Posted on December 26th, 2012

Mahinda Weerasinghe

The people in the greater Teldeniya area are wondering what has gone wrong with their environment! Earth Slips and Landslides are happening in numbers as never before. Surely it has rained ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-cats and dogsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ before and more aggressively than the years 2010 to 2012. Why is this this angry mother earth so vindictive to Teldeniya residents just the last two to three years?

In fact there is a simple explanation, to this obvious question!

But before we find an answer this query; why this drastic reaction of Mother Nature on the Teldeniya residents, we should try to get a theoretical soil mechanics understanding of this phenomena?

In fact a landslide is the rapid mass movement of soil, mud and/or rocks downhill due to the pull of gravity. Landslides are very common and occur in a variety of forms. Land may topple off in a big chunk, or slip down in bits. Landslide may be composed of mud or may contain rocks and other debris. Most landslides occur gradually, but some may be sudden.

Natural causes of landslides include:
1) Heavy and/or prolonged rain
Gravity is an invisible force that pulls all objects towards Earth. The effect of gravity is more prominent on a steep slope or on a hilly area. When rain falls, water enters or infiltrates into the top soil which makes the soil become heavier and therefore more vulnerable to the pull of gravity. When soil absorbs all the water that it is capable of holding, it is said to be saturated. Soil is therefore heaviest and most susceptible to the effects of gravity, when saturated. When large areas of soil become saturated on steep slopes, the pull of gravity causes the top layers of the soil to slide downhill, therefore resulting in a landslide.

2) Tremors and an Earthquake is a tremor or movement in the EarthƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s crust. They are a deadly and unpredictable type of natural disaster and are the leading reason for landslides or Rock falls occurring worldwide. Loose soil, rocks and boulders can easily be dislodged from hilly areas and allowed to move downhill when the violent shaking of the ground transpires. Landslides are more likely to take place when the earthquake is of a high magnitude.
Human Induced Activities that produce landslides is:


Quarrying/ Rock Mining

Bad agricultural practices such as slash and burn agriculture

Deforestation is the removal or cutting down of trees and other types of vegetation from the land. The firm roots of the trees also help to keep the soil in place, even when it absorbs water, thus diminishing the effects that gravity has on the soil. It is when these trees are removed that the bare and exposed soil is left defenseless against the pulling force of gravity when saturated since trees help to keep soil firmly in place. Soil movement takes place more easily and rapidly resulting in deadly landslides.
Quarrying or rock mining refers to the cutting away or excavation of hilly or mountainous areas so that rocks and minerals can be extracted from the land. Quarrying is rampant in the greater Teldeniya area and as a results the land being left devoid of trees and vegetation. Without trees to hold the soil in place, soil movement occurs effortlessly and rapidly.

Greater Teldeniya villages such as Udispattuwa, Ranmulla, Rankanda, Udawela, Pahurugolla, etc., have blood stained valleys and mountains. The environment of these villages has during the last four years been battered and its green and pleasant environs vastly degraded by rock quarrying in the area. Indeed 4 to 5 people have died due to collapsing of quarries.

Indeed thousands of acres of its magnificent bio-diverse vegetative canopy, wildlife and flora, natural aquifers and other sources of water have been systematically violated. Agricultural lands (cash crops like cocoa, pepper, vanilla, mangoes, avocados etc.) of the Central highlands are being literally eradicated as this is being penned.

The reason is palpable; surface and ground water drains off as soon as the rains touch the ground as a result of the ongoing rock quarrying activities in the area. During the dry weather, existing trees are dying in large numbers due to reduced water retention in the soil following unrelenting quarrying. These areas which once fed the Victoria reservoir with a substantial amount of water are now incapable of doing so. This in turn would affect the power generation the country needs badly.

But there is a more malign effect which has dramatically increased the Mother NatureƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s reaction and makes the peasants living along the hills of Teldeniya exposed to death and pandemonium.

Indeed hidden behind Powrugolla Estate and unseen and unnoticed by most locals, the corrupt environmental authority bureaucrats have given permission for Rock quarrying activities. Not One, but five quarries. And these quarry mudalalies are getting rich at the expense of raping and destroying the environment.

In fact when issued with this license the quarries were informed that when laying explosives it should it not be placed not deeper that 5 feet but they place 10 feet. That was the basic law and everybody in the business knew no one is going to abide by such rules.

Theoretically Rock blasting is:

The effect of an explosion is to convert a chemical substance into a gas which then produces enormous pressure. The process takes place rapidly in 2000-6000 m/s shattering the rock adjacent to the explosive and exposing the surrounding area to stress.

The nature of the wave formations presents the following phenomena:

On ignition of a spherical charge placed in a solid medium such as rock, a shock wave is propagated, causing crushing and possibly liqueƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚­faction of the adjacent rock. Radial cracks are also formed which fade out with increasing distance from the wave front, as the energy is dispersed to a greater volume of the medium. In most applications of explosives in construction work, a free face is usually present and a more complex pattern of wave formation is produced.

In other words blast travel through the rock medium and has the following effects.

