Colombo Mayoress Rosy Senanayake said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been forced to intervene into keeping the capital clean today due to the inaction of officials and therefore instructed the officials to fulfil their responsibilities without coming up with excuses.
The Mayoress expressed these views during the second round of meeting held to discuss the progress of the new cleaning up and garbage removal campaign in Colombo in line with the programme launched under the instructions of the President to streamline measures to keep Colombo clean. The meeting held at the CMC committee hall on Tuesday.
At the meeting, Mayoress Senanayake said the officials in charge of inspecting the cleaning work in respective areas should do so by 5.30 am.
“We have informed the people about garbage collection. Don’t complain that people are not following instructions. Take the necessary action in this regard. We are here to discuss all these issues. It is not an excuse to say that some places have been cleaned up to some extent while some places have not. I also request the officials taking part in the meeting to discuss cleaning Colombo to do their homework properly and have an understanding about the situation,” she said.
She said she would make sure to send the information about all garbage-infested roads in Colombo to the attention of Western Province Governor.
“In that way, everyone will get to know about the officials who work and about the ones who don’t. It is because of these reasons; coupled with the inaction of the officials that the President has to intervene into keeping the capital clean. Though different divisions have been assigned with cleaning the drainage and garbage collection in different areas, it is the CMC that is blamed by the people at the end of the day,” Mayoress Senanayake said.
She said the Urban Development Authority (UDA) officials were late to attend the previous meeting as well though they have a huge responsibility in terms of maintaining the cleanliness of the city.
“The participant who came for the previous meeting from the UDA was a minor employee. People who act irresponsibly can’t think about developing the country. The UDA should take responsibility for its own tasks and act in a responsible manner. One official comes for one meeting and another comes on the next day. Therefore, those who attend these meetings don’t know what exactly is going on. We can’t overcome any issue by acting irresponsibly in this manner. The garbage issue will continue. No matter how much ever we talk, the public servants keep saying the same thing every day about garbage disposal and collection. Eventually, there is no action,” she lamented.
She also said it was paramount to inform the public about the removal of unauthorized hoardings along the roads and added that the Police Environmental Protection Division will be informed to take action against those who ignore these regulations.
“There are some elements who even divert sewage to rainwater drains. I request the responsible authorities to seek the support of the Police Environmental Protection Division to rectify this. The Police Environmental Protection Division should also take action to set up CCTV cameras near the places where people dispose of garbage excessively and charge a hefty fine from them. Once we implement the Waste to Energy project in about two months, we will be able to find solutions to all the issues related to garbage collection,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said many low-income families and individuals live in slum huts which are built on sewerage pipes in Colombo.
“I don’t approve the government imposing taxes on these people. We can build houses for them from the funds collected from taxes. During the past two to three weeks, Colombo became submerged even due to the slightest rain. This was not something that had happened in the past. Therefore, drainage systems should be kept clean all the time, otherwise, it will pose a grave health risk to everyone, especially the children if the drainpipes are not kept clean,” she said.
She said she expects better cooperation and improved progress at the next session to be held to review the city cleaning up measures.
DIG Champika Siriwardana, Chief Inspector of Police (Environmental Protection Division) Upali Munasinghe, Deputy Mayor M.T.M.Iqbal, Municipal Commissioner Palitha Nanayakkara, Deputy Commissioner (Engineering Services) M.A.C.M.Fazal, Director of Solid Waste Division Engineer Y. Sylvester, Water Supply and Drainage Division Director Engineer M.I.M.Saleem and others attended the meeting.