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Site of Meethotamulla garbage dump being converted into Rs 1.7 billion modern park – Dr Godahewa

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By Saman Indrajith

State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Public Sanitation Dr. Nalaka Godahewa told Parliament yesterday that the site of the Meethotamulla garbage dump would be converted into a modern urban park at an estimated cost of Rs 1.7 billion.

The work on the urban park is scheduled to be completed in 2022 and 2023, the minister said.

Responding to a question raised by Colombo District SJB MP S.M. Marikkar, the Minister said that the Meethotamulla garbage dump had been 47 metres high and occupied a land encompassing 21 acres. The area was being reclaimed in a scientific manner under the guidelines of the experts of the National Building Research Organisation. The dump would first be reduced to 15 acres and a height of 30 metres. A slope of 20 to 30 minute angle would be maintained during the preliminary operations. Debris of the 2017 disaster are being removed and canals nearby are being cleaned. An underground pipe system is being laid to remove the leachate. Eight of 31 landfill gas wells are being constructed to release the gas coming out of the dump and prevent another landslide there. Families of the nearby 101 Watte would be relocated at the Kolonnawa Condominium being constructed. A treatment plant would be set up to purify the water coming from the dump.”

MP Marikkara:

It seems that the work process is slow. Since you are a minister who goes around all the places in the district inspecting the work of government institutions why don’t you think it would be better if you made an inspection tour there?

Minister Dr Godahewa:

I have already visited the site and given necessary instructions. The project will be completed on schedule.

MP Marikkar:

Is it true that some of the areas of the urban park would be given to the private sector?

Minister Dr Godahewa:

The Urban Development Authority is providing funds but we thought of inviting investors. Since you are from the area, you can ask the investors known to you to join the project.”



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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