ArticlePresident Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday assured the residents of Rathupaswala, in Weliweriya, that the factory which allegedly discharged effluents contaminating their ground water would be relocated.
The President gave the assurance when he met residents of the Rathupaswala area and relevant officials on the Weliweirya water issue last afternoon at the Presidential Secretariat. He said that the new factories must be constructed in BOI Zones.
A press release issued by Presidential Spokesman and International Media Unit said that after listening to detailed accounts from residents, factory representatives and other officials, the President had offered the following solutions to help resolve the situation:
(1) The main priority of the authorities in this region will be to ensure that the people receive safe water.
(2) The Government Analyst’s Department will carry out testing of the water and issue a report.
(3) If the report reveals that the factory has operated in a wrongful manner, the factory will be shut down immediately.
(4) If the report reveals that the factory has operated within the regulations, the company will be given a reasonable time to relocate to a BOI zone.
In addition to these specific aspects, President Rajapaksa also stated that any new factory that will have to be located in Sri Lanka must be constructed within a BOI zone to prevent these types of problems in the future.
The residents and the factory representatives, under the guidance of the President, agreed to allow the factory to make use of the items that have already been produced prior to ceasing of operations and to allow the factory administration to function until the report is published.
The resident expressed satisfaction at the agreements reached and agreed to work with officials to help resolve the problem. President Rajapaksa urged the citizens to refrain from taking the law into their own hands if a problem arises in the future and requested all parties to try their utmost to resolve crises through discussion.
Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Water Supply and Drainage Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Social Services Felix Perera, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Gampaha District parliamentarians, Western provincial council members, senior military officials and several other high-ranking government officials were present at the discussion.
The Island, "President orders relocation of Weliweriya factory", The Island, 12-08-2012, http://island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=85700 (14-08-2013).
This issue makes us aware that still today, in order to enjoy the human right to water in sufficient quantity and acceptable quality, people must suffer. The fight for this human right is long not finished.
Today (14th of August 2013), a major protest campaing against the use of military and police to suppress democatric opposition was organized.
For more informations, cf.
The Island, "Opposition to protest against Weliweriya killings today", The Island, 13-08-2013, http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=85781 (14-08-2013).
MALLAWARACHI Bharatha, "Sri Lankan opposition activists protest military's killing of 3 civilian protesters", The Associated Press, 14-08-2013, http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Lankan+opposition+protest+militarys+fatal+shooting+civilian/8787085/story.html (14-08-2013).
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