Every time a blast occurs it vibrates and quiver the hard rock thus free the top soil and rock bond and also loosens the roots soil grip. Now when it rains the weight of the soil increases and rock surface in addition becomes wet and slippery. Now earlier packed soil could hold together the soil mass in place, but now loose, soil simply washes away, as the vital connection has been released.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The result of such continuous blasting and vibrating rocks is unable to hold to the rock surface which by now has become slippery and muddy. Then the inclines closer to perpendicular of the rock surfaces, burdened and unattached, releases its heavy burden.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ We can thank the corrupt Environmental bureaucrats for issuing such licensees to kill.

Compound to this is the noise pollution and dust pollution and thus mounting the impending disasters.

The Kandyan peasants inhabiting these areas are simple country folk, mostly unlettered and ignorant about defending themselves against the quarry Mafia. They are utterly helpless and frightened of the rich and powerful outsiders who intrude into their lives with commercial ventures detrimental to their wellbeing. So when a cancerous project is set in motion injurious to their environment, they are helpless to resists or protect their rights or their heritage.

You would say ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-ignorance can blissƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚; but, if the death and destruction of all their good life can end in a bliss-full demise, then surely this is bliss!ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  WhatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s more, family left behind receives a sack of rice as a going away present too, from the associated quarrying mudalali!

This rape of their environment was covertly initiated by the corrupt agents of the environmental authority. These so-called watch dogs of the environment have been slyly issuing licenses for rock quarrying without first consulting the local populace as the law of the land demands. Now greed of the quarry interests and the avarice of the guardians have merged, and their avarice knows no limits.

This quarrying activity not only destroys the natural surface/underground water sources, it also contaminates the downstream rivers and ultimately the Victoria catchments itself will suffer far reaching consequences. An industry which pays little or no tax has galvanized a process of desertification of greater Teldeniya area.

At the moment an estimated 10,000 families or more are adversely affected. But that is just the beginning. If this goes on, the cancer will spread and a once green and luxurious countryside will soon be like a war torn zone. Unless such activity is brought to an immediate halt, the forests, valleys and hills of the Central Highlands which have existed thousands of years will be lost and in time would even disrupt energy generation of the Victoria dam.

While Environment Minister is preaching to the world how to protect the environment and what remedies should be initiated, corrupt agents of authority are permitting the raping of the environment for pecuniary gain. Those salaries to protect the environment are, in fact, helping to destroy it by joining the ruthless and unethical miners. Asking such people to look after the environment is like asking the fox to look after the chicken coop.

The BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s first act upon gaining enlightenment was to give thanks to the bo tree for the shade it provided him in his long quest for knowledge. That is, even before he left to sermonize his findings to the world. The reason why every Buddhist temple has a bo tree and the devotees pour water to its roots to sustain life.

The concerned people such as geologists, environmentalists and hydrologists should to come forward and helps to bring these corrupt officials to book and defend the country from rape and desecration of our beautiful heritage. If we donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t act now, in time this cancer will engulf the whole nation. We call upon both national and international environmental watchdog agencies to aid us fight this war of terror on our habitat and save this wondrous greater Teldeniya from a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-has beenƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ heritage.


26th of Dec. 2012


  1. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    mahinda – none of the politicians these scoundrels are worried about the destruction of sri lanka – i wrote a letter published in last sunday island paper on kudawe river sand mining – all done with the blessings of this present government – from top to bottom. i hope the minister take notice of that unfortunately i doubt these idiots read lankaweb as they aren’t proficient in computer literacy (or any literacy) – the funny thing is that some forum members BLINDLY support the lopsided mahinda chinatana (i just can’t comprrehend this) and they are more worried about this bloody constitution and indulge is various arguments while the country is eroding fast! the money is just flowing out no money coming in – the country has being mortgaged may be for another two or three generation –
    just diverting…. wahabi threat is real in sl – galleface is swamped by them – we need a ‘cleanup’ of some sought and a campaign to make these wahabis speak sinhala language or force them(i know its too harsh) this threat is far more sinister than tiger threat and the repercussions will shake sl.
    wahabi hussain fahmy is denigrating buddhism in a subtle way and andy phallus hurting us sinha+hela people – this type of thing is what shenali and others are hinting we buddhists are impotent and meek – we need to hit these people hard so that they will never raise their heads again. (like saudis who hit non islamists) in fact all buddhist countries should form a front now and fight these wahabis and tamil tiger sakkiliyas head on. i hope at least gota will take notice of this if ever he can manage internet. we really need to force these bastards to speak sinhala – when you call dialog call center (english section)- you are greeted with ‘vanakkam’ not ayubovan this is totally unacceptable!!!!!!!!!! – again we need to clean up colombo before it’s too late – first a campaign to promote ‘speak sinhala’ among wahabis.

  2. Nanda Says:

    Mr. Vijayapala,
    How can you critisies the government and yet the moderator let your comments appear ?
    Lorenzo was hard on this Fahmy cheat who belittle Buddhism. He is no more due to too much moderation by Lanka Web.
    Don’t know why this moderator delay my comments by 2 days. Wahabis have infiltrated Lankaweb ?

