The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 2

Page 2 Sunday, November 9, 2014 The Nation
news
Sandun Jayawardana in Koslanda
Knee-deep in mud, the soldiers work
diligently. Teams keep digging at various
points of a vast expanse of land that has
been devastated by a sea of earth that sud-
denly crashed into the unsuspecting peo-
ple below, burying many in their homes.
This is the scene at Meeriyabedda, Ko-
slanda; the location of one of Sri Lanka’s
deadliest landslide disasters
The Army is in charge of the search
operation at Meeriyabedda. Some 800 se-
curity forces personnel are now engaged
in the effort, with about 600 of them being
made up of soldiers from the Army. At the
Main Operations Room set up inside the
grounds of a kovil near the disaster site,
Commander, Security Forces Headquar-
ters (Central) Major General Mano Perera
oversees the overall operation. Speaking
to us, Major General Perera said those en-
gaged in the search operation were risk-
ing their own safety as the search area was
prone to more landslides due to the persis-
tent rains that were being experienced in
the area throughout the past week.
Officials from the National Building Re-
search Organization (NBRO), who were
also at the location, were constantly up-
dating him on the ground situation re-
garding further landslide threats, Major
General Perera said. The use of heavy
machinery in the search operation had
to be done with great care due to the risk
of unsettling the area too much. “The
advice from the NBRO is not to dig more
than 5 feet into the ground due to the risk
of more landslides. However, we believe
some bodies are buried as much as 30 feet
under the earth,” the Major General said,
underlying the enormity of the task faced
by the searchers.
The security forces however, are taking
as many precautions as they can. At least
two soldiers are stationed in the upper part
of the landslide area. Their job is to act as
‘scouts’ who monitor the area for danger
signs while their colleagues down below
are focusing all their energies on the search
operation. A Public Address system has
also been set up to convey messages to the
search teams via loudspeaker. Whenever
the rain gets too heavy for example, a warn-
ing is given to the searchers to vacate the
search area to safer ground due to the threat
of more landslides. Teams then have to wait
for the ‘all clear’ signal before they move in
to search again.
The officer also said the Army was ready
to build houses for 57Meeriyabedda families
that were directly affected by the landslide,
where their homes were either completely
destroyed or were made uninhabitable.
“With assistance from the government and
the private sector, we can build homes for
them within three months. However, suit-
able lands need to be identified and then the
NBRO needs to assess whether these lands
are safe before we can move ahead”.
While the process of identifying suitable
lands for settlement continues, the families
directly affected by the tragedy will be pro-
vided temporary shelter at a disused tea fac-
tory run by Maskeliya Plantations PLC, the
owners of the Meeriyabeddawatta estate.
The tea factory had not been used for about
25 years and soldiers were still in the act
of refurbishing it. “Each family would be
provided with their own private enclosure
within the factory. This would afford them a
level of privacy they now lack at the relief
camps they’re housed in,” Major General
Perera said.
The tea factory is expected to be ready by
early this week, at which time the families
will be moved there.
Search teams had recovered the remains
of 14 individuals by yesterday (November
8). These include 11 complete bodies and
parts of three others. About 24 others are
still confirmed to be missing.
Two weeks ago,
The Nation
carried this photograph (inset) of this road sign on Lotus Road, Colombo
Fort that had been knocked down. Someone had placed the sign upside down, perhaps with the intention
of conveying a message to authorities. The sign is now right side up, but sadly, still on the ground. It is our
hope that the powers that be can perhaps take this somewhat further and actually fix the problem, instead of
taking half-baked measures that are neither here nor there.
Pics by ChandanaWijesinghe
Powers that
be please
take note!
Treacherous mountain
Knee-deep in mud, the
soldiers work diligently.
Teams keep digging at
various points of a vast
expanse of land that
has been devastated
by a sea of earth that
suddenly crashed into
the unsuspecting people
below, burying many in
their homes. This is the
scene at Meeriyabedda,
Koslanda; the location of
one of Sri Lanka’s deadliest
landslide disasters
India has greatly appreciated the housing development project
spearheaded by Constructions, Engineering Services, Housing
and Common Amenities Ministry along with the resettlement
project. This was disclosed at a one-to-one meeting bwteeb Min-
ister Wimal Weerawansa and Venkaiah Naidu, Indian Minister
for Urban Development, Housing, and Parliamentary Affairs in
Seoul, Korea where they participate at the 5th Asia Pacific Min-
isterial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APM-
CHUD).
Minister Weerawansa gave a detailed description with regard
to the Housing Development work taking place in the North of Sri
Lanka to the Indian Minister. He also pointed out the role played
by the National Housing Development Authority in this regard.
The peaceful atmosphere now prevailing in the country with
complete defeat of terrorism, once and for all, has ensured the
rapid progress in the North region. The Minister emphasized
that this progress was tremendous during his discussion with his
Indian counterpart. He also told the Indian Minister about the
commitment of the Sri Lanka Government in this regard. The
Minister also drew the attention of the Indian Minister to the
“Jana Sevana” Housing project in collaboration with the Reha-
bilitation and Resettlement Ministry.
