past years.

    MR should appreciate the fact that these are the real problems that has run rampant both in politics and in the state structures that provide basic services to ordinary people. MR should introduce in the policy document some solid proposals to combat them.

    Without an alternate strategy to combat these crimes of corruption MR’s attempts will end up in utter failure.

    Take for example, in the so called most democratic country in the world, President Obama has recently called the fight against corruption “one of the great struggles of our time.” The costs of corruption in the US are immeasurable – injustice, misallocation of resources, economic decay. Corruption affects a staggering number of livelihoods and lives and erodes the faith of citizens in their governments and in the rule of law. The United States views corruption as a growing threat to the national security of their country and allies around the world.

    For years, the United States has led the fight against international bribery. In 1977, it passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, domestic legislation which prohibits Americans and other persons and businesses that fall under the jurisdiction of the law from bribing foreign officials in order to obtain or retain business. To level the playing field, the United States sought to create a “race to the top” by encouraging other OECD countries to criminalize such bribery. The Anti-Bribery Convention was signed in 1997 and took effect in 1999, becoming what Transparency International calls “the gold standard” in the fight against corruption.

    Conflict of interest is a situation in which a public official has a private or other interest which is such as to influence, or appear to influence, the impartial and objective performance of his or her official duties.

    Therefore, only one way of tackling the issue of conflict of interest is to actually prohibit (prevent) certain conflicts of interest. Regulation should be designed not only to impose obligations on public officials, but also to help them to resist improper approaches, and more generally to contribute to the development of a public service culture.

    MR should take a cue from these statements and act wisely to gain confidence of the people.

    1. Corruption – Sri Lanka needs a solid legal framework to fight the corruption that has run rampant both in politics and in the state structures. Some legislation similar to US criminal conflict of interest statute, 18 U.S.C. § 208

    2. Nepotism and cronyism – introduction of independent public audit of local and government authorities, and a strong national code of conduct. Engrain and define clearly and explicitly criminal conflict of interest in the statutory book and penal code of the law.

    3. Abolition of executive presidency – Appoint multi-party constitutional commission consisting of constitutional experts to redraft a new constitution abolishing EP.

    Fewer safeguards means an increased corruption risk in the government. The present bribery and corruption commission is no use. The legal system should be capable of handling and prosecuting these criminals like in US.

  4. Independent Says:

    Although Parakrama Samudraya is highlighted here this documents proves almost all reservoirs water are being released to reduce water level.
    There can be many reasons to release water , including possible damage to the dam and also for flood prevention measures downstream of the reservoir. Without knowing the facts, it is foolish to blame on individuals and fabricate lies.

    Do I have to remind the readers that the Minister of Irrigation is Nimal Siripala De Silva?(/b>
    This means My3 had to give money to his friend Nimal or it may have done under friendship. Entirely possible but highly unlikely – please read on.

    Level of “Irrigation Engineer” ( or IE as we generally called) is the position give to a fresh graduate. Therefore it is not possible that ” then Irrigation Engineer Polonnaruwa is the Ministry Secretary now” statement be true. Ivan De Silva who is the secretary was not then IE of Polonnaruwa. He was an IE possibly in 1978-79 but I don’t know where. HE is already a Deputy Director in 1993Additional Secretary went to Uni with me every day in the bus and he did not do such theft as well. So, I don’t know who is this guy, this fictitious IE.

    Such high level corruption is not passed down to IE level, IE simply carry out the orders of his/her senior , Chief Engineer. Young Engineers face a lot of pressure from seasoned thieves usually politicians backed businessmen very similar to that of the owner of this Hotel. I have given the experience of a young man in other comments regarding our Prime Minister and late Ex-President DB Wijetunge. It is a true story.

    Therefore, although I consider this as another mud slinging , the story presented may well be true the way the country is being run. If this kind of massive fraud with no regard to the losses it brings to the country can be carried out for so many years there must be corruption form top to bottom. No wonder our beloved motherland now ranks 85th position in corruption index.

