Monday, May 23, 2016

Flooding in the Kelani River Basin in simply unacceptable!

It is not surprising that NOT ONE person in authority uttered the above words in any press or media or FB posting! Why? They are simply not up to the task.

When basic flood precautions are not carried out as a matter of normal practice, is it surprising such an unwarranted tragedy like this took place. From the mouth of the River, where it meets the sea, all obstructions to the smooth water flow MUST be removed, so that any sudden pressure from upstream can be met without water backing up, that is basic maintenance of a river valley.

If one Considers the Megapolis Plan, it is SUNK before it STARTS unless adequate measures are in place to PREVENT A FUTURE REPEAT.

I can understand that low lying areas such as Ratnapura have had a history of Chronic flooding, but that was not as severe as the Kelani River basin, where AN IMMEDIATE drastic flood control measures MUST be adopted WITHIN MONTHS no matter how politically unacceptable it is.

When Jokers like Coca Cola have their factory by the Riverside, where is excess water to go? And Other Jokers like Laugas, build a storage site within meters of the River Bank by filling up a huge area, then the water has NO WHERE to go but back up into the fields above, and houses built by their sides! I don’t know how laufgas got planning permission to build their terminal there, but it must have been due to political and pecuniary influence, and this MUST be investigated and the terminal torn down, and replaced in a different location, if innocent householders further up from them are not to go under in future. Do they realize that they DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTED TO THE PROBLEM OF THE PEOPLE?

Tell the public, about 50,000 that they have to move out within say 5 years to let this land go back to agriculture. They have spent millions buying land where they should not have, and built their homes. There are NO TWO OPTIONS HERE. Politicians don’t want to face reality so have not had the guts to broach this subject. Politicians have made enough money giving permission to fill and build, for businesses and homes, now they have to face their music!

Like mentioned in the prior posts in the last two or three days, a dual plan of flood protection and relocation MUST take place as the flood situation will get worse, further added to by the building of the remaining section of the Outer Circular Expressway. I am particularly concerned that NO committee has been set up, in a Country where one is established for the slightest issue, and is that because no one has appreciated the gravity of this problem that will repeat!

Groundwater ponds, about 1,000 at least must be set up along the way, to improve the water table at the same time, so this will act as a drought relief measure as well, as Gampaha District now pumps up 40% of the water needed from the Ground and so is depleting this in the process. There are many paddy field areas that remain uncultivated due to practical considerations that can also be used for this.

Why has NO POLITICIAN mentioned any of the above, basic commonsense measures? Is this due to the limited brain cell capacity they possess or true to form, do not want to make statements that affect their popularity even though it is true? Are they NOT leaders? Perhaps they are merely users of People!

I am told that businesses have lost billions due to the floods, and they have Insurance Policies to protect them. However home owners and householders DON’T. There is NO protection mechanism for them. Just imagine if your whole house had gone under. How do you get back your life?

Even my home has gone completely under water once when the tank overflowed and the excess water was discharged into the river, and the house went under, mainly because a big miller of paddy had filled up the normal flow with his charcoal from burning paddy husks for his power plant. So ordinary people suffer due to the greed of others, especially the rich and powerful in Sri Lanka who don’t have a care in the world for the poor, and indulge in a media circus when they are shown distributing rations and food to the same people their activities have put in trouble! How IRONIC IS THAT?

The President is in a UNIQUE position to assert his authority here, as the Minister for the Environment. He has a golden opportunity here to take the mantle and say that this flood WAS CAUSED by the lack of ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS and he will take immediate steps to REVERSE environmental degradation and take a full page ad in the papers with a 50 point plan to give a list of what he is going to implement immediately to convince the people of the seriousness of the problem and the importance that the State has placed on it, and with the Leadership of the President, the people can be assured that ALL steps irrespective of political considerations will be taken to protect the Citizenry from future disasters, and implore the public that both they and big businesses will have to bear some of the brunt of the decisions collectively if we are to prevent tragedies like this occurring frequently in future.

Foreign assistance will only come to us if we have a positive plan of action, not the current series of politically motivated statements that amount to a hill of beans that our elected representatives have hitherto spouted like parrots.  

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