A stinking spat | Daily News

A stinking spat

At a time when the garbage problem in the City has assumed critical proportions we have the Colombo Mayor and the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLRDC) locked in a right royal battle, resulting in garbage collection within the Colombo Municipal limits coming to a standstill and Colombo’s ratepayers reduced to mere spectators in the ongoing drama.

The reason for the spat: the SLLRDC has refused point blank to collect the garbage within the Colombo Municipal area until an outstanding bill for Rs. 207 million is settled by the CMC for the collection and treatment of garbage, a task which the SLLRDC had undertaken following the collapse of the Meethotamulla garbage dump over two years ago.

Mayor Rosy Senanayake and Chairman SLLRDC Roshan Gunawardana had chosen the ideal time to play out their little act when the rains are lashing out in all its fury and mounting garbage piles creating an eyesore in the commercial capital.

Summoning a media briefing, Senanayake accused the SLLRDC of extortion saying it had been overcharging the CMC above the agreed sum of Rs. 3,000 per metric ton of segregated garbage while Gunawardana claimed that the CMC owes the SLLRDC Rs. 207 million for 15 months commencing from 2017, adding that his organisation was not inclined to dish out charity and its services could not be equated to a “Dansala”.

While the ball is being passed on by the two State bodies which are expected to work in harmony for the benefit of the public, citizens of Colombo are being swamped with massive garbage piles as shown on television, made worse by the present rainy weather which needless to say will lead to the spread of epidemics such as dengue if this prestige battle is going to continue indefinitely. Therefore both the Mayor and the Chairman should get down from their high horses and arrive at a compromise. After all, both are State organisations affiliated to the Government in power which will make it that much easier to negotiate a compromise.

The duo should also realize that they owe their positions to the present Government and their actions could only lead to the Government becoming more unpopular with the voting public, adding to its current woes brought about by the fall of the rupee and the resultant high cost of living. Besides, both are paid by the public purse and this alone should motivate them to attach priority to the public rather than trying to win ego battles.

As already mentioned, the rains can only aggravate the situation and the Mayor will have her work cut out in trying to provide relief to the displaced flood victims in the City without having to contend with a garbage problem.

The SLLRDC Chairman too should think of arriving at a short term solution in connection with the outstanding dues without sticking to his guns. After all Rs. 207 million is peanuts considering the billions of rupees owing to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation by the CEB and the National Carrier. For her part, the Mayor too should not default on payments, if that indeed that is the case, especially considering accusations of extravagant spending for renovation of her official quarters, hurled by the Joint Opposition.

Besides, the Colombo Municipal Council as the country’s premier local body, should show the way to other local bodies through example and clashing with fellow State organs is not the best way to get about things. It is important that the stalemate be broken by the parties concerned, lest the capital city be reduced to a stinking mess. It would be better therefore for the President or the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter before serious consequences could ensue.

Stop this torment

President Maithripala Sirisena said a mouthful when he maintained that the present year five scholarship examination had driven both the students and parents nuts, or words to that effect. Speaking at the Annual Prize Day ceremony of the Kandy Model School last week the President said that the country’s child generation had been pushed into great hardship since the parents consider the year five scholarship examination the one and only barrier standing in the way of their children’s future. Therefore the parents put all their efforts to ensure their children surmount this barrier and secure their future.

The year five scholarship examination today has become one whole prestige battle, with the media spotlight focused on the best performers islandwide forcing the parents to groom their children for the limelight. In this exercise they go to great lengths to prepare their children for the exam, in the process over-straining the young minds.

Former Education Minister Bandula Gunawardana at one time was toying with the idea of doing away with this exam due to the pressure it exerted on the children. With current Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam going to the extent of slashing the number of GCE (OL) subjects to six it is time that a decision is made on the year five scholarship exam as well. 


 

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