  3. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    nanda – wonder whether u will ever read this – anyway – you better pose the question directed to me to the moderator who is a close friend of mine – his name is xxxx, an engineer by profession qualified in russia. thanks to him we have this lankaweb a ‘pressure valve relief’ for all expats from all over the world. if he is treating you step-motherly he may have a solid reason for that – i think i can remember you commenting some time ago – by the way what is this banakkam? what made you write this word which has no meaning – is it a vanadalised version of vanakkam the tamil way of greeting. of course i was annoyed of this greeting as it should have been ayubowan at dialog call center – this is the sri lankan way of greeting – true there is a wahabi threat in sl but it has no affect on lankaweb – muhudu maha viharaye in panama is encroached by wahabis – i hope the politicians in sri lanka take some action on this and clean up panama area, like they did at anuradhapura – the only wahabi here is hussainfarmy, not a threat but we are keeping him alive for amusement, just as sometime ago we had priyantha w, who went to far to amuse the editor.
    yes i criticize issues and people, administrators not governments – even mahinda i will criticise when he does something stupid. but some in forum blindly support him. there is a fear of politicians for whatever reason.
    right now i am in galkissa enjoying the beach etc. and hitting the administrators, who are just oblivious to what is happening in the country like the issue i raised on sand mining of kudawa river – even the president and the ministers do not exactly know whats going on in the country, which is pathetic – so was at the time of sinharaja road construction – true mahianda is worshiped for eliminating the tiger sakkily outfit but that does not necessarily mean people should shun away when this man does something foolish – like the construction of airports in dumbara valley and nuwaraeliya – thank the gods that was stopped. i wonder what this 100 odd advisers are doing? are they downright stupid or they just say ‘yes president’ all the time – i mean the lopsided mahinda chintana – i think gota will do a far better job than mahinda and that’s my personal belief. by the way why is formality? why can’t you address me as sunil rather than mr. vijayapala – i wonder when sri lkankans become less formal and less rigid and regimental – the legacy we inherited from the ungulate british. thats all nanda.

  4. Nanda Says:

    thank U sunil ayya. hope your “friend” will allow this.
    i was in dehiwala area just a month ago and surpised to see hela familes dissapeared to farther suburbs leaving whole dehiwala area to muslims, my old house is not surrounded.
    muslims were there in panama area in majority 30-40 years ago. i too have visited kudumbigala in the 70’s (my uncle was a good noble firend of then naayaka hamuduruwo, thambugala anandasiri thero, who was killed. it is a fantastic place for meditation. hamuduruwo was living with leopards, bears then. when you climb belungala you can see the whole area.

  5. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    I agree with Sunil and the moderator. Nanda should not use this website for anti-government propaganda. We all respect constructive criticism and refuse destructive criticism in support of regime change. I also know the moderator very well. He is a 69 year old engineer in London. He and his group of volunteers run this web site for the sake of our country of birth, just to counteract all adverse propaganda launched by separatists and disgruntled oppositions supporters who are hell bent on giving a bad name for the country and score a point or two to get some sort of back-door support for the regime change. By the way, Nanda’s main argument is, as long as, all other politicians are corrupt, CJ can also be corrupt. But majority of Sri Lankans believe that CJ being head of the judiciary, her corruptions cannot be overlooked at all and at the end,to have a corrupt judiciary is not appropriate for a developing country. It will end up like in a chained reaction.
    As President explained recently, We, expats, will never allow these forces to destroy our country of birth as we have inherited a right to protect this country for future generations”,

  6. Nanda Says:

    Do you have any fact to show that “Nanda used this website for anti-government propaganda” any more than NMY ?

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    Just to put things straight.

    I was not moderated. I purposely avoided discussions as our wishes are NOT heard by politicians in power. I’m not the only one.

    Always value the people behind Lankaweb. They are doing such a great job VOLUNTARILY for the nation. There is NO other website comparable. Lankaweb moderators have been very TOLERANT compared to all others. Wish them all the best.


    “Wahabis have infiltrated Lankaweb ?”

    No. But Wahabis just like you are me are posting comments. They have a right to do so in my view AS LONG AS they have a right to live in SL. I TOTALLY disagree they have a right to LIVE in SL. Lankaweb and other forums are just a CROSS SECTION of those who live in SL and those who have an interest in SL.

    We have to GET RID OF Wahabis in SL FIRST by WHATEVER means.

    Wish you all a Happy New Year.

    Hopefully Wahabis will see their end in 2013. My prediction is there will be a MAJOR Shiite-Sunni war in 2013 over Iran, Syria, Saudi, etc. with BOTH sides taking HEAVY casualties. :))

  8. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    what a transformation of colombo! i mean not gotas clean up but the wahabi encroachment. where ever u go i hear tamil tamil tamil was at the beach galkissa i mean – mostly swamped by wahabis. just te other day i was on galle rd and i heard a man jokingly uttered a kunuharapa. i turned back and tapped on his shoulder and said ‘at least i am happy to hear some kunuharapa is sinhala!’ we definitely need a clean up – thanks to greedy sinhala buddhists who have sold colombo to wahabis. we must force these people top speak sinhala – shout at them ‘ kathaakarapan yakko sinhalen’

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