Right To Reply

Chief Minister In Blame Game

I,  Ranjeevi De Silva deny the allegations made by the Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga in the article published in The Sunday leader on  May 31,  2015 under the caption Chief Minister in Blame Game. I would like to answer point by point to Prasanna Ranatunga’s allegations and false statements made in last week’s The Sunday Leader.

Prasanna Ranathunga making all attempts to talk to me and to resolve this matter is a false statement made by him. Since September 2013, I have through his workmen and his contractor Chaminda and personal assistant also named Chaminda, have tried to talk to him and sent numerous messages regarding the difficulties faced. As a last resort, before I spoke to the papers, I spoke with one of his close relatives to talk to him and failed as he too was not able to get any positive response from Prasanna. It is only after he got to know when my story was to appear in the papers that he had mentioned to the editor that we could have spoken and resolved this matter amicably. However I decided to go ahead with the story as all the institutions I turned for help had not assisted me up to that time.

The letter giving him permission (by the UDA) to install the hut on the reservation was not submitted by Prasanna to the Editor. The Hut was there in the reservation until May 22, even after the house was complete. The day  The Sunday Leader  interviewed him and asked for the letter which he had got from the UDA. The same day around 4pm, approximately an hour after the phone interview, the hut was demolished and on the 24thth of May the grass was laid on the damaged areas where the hut stood. But the two Araliya trees that were previously removed in 2013 were not planted and the ferns and the Gardinia tree that was in the reservation until the 24th May 2015 was removed and no where to be found.

It is understood without a doubt that the reservation land belongs to the UDA and the land reclamation board.  Dumping earth and using heavy machinery in 2013 and installation of the hut in UDA land took place.   I have proof of such dumping of earth on the reservation-video tapes that is currently with my lawyer for safekeeping and in any event can provide such tapes to relevant institutions. The dumping of soil has caused my single brick wall to crack and destroyed all the plants and grass in the area. I had to get a civil Engineer recommended by the Municipal council to look into the matter and submit a report and I am able to submit the report if the need arises. This also caused the flooding of my garden which is my main area of concern and I had to take immediate steps to spend my own money to clear the soil that was dumped by his workmen. This clearly shows his interest in the reservation. Why would anybody want to destroy an area that is done up beautifully without an intention?

I am absolutely shocked that Prasanna Ranatunga had mentioned in the article that I had wanted to purchase his land (Owita). When he bought the land, exact date of transfer 11th Feb 2004, I was living in Malaysia and had no idea Perera Mawatha even existed. I only moved to Sri Lanka permanently in 2012 after 20 years of living overseas.  I purchased this house just two years ago in 2013. I was not aware that Prasanna had bought any land in Perera Mawatha as when my lawyer did a search on my property and its surroundings of the bare land which included the reservation and the Owita was crown land. The house was purchased based on the advertisement which appeared in the Hit Ad in March 2013.

I confirm that he has  fixed a fence (green mesh) around his house with a large sliding gate with garden lights leading to the reservation that he had earlier destroyed by dumping earth. He also has two other gates on the sides leading to the reservation.

I have been to every institution mentioned in the article  and all the institutions had given me only one answer stating that ‘ it’s the Chief Minister that we are dealing with and there is nothing that we can do to help you.’ Even the Perera Mawatha road development work was stopped by Prasanna Ranatunga, instructing the Pradeshiya Saba Chairman. There are four witnesses, according to the last The Sunday Leader article who will confirm this statement. The Police have told me to go to court as this is a civil matter and there is nothing much they can do to help me due to whom they had to deal with.

The Garbage bin placed on the reservation is a special bin for the leaves of the trees that fall in the reservation to be placed to make compost manure, I am able to re use the fertilizer to maintain the plants in the area.

Prasanna Ranatunga has complained about the cement blocks being laid on the reservation. He himself has sat on them along with his family just like the rest of the neighbors who used to come there occasionally on their way after a walk. The neighbors used to have access to the reservation from Prasanna Ranathunga’s property as till Sep of 2013 he had no building on the property. He started work only end of September 2013. I also confirm that there were no parties held in the reservation as mentioned by him.

I have photos taken to prove that his drainage systems is infact blocked, causing the breeding of mosquitoes .He  constructed a gully over night on the road reservation after my complaint as a remedial measure  to avoid the flooding of the road . His gates to his residence also are in question due to the way it is built towards the road reservation. He has also blocked my boundary wall.

He has stated that he bought this Owita in 2005 when records clearly shows that he bought the land in 2004. Based on information available the Deed of Rectification, the deed of declaration and the deed of transfer for the Owita that belongs to M. S. Ranatunga are all done on the same day.

As requested by the Chief Minister I would appreciate an independent government official be appointed to give a report on the property so that a solution could be found to prevent the flooding which is my main concern   among others.

I have no grudges against Prasanna. I have been an innocent victim in this whole episode. I have not written this article to discredit him except write facts as it has happened. I have proof to substantiate what I have said in The Sunday Leader last week and this week.  I only have written as a citizen of this country who has been inconvenienced and my rights have been violated. Now my life has turned upside down and live in fear. Please help me resolve this matter as soon as possible and I am confident since the presidential secretariat, Prime Minister’s office, Ministry of Urban Development and water supply and Drainage board and the Human Rights Commission are involved investigating this matter, there will be a fair and just solution to me and the other residents of Perera Mawatha ending this problem once and for all. I deeply regret that this had to come out in the media and become an unpleasant experience to everyone concerned, when I tried in many occasions talking to him through parties mentioned above.

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