    This is exactly why all this must come to a stop. Unfortunately it will never happen under the current president.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    I agree with NMY on #1.

    But have to disagree on #2 and #3.

    WHEN EP goes a large part of Nepotism and cronyism goes. IF 13 amendment also goes then MOST part of Nepotism and cronyism goes.

    But Nepotism and cronyism by MPs will remain. STILL it is a MASSIVE improvement.

    Actually IF My3 wins, EP will be abolished if he likes it or not. The current parliament has 149 UPFA MPs, 9 JVP and 14 TNA. And UNP MPs. They will ALL vote to scrap it because they didn’t get it!! Sour grapes mentality of our MPs. (If I can’t have it, no one should have it mentality.)

  6. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Lorenzo and Independent
    I believe this story and when I went to Sri Lanka last June, I stayed at this particular hotel. They told me all about this hotel and how minister’s brother bought it etc etc.

    We have been travelling all over SL including 4 days in Jaffna. But the Polonnaruwa hotel was the worst. It was so close to the Parakrama Samudraya, we found lot of insects coming through the drainage pipes in the bath.

    If you think that corruption extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage can be tackled by removing EP from the government hierarchy you should inform your thesis to Anne Koch, Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia at Transparency International.

    I am sure they will tell you that your are mistaken. My suggestions are in line with the Transparency International proposals.

  7. Independent Says:

    NMY,

    How can you believe this story just because you heard that and observed the other ?

    I have proved it has been fabricated to sling mud not only at the one aimed at but also to the good name of very senior engineers
    Surely the hotel is owned My3’s brother. There could have been illegal construction as well. But the main story involving Irrigation Engineers is completely false. You can search Ivan’s name in the web and look at his CV. He was not the Irrigation Engineer (very much too senior) to collect money from My3’s bother. I know him personally. He is not a thief even if My3 is a thief which I don’t know . Based on this, the whole storey is just mud slinging, I declare. There could have been some truth in some incidents because it is the culture our president unfortunately allowed to grow, but this whole thing is for mud slinging purpose.

    That does not mean I defend My3 or ANY politician. You said Champika is a thief immediately after the Pavitra’s apavitra statement which she withdrew in the parliament itself. This is not good for you. You call innocent people thieves and thieves saints.
    Don’t keep on doing this unless you know all these 100% true. You can express your support to reason out things.

    But I am sure you have agree with me the unprecedented deterioration of country’s values system that too place during past 5-6 years. Sujeeva Chamikara has been sending so many emails how the environmental damage being done by constructing hotels in pristine rainforest areas in Hunnas Falls. Sunil Vijayapala faught a lot to stop murder of Sinharaja Forrest. More hotels in Yala. These have been done with the president’s knowledge.

    But the mother of all bungle to get India’s support is coming, I suspect, unless it is stopped now. This is mu genuine fear. Call me a FOOL if you think otherwise.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    NMY,

    So you AGREE with Abolition of executive presidency.

    That is very good. We are getting somewhere. Which candidate offers SOME HOPE of that? ONLY My3.

    Audits are happening even today but the AG has no real power when it comes to politicians. If the JHU proposal of reactivating 17 amendment works, then there is some hope.

    There is another side to this. DUDLEY is a SINHALA BUDDHIST businessman. He may have done some bad things but SL MUST protect its SINHALA BUDDHIST businessmen. JR and RP made life difficult for UPALI WIJEWARDANA just because he was on the BLUE camp. What a bad thing to do!

    If the govt. helped him, his PATRIOTIC business empire would have ECLIPSED the bloody LTTE Maharaja business mafia and KOTILAWALA’s unpatriotic mafia.

  9. Independent Says:

    Lorenzo,
    Even you said from the beginning EP must stay but JHU has done a very good job to convince both of us. Your dislike for JHU was based on this.

    AG is one of the most difficult jobs. This job is like “If you go home your wife will die. If you stay on the road you will die” story of the man who is carrying a backpack with a snake inside. See what destruction these politicians have done to our country ?

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