Indian Minister for Urban Development, Housing, and Parlia-
mentary Affairs, Venkaiah Naidu expressed his Government’s
appreciation over the projects carried out by the Sri Lanka Gov-
ernment. He also had special word of thanks and appreciation for
the National Housing Development Authority for the support ex-
tended by the Authority in carrying out the projects for the well-
being of the people of the North.
Minister Naidu also highlighted the fact that both India and Sri
Lanka maintain good relationships and they should be developed
further. Sri Lanka Ambassador for South Korea Tissa Wijerath-
ne, Constructions, Engineering Services, Housing and Common
Amenities Ministry Secretary (Additional) Chairman of the Ur-
ban Settlement Development Authority Palitha Gamage Attor-
ney-at-Law and officials from India were also present
‘Sammabimani’ Spiritual Program that
would go to many places of the island with
the view to enhancing moral development
is to be conducted by Ven Uduwe Dham-
maloka Thera, with the coordination the
Sri Lanka Army. Ven Dhammaloka Thera
said that our society, now free from terror-
ist menace need to be elevated high moral
grounds through which the peace could be
made more meaningful.
Lieutenant General Ratnayake told the
gathering that the Army would be pleased
to coordinate the program, to be held at
Ambilipitiya, Pelmadulla and Ratnapura
under the phase one.
The first program, conducted by Ven.
Uduwe Dhammaloka, Ven. Dodampahala
Rahula and Ven. Agalakada Sirisumana
Theras will get underway at Ambilipitiya
Mahaweli Grounds on November 7 to 9.
The program will afterwards be held in
Hambantota, Badulla, Ampara, Monara-
gala, Galle, Matale, Polonnaruwa, Trin-
comalee, Vauniya, Anuradapura, Kurune-
gala, Homagama, Kesbewa, Avissawella,
Gampaha and Kaduwela.
School students will also be facilitated
to take part in the ‘Sammabimani’ in addi-
tion to civil sector participants including
prisoners after final decision is made in
that direction, Lieutenant General Ratnay-
ake added.
Jayasingam, who until recently served
as chairman of EB Creasy and the Lankem
group of companies, passed away after a
brief illness. Jayasingam, “Jasi” the eldest
son of the late Professor Nadaraser, Senior
lecturer and Reader in Mathematics at the
University of Ceylon, had his education
at Royal College and after his secondary
schooling completed the B.Com Degree
from the University of London.
On completion of his tertiary education
in 1952, Jasi joined the prestigious trading
firm of Harrisons & Crossfield Ltd. as an
Accountant. British Trading and Agency
houses which were manned by Expatriate
staff had commenced recruiting Sri
Lankan executives, and Jasi was in the
first batch at Harrisons, the others being
Douglas Fonseka, Satchi Canagasabey
and John Hitchcock. His career flourished
at Harrisons and he was responsible for
the Import and Export business carried
out by the firm.
In 1956, significant social changes
followed in the country. This was a
period of concerted Union activities
and labor unrest. The Trincomalee Tea
AdministrationBoardwas formed todivert
Tea exports through Trincomalee, thus
avoiding the strife-torn Colombo harbor.
Jasi was one of the senior executives
seconded by the export firm to run this
operation in Trinco.
When British expatriates in Colombo
and in the Plantations started leaving the
island, Jayasingam, had by then proved
his mettle and was appointed the Chief
Accountant, being one of the top three
positions in running the Company.
The next major change in his career was
in 1975, when companies registered outside
Sri Lanka had to register themselves with
the Registrar of Companies in Colombo.
Harrisons
&
Crossfields
complied
by registering their Colombo-based
operations and assets in a wholly-owned
subsidiary under the name of Harrisons
Colombo Ltd. Jasi was a founder director
of this Board, and also its first Joint
Managing Director. Soon, Jayasingam
assumed the position of Chairman of both
Harrisons Colombo Ltd. and Harrisons
Lister Colombo Ltd. He continued in this
position until 1990, when he retired from
Harrisons when Harrisons & Crossfields
in London divested themselves of the
shares in the local Company.
On retirement he was invited to join
the Boards of EB Creasy and Lankem
Ceylon and several other Companies of
the Fort Land Group. The privatization
of Plantations saw him spearheading
the diversification of the Group into
Plantation Management.
Army relentlessly fights
Indian Minister
Venkaiah Naidu praises
Sri Lankan efforts
Ven Uduwe
Dhammaloka Thera
conducts spiritual
programs
Jayasingam
is no more
Ven Dhammaloka Thera
Minister Weerawansa shakes hand with Indian Minister Naidu
Pics by ChandanaWijesinghe
1 3,4,5,6,7,8-9,10,11,12,13,...76
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