Posted on June 14th, 2016

Dr Sarath Obeysekera -Ex Chairman SLLRDC 

It is high time that authorities get some advice from experts regarding canal bank relocation to avoid floods .

BY 1995 over  10,000 unauthorized  families were evicted from canal banks and since then same people or new people have again settled .along the banks ,then cry foul when they get inundated .

4 billion rupees was spent not only for relocation but alos for rehabilitation of canals

I have seen Water Board and CEB have given connections to these squatters on a letter issued by the local Gramsevaka ( presumably after palming his greasy hands ) .

Then the local authorities have also issued local authority rate letters and they claim they their presence is authorized .

I remember when a family was to be relocated near Kirillapona Canal Mr Hudson Samarasinghe who was an ardent supporter of President at that time  ,came from a hospital bed and pressurized  me not to evict a family   .I showed him the relocation sites and explained them that they will be have a permanent    home

He had to retreat.

Another occasion near Haveelock Canal ,an old woman threatened  to set fire to herself. And I had to personally go there  and talked her out .

I sent an engineer to dig the canal behind a temple near current Russian embassy and the Buddhist priest has complained to the president and I was called by the President to go to the temple and get the blessings” of the priest. President asked me  Sarath You are accused of demolishing temple!s ?”’

I had to rush under heavy rain and meet the priest and undertook to build a new wall along the temple and got  his blessings” !

In another occasion a prominent priest accused me of sending a Non Buddhist Engineer to the canal encroachment by the temple .

One known thug came to my office beating his chest like a gorilla ,claiming that he is the one who shot  a customs officer once and protested against removal of a lime shop near Havelock Bridge .

I talked him out and gave him a alternative location.

In Panchikawatta a ,notorious for thugs of Choppe fame was obstructing me near St Sebastain Canal threatening me ,

I did not budge

Today when he sees me now he bends three fold and respects me

If you see a three story building near RMV ,where a big photo copy business ,where the encroacher refused to move and we had to push him back along the reservation and now he is a millionaire .

These are the plethora of protests, objections you will encounter and we were given full powers and authority to our duty .

I suggest that the state  distributes  the 21 billon among all the politicians who have supporters along canal banks and tell them to  find alternative locations and resettle them like one politician in Kelaniya did  ( He was in the news recently.)

Unless government strengthen the powers of local authorities and CMC and enforces the law ,to prohibit unauthorized structures ,21 billion will Drain away into the sea”

Another support they could extend is to assign few honest army officers or Navy officers to the corporation like Gota did and execute the task of relocation ruthlessly

Dr Sarath Obeysekera -Ex Chairman SLLRDC

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