Gammanpila in a twist | Daily News

Gammanpila in a twist

Pivithuru Hela Urumaya leader and Joint Opposition front liner Udaya Gammanpila has this tendency of shooting himself in the foot often times and disporting himself as a laughing stock before the public. On many an occasion has the diminutive Colombo district parliamentarian made comments or remarks that had become the subject of ridicule if not hilarious. He is also given to defend the indefensible which has raised questions about his status as a member of the legal profession. But the MP carries on regardless, perhaps with a view to being in the glare of publicity. The other day Gammanpila took to task Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake for suggesting that the security forces should be deployed to clear garbage in the Colombo city if the responsible authorities fail in the task. The Minister of course was referring to the blame game now on between Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya and Megapolis Minister Champika Ranawaka in the matter of garbage clearance.

Gammanpila, taking high moral ground stated that the government ought to be a shame to deploy the security forces, read war heroes, for such a menial task as clearing garbage. One would have thought enlisting the services of the armed forces to keep the city clean by clearing it of garbage heaps could not be any worse than deploying the self same members of the forces to sell vegetables at street corners or what is more engaged as kennel keepers at the home of a once powerful Minister and Rajapaksa sibling.

The Pivithuru Hela Urumaya leader hardly misses an opportunity in coming to the defence of the armed forces (even when some its members have fallen foul of the law and even committed criminal acts). However this love for the armed forces by the MP appears selective and reserved only when an alleged slight to the forces is inflicted by the Yahapalanaya government. Pray, where was Udaya Gammanpila when the war winning army commander was unceremoniously dragged away, made to stand trial before a kangaroo court and thrown behind bars like a common criminal? Where was he when a group of army personnel who formed the security detail of the self same army commander was made to kneel on the road opposite a five star hotel where the latter was billeted after his defeat at the 2010 Presidential election? Why was not Gammanpila objecting when his boss Mahinda Rajapaksa, not only made a mass murderer responsible for the killing of hundreds of armed forces personnel and ordering the massacre of 400 policemen in cold blood, a government minister but also an office bearer of the SLFP?

It is time that the likes of Gammanpila desist from using the security forces as a convenient tool to further their political project of bring the Rajapaksas back to the seats of power. The security forces, as is all too well known, are deployed at times of crisis in any country and it is not infra dig for members of the armed service to supervise the clearance of garbage in the city, which, if allowed to remain unattended could lead the outbreak of epidemics. The President has already declared garbage clearance as an Essential Service and the forces can be called in at any time to give effect to the Presidential decree. Gammanpila would have witnessed how the security forces performed the massive task of clearing the mountains of debris left in the wake of the recent floods and came to the rescue of civilians and also digging out dead bodies from the sites of devastation, with a member of the air force even sacrificing his life during a mercy mission in the flood hit areas. There was no sign of Gammanpila or anyone of the vociferous members of the Joint Opposition at the scenes of the flood devastation in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

Be that as it may, the authorities should seriously get about the business of garbage clearance which has taken a backseat, somewhat, with all the attention focused on the flood havoc. Deploying the security forces to rid the city of garbage is not a long term solution. Garbage keeps accumulating each day and the forces cannot be expected to perform round the clock to clear garbage. Immediate steps should be taken towards garbage treatment by setting up recycling plants as a permanent solution to the garbage problem. Not just in the Colombo city, the problem posed by garbage is acute even in other areas as seen in the public demonstrations in the recent days, some of them even led by the Catholic clergy in areas such as Ja-ela and Bopitiya. Naturally the people in these areas resent garbage being dumped in their backyards and their wrath is obviously directed at the government which was demonstrated the other day by a spat between a government minister and journalists over the garbage issue. However until such time a permanent solution is arrived at, locations needed to be found for garbage disposal despite public objections. 


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