Residents fear landfill will lead to flooding

Concern is growing among residents living down Thalawathugoda Road, Madiwela. A channel which used to be a waterway enabling storm water to be channelled to the Diyawanna Oya is being rapidly filled up. Residents fear in the event of heavy rainfall their homes could be flooded.

This highly residential neighbourhood has lost its calm atmosphere. Today hundreds of trucks carrying soil and backhoes work late into the nights, to build a second road to access the Eeamporuwa Temple.
This temple is frequented by ministers, high-powered ministry secretaries and their families.

Trucks at work on the site. Pix by Athula Devapriya

The path which begins from the Eeamporuwa Temple in Thalawathugoda Road will connect to the Kimbulawela junction on the main Thalawathugoda Road and is expected to be around a km in length.

A resident who has been in the neighbourhood for around 25 years said, “Our house faces the security fence erected by the Parliament and there is a gap between our boundary wall and the security fence.
We were informed this would be a waterway.

In an earlier era our houses used to go under water as a result of land being filled to construct a presidential mansion for President Kumaratunge. Once this road is built we will once again be faced with the problem of flooding.

Another resident claimed no surveys had been carried out nor had expertise of professional engineers obtained. She charged the road was being constructed with no concern for the neighbourhood.
“A road which lacks proper engineering expertise is unsafe. All roads should be bound by proper drainage systems. Earlier this path was full of plants and trees and was an ideal sponge to absorb some amount of storm water.

It also attracted many birds and added to the beauty of the area,” she said. A resident who was an active member of the temples’ Dayaka Sabha said, “the Dayaka Sabha had been dissolved. People in this area have no involvement with the temple now,”

When the Sunday Times visited the temple, a priest who did not want to be named said, “This road is being built as the existing road is narrow and a lot of dignitaries are arriving at the temple. “As this is government land the neighbours cannot complain and the road will be completed within a week.
“Our Chief Priest is presently in the United States therefore I’m unable to provide you with the details of the construction,” he said.

The General Manager for the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLRDC), Mrs. S Gunawardena said she was aware development work was being carried out by the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation at Thalawathugoda Road on the direct instructions of the Chairman.
“The land may be owned by the State or the Urban Development Authority (UDA), but development work is being carried out by the Land Reclamation Corporation.

“The equipment and vehicles used are owned by our Corporation” she said. The Sunday Times attempted to contact the Chairman of the SLLRDC but failed to do so. Director General of UDA , Nihal Fernando said he was not aware of the construction in progress.

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