Navy called to blast hole in Katunayake Expressway earthwork

The long-delayed Katunayake Expressway project, still under construction, has been blamed for severe flooding in the Wattala, Mahabole, Ja-Ela and Seeduwa areas. With no outlet, rain waters have collected and caused the flooding, residents say.

They say their houses had never gone under water in the past, even during the heaviest rains, but this year the rains have caused havoc. Water has collected on land to the right of the incomplete expressway project, which has been under construction for the past 10 years.

Part of the incomplete Katunayaka expressway in Wattala.

Temporary earth filling around the expressway has caused this situation, they said. M. A. K. Kadeer, an electrician living in Wedikanda, Hunupitiya, told the Sunday Times that his neighbourhood has never gone under water before. There is no outlet for rain water, the drains are blocked, and his house is under water, he said.

“The authorities should have thought about these things when they started this project,” he said. “This is a glaring instance of the authorities ignoring the people and their advice and going ahead with a project.”

Mr. Kadeer said 40 houses in the area have been affected by the flooding. V. Melsha, 26, who has lived in Hunupitiya all his life, said he has not experienced floods in the past.

“The attitude of government officials is worrying. Our house is under water and no one has bothered to come and see what’s happening. It is the state’s fault that this has happened, and the state is ignoring us when we have to suffer because of their actions,” he said.

On Thursday, the Navy was called in to help. They used dynamite and heavy equipment to create an outlet for the water to get out.

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