Residents perturbed as beach alarmingly close to railway line

Published : 12:04 am  March 13, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


 reads | 



By H.M. Dharmapala and Kusal Chamath   

Sea erosion in Ratmalana has worsened and several houses have been destroyed by the rumbling waves. Residents of the area said they were living in constant fear of any possible danger to their lives. 
Upul Fernando, a traditional fisherman, said the beach which was about 100 metres away from land, was now next to the railway line. 

“The beach was subjected to erosion during the tsunami disaster and it has continued for the last several years. More that 100 houses along the beach are in danger. Relevant authorities promised to provide us land in safer locations when some 70 houses were destroyed by sea erosion in the coastal belt from Dehiwala to Ratmalana about three years ago. But nothing has been done yet,” he said. 
Samarasiri Punchihewa, a resident of Wedikanda in Ratmalana, said a house was razed down to the ground last year and that he was living in constant fear of any similar danger. 

“We have been compelled to stay here for want of land to settle. The distance between the beach and the railway line is less than 12 metres. In the past, the edge of the beach was more than 100 metres away. The Coast Conservation Department laid boulders to prevent the waves, but to no avail. Sea erosion is a natural disaster which cannot be prevented. However, the people should be protected. The only way to do it is to settle us in safer locations. Several families have temporarily left the area to live at their relatives’ houses. Some others who erected huts in the railway reservation are facing the threat of legal action against them for encroaching upon railway land,” he said. 

Their only request was to provide them land and monetary assistance to build houses in a safer location.