From DM online
Tourism, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga today assured that the walking path along the left embankment of Kalu Ela at Mabole, Wattala, that was removed several days ago, would be reconstructed soon.
Issuing a statement, the minister said that he had no personal involvement with the matter. “First of all I wish to categorically state that I have no personal involvement in the matter, my involvement is purely to ensure the well-being of the people of Wattala,” he said.
Over the last few days various media reports have been broadcast and published to the effect that I have been involved in the removal of a walking path along the Wattala- Mabole Kalu Ela left embankment.
First of all I wish to categorically state that I have no personal involvement with this matter, my involvement is purely to ensure the well-being of the people of Wattala.
The pathway that has been removed has been constructed on private land by the previous government.
In fact following a query made from me by the land owners I in turn wrote to the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Province Development on the 16th of March 2016, seeking clarification with regard to the land in question.
The LRDC replied my letter on the 18th of March 2016 confirming that the land is not vested with the state and that it has no objection to a road being constructed if the land owners are agreeable. This letter has been signed by LRDC Director General Srimathi Senadhira.
The roadway that is to be constructed replacing the existing pathway is primarily to access a block of land where it has been proposed to construct a housing scheme for low income families in the area. These families that have been ignored for years are in dire need of decent housing.
The roadway will also assist in keeping the canal clean by facilitating the movement of equipment. However, considering the inconvenience that has been caused to a number of people I will immediately intervene to get the walkway reconstructed.
I wish to state that as the second most long-serving Member of Parliament, next only to the Prime Minister and having represented the Wattala electorate for an unbroken period since 1977, the welfare of the people in the area are my topmost priority.
It is unfortunate that individuals with vested interests are using this matter to further their political ambitions.