Damn the trucking

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- The Kantale Dam in Sri Lanka, which burst in 1986 causing large-scale destruction to lives, livestock and crops, is once more in danger of collapsing. This is because authorities have ignored warnings against using the road over the dam for heavy vehicles, according to farmers in the area, who have now urged the government to take immediate action to prevent a recurrence and to direct heavy vehicle drivers to avoid the dam. According to Kantale Farmers Association's chairperson D M