Apr 17, 2019

Verdict finds Municipal Council guilty for Meetotamulla tragedy! Featured

The Auditor General H.M. Gamini Wijesinghe has determined that the Colombo Municipal Council is responsible for the Meetotamulla garbage dump collapse and the death of 32 persons and the extensive damage to life and property.

In his report the Auditor General has said that the Municipal Commissioner and his officers should take the blame for not properly managing the garbage issue and for failing to follow proper scientific and accepted methods for paying of compensation resulting in the additional cost the government had to bear.

The report had blamed the CMC for improper garbage management methods and the lack of responsibility on their part.

It’s been two years since the Meetotamulla garbage dump collapsed killing 32 people on April 14th 2017.

The Auditor General had conducted an audit regarding this issue and the report was delivered.

It stated that in the budgets since 2010, the CMC had been allocated funds for the purchase of vehicles in order to proper manage the garbage disposal activities.

However, instead of purchasing vehicles, the CMC had hired vehicles from the same company using the allocations made for the purchase of vehicles.

Two companies engaged in garbage disposal also in trouble

The CMC had hired two private company to collect and dispose of garbage for five days from the Colombo City since 2015 at a cost of Rs, five billion three hundred forty-nine million three hundred seventy-three thousand, the Auditor General’s report showed.

It revealed that in comparison to the CMC estimates the private company estimate is around 53% more.

They had not followed a tender procedure and no committee had been appointed either.

Generally prior to signing a contract, the contractor is expected to bring the vehicles to the CMC for inspection. However this procedure had also not been included in the agreement.

The AG pointed out that as proper procedures were not followed, the garbage dump had reached a height of 48.5 metres.

The CMC had also obtained vehicles for the spreading of the garbage from a private company.

The cost of the vehicles hired from 2010 to 2016 is around 681.2 million fifty six thousand rupees.

The CMC had hired a private company from 2010 to 2016 for the disposal of solid waste at a cost of 600 million five hundred thousand rupees. However, this company had not even been registered as a vehicle hiring company.

This company had not even obtained a permit from the Central Environmental Authority for the transport of garbage either.

Despite the availability of many engineers and other knowledgeable officers, no one had pointed out to the danger of this garbage dump, the AG noted in his report. Although a senior lecturer of the Peradeniya University had warned of the danger of the Meetotamulla garbage dump collapse, the CMC officials had not heeded his warning, the AG report said.

It is required to mix the garbage with 50% soil in thinning it out. However, it was also discovered that the soil piled up for this purpose was mainly of rubble collected from demolished buildings.

The AG also notes that the report by a Japanese expert had also not been revealed, adding that the recommendations in that report should immediately be implemented.