by Saman Indrajith
The government could make excuses but it should accept the responsibility for its failure to save the lives of people who perished in the Koslanda disaster, Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said in Parliament yesterday.
Chief Opposition Whip, addressing Parliament soon after the Chief Government Whip and Water Supply and Drainage Minister made a special statement on the scope of the disaster and the action taken by the government, said that the Opposition wished to convey sympathies to those who had lost their near and dear ones on Wednesday.
He said that it was the first time a landslide had destroyed so many lives in the known history of the country.
“The statement made by the Chief Government Whip indicates that the government had known that the disaster would happen. If so, why did it fail to take action to protect those lives and properties? Had these areas been declared landslide prone areas in 2005, you should have relocated the people.”
Government members shouted at the Chief Opposition Whip asking him not to fish in troubled waters and to refrain from trying to gain political mileage out of the misery of the affected people.
Chief Opposition Whip: We are not taking political advantage of the situation. What is beyond our comprehension is why had not taken any action though it had been aware that disaster would happen? The government should take the responsibility for the disaster.
Chief Government Whip Minister Gunawardena: “I have been saddened by the Chief Opposition Whip’s claim. It is so shameful that you try to take political advantage when the nation is struck by a tragedy. This is no political fight. Shame on you for trying to capitalise on the misery of the people affected by the disaster.”