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4th July 1999

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What will you do with 600 tons of daily dirt?

By Kumaradasa Wagista.

Colombo faces the gravest problem since the inception of Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) 134 years ago: the disposal of 600 tons of garbage daily.

Since the inauguration of CMC, Colombo population has increased from 80,000 to 800,000 with a floating population of about another half a million.

Collection and disposal of garbage in Colombo was the hot topic discussed by ratepayers during the last two decades. Half Colombo's garbage is collected by contractors and the balance is done by CMC employees.

Pettah ward produces 80 tons of garbage daily. At present Colombo garbage dumping is done by a contractor at Bloemendhal.

The question of dumping garbage is reaching a crisis as the proposed land filler at Alupotha in Meepe is not going to be a reality.

Minister of Housing and Construction had signed an agreement with the World Bank to construct the sanitary land-filler with their aid and complete the project in 1998.

"This project seems to have now come to a standstill. Not only Colombo, even neighbouring towns like Kotte, Dehiwala, Mt. Lavinia and Moratuwa which were committed to this land-fill project are now left in the lurch, "Colombo Mayor Omar Z. Kamil said.

These councils have to find their own ways of disposing garbage. Mayor Kamil ruled out the commissioning of an incinerator jointly with the adjoining three MC's.

"We have found that 80% of our garbage is organic matter, kitchen refuse which is called 'wet garbage'. When calculating fuel charges of burning them it was found such a project is not commercially viable," Mayor Kamil said.

The problem of solid waste management was a subject that was discussed at length at the recently concluded Mayors' Forum also. "This problem is worrying Mayors of South Asian country cities also," he added.

Cooray sues ANCL for Rs. 900m

Former Secretary-General of the UNP Sirisena Cooray is suing the Associated Newspaper of Ceylon Ltd., for Rs. 900 million for publishing allegedly defamatory articles about him.

Mr. Cooray has submitted that during his arrest in detention in June 1997 by the Government, the Daily News, Dinamina and Silumina published articles containing false, malicious and defamatory allegations and further held him to public ridicule and contempt.

Romesh de Silva P.C. with D.M. Swaminathan filed the plaint in the District Court of Colombo.

Now it's beach privatisation

By Dilrukshi Handunentti

A natural coastal area in the popular Bolgoda holiday spot in Panadura is to likely to be leased to a Swiss company creating a situation where Sri Lankans also would have to pay a fee for a beach holiday in their own country.

According to officials, a government decision to privatize some three acres of the Bolgoda area for a coastal garden is imminent with a motion to grant the coastal land pending in the Panadura Urban Council.

The plan to promote the coastal garden and private beach concept in Sri Lanka has been shelved so far due to protests from within.

The officials said government officials including a deputy minister had held talks on the matter with Swiss nationals and feasibility studies were to be conducted shortly.

Despite strong protests from the Coast Conservation Department, the Urban Development Authority, according to sources, has signified approval to lease the land to the Swiss company for thirty years, with the backing of the deputy minister.

It has been suggested that the privatization of the coastal land area would become a viable source of income for the UC with even Sri Lankanw having to pay a fee to gain entry.

Environmentalists are up in arms against the covert moves to privatize the beach. They say that even if private beach areas existed in other countries, there had been no leasing of land to any agency, leave alone foreign companies.

Planter throws charges at SPC

A senior planter has alleged large-scale frauds in State plantation Corporation offices in the Central Province and called for a full probe.

E. S. P Kahandaliyanage in a letter to President Chandrika Kumaratunga alleges that most of the frauds are connected to a big wig who has personal links to a cabinet minister.

He alleges that a director had paid millions of rupees in cash for bought leaf to suppliers whereas it should have been paid by cheque.

One of the bought leaf supplier's factories is being managed by and overlooked by this particular director, he alleged.

He also alleges frauds in tender procedures in the sale of cloves and pepper.

President imposes travel restrictions on ministers

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has directed ministers and MPs not to go abroad without her prior approval and instead to concentrate full time on revamping the party at district level, apparently in preparation for national elections.

Government sources said she gave these orders at the meeting of ministers and at an SLFP central committee meeting where new election strategy was worked out.

A committee including ten ministers has been appointed to lead the election build-up in the district.

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