By Ashanthi Warunasuriya
The racket of illegally excavating soil in the Minuwangoda electorate has re-merged. Minuwangoda people said that the soil excavation has gained momentum in collaboration with underworld members and regional politicians. Taking ransoms, threatening and bribing exist with the soil excavation which has been flourishing for so many years.
At Waliya Richard Watta, near the Yagodamulla cemetery, and behind the Kotugoda Post Office, the earth excavation largely takes place. With the rainfalls, earth slips will occur largely if the soil excavation continues in this manner and residents in the area are in immense fear due to this reason. But they do not talk against the soil excavation openly since powerful politicians and underworld members are backing the racket.
Among the many locations of soil excavations in Minuwangoda, the one behind the Kotugoda Post Office is counted as a massive project. The soil excavated from the location is transported to construct the external stretch of the expressway by the Road Development Authority (RDA).
From 9 a.m. to 4 pm, once in every five minute trucks loaded with soil are running along this way. The location has an air-conditioned small office in a container to inspect and control the process. The location lies on a large mountain connecting the Kotugoda Ariliya Uyana. Excavating soil in this way from a side of the mountain risks the strength of its other side and may result in heavy earth slips.
Therefore, residents in the area live in fear of massive earth slips. However, Regional Secretary Sriyani Lakthilaka said that the place has the authorities’ approval for the soil excavation. While risking the lives of the residents, who approved the scam? We will research furthermore in this regard to find out who are behind the racket keeping the residents under heavy threats of earth slips.
As we have revealed some time back, excavating soil near the Minuwangoda cemetery has been carried out for many years. We revealed that regional politicians and underworld stooges had connections with the racket.
When we discussed the issue with the Minuwangoda Police, we came to know that they also had hands in the business. We exposed at the time that the underworld member, ‘Pas Podda’, had connections with the racket and he was carrying out the business in collaboration with a powerful politicians. When we asked the politicians in this regard, he rejected the allegation and said that he did not need to join such a racket. However, the names of UNP as well as SLFP activists are said to have connections in the racket, the residents say.
‘Pas Podda’ is now languishing in the Welikada Prison for a regional murder. He was arrested for possessing the weapons used for the murder and later was sentenced to prison. However, according to the information we have, he is still leading the soil excavating racket being in the prison via a 075 TP Number. Therefore, in the past as well as in the present, taking ransoms, threatening and bribing are unabated parts of the racket. Prison sources said that ‘Pas Podda’, meanwhile, receives special facilities in the prison.
The newly appointed Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Minuwangoda Pradeshiya Sabha are said to undergoing threats now. Neel Jayasekara holds the chairmanship of the Pradeshiya Sabha now. Former Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha told us that he also faced many threats during his tenure in the Sabha.