The newly carpeted road at Kalpitiya where more than five palmyrah plants were found growing after completion of construction, was eventually opened yesterday by Economic Affairs Minister, Basil Rajapaksa.
|Earlier: A sprouting Palmyrah plant
||A marking where an earlier plant had been removed
Earlier in the week officials were seen making strenuous efforts to cover up all shortcomings.
On July 10 the Sunday Times reported one palmyrah plant had sprouted on the newly built Palattaduwa – Talawila road in Kalpitiya which was constructed at a cost Rs. 36.3 million
According to villagers an official who visited the road at a later date found as many as five more palmyrah plants had sprouted and removed all of them after marking the locations.
Last Sunday the officials were again seen visiting the place. This time it was to erase the markings they had made.
The Sunday Times learns that the issue was raised at a meeting with the Government Agent who ordered provincial road construction officials to be present when such constructions were underway.
During the construction of this particular road, provincial officials had not been present.
Accordingly provincial officials are now expected to be present when ever work is outsourced to the private sector.
Meanwhile Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa during the opening ceremony said in other countries if a tree grows on a carpeted road they would treat it as a sign of prosperity, but in Sri Lanka journalists consider it as something wrong.
“The fact that Palmyrah trees grow on a carpeted road in Kalpitiya is a sign that this is a fertile area,” he said.
crews ply the drug trade
By Mohamad Buharruddeen
Bus crews of long-distance buses are said to be engaged in the drug trade, as was revealed in a case where three police officers from Galewela, posing off as two hotel workers and a bus helper, nabbed the culprits in the act of selling drugs. Headquarters Inspector Rushantha Perera, on a tip-off, went with a team on Tuesday to Yaigalpoththa area and caught the offenders at a long-distance bus stop hotel that revealed the goings-on in long-distance buses.
Two men aged 30 and 35 working in that hotel, were taken for questioning by the police, and the duo related how the trade has been going on for a long time, where drugs are sold to bus drivers and their helpers. Police also found 24 packets of heroin in the duo’s possession. The two suspects are from Galewela and Melsiripura areas.
Razeek family calls
on Govt. for
Hartal in Puttalam at funeral
By Hiran Priyankara Jayasinghe
Family members of Pattani Razeek, a prominent aid worker, whose body was found 17 months after his disappearance, called on the government to carry out an impartial inquiry into his murder.
Mr Razeek’s funeral took place in the village off Puttalam town, with an estimated 6,000 people attending it.
As the funeral was proceeding, a hartal was held in Puttalam town and surrounding areas, as a mark of protest over the killing and the slow progress in its investigations.
Family members who wished to remain anonymous, told the Sunday Times that they believe the investigators were under political pressure, while the persons involved appeared to have links with police officers as well.
Two suspects are in custody, with one of them being an associate of Minister Rishard Bathiurdeen, but the Minister has denied any links with the disappearance of the aid worker or his murder.
International organisations have also called for a full investigation into the murder of Mr. Razeek who was a trustee of the Community Trust Fund based in Puttalam. He was involved in projects in the north-central and eastern province.
Mr Razeek disappeared without a trace from Polonnaruwa in February last year, until his body was found in Valachchenai two weeks back.
The main suspect is alleged to have called family members of Mr. Razeek and demanded a ransom of Rs 20 million for his release, and later reduced the amount to Rs 1 million. But after September last year, they received no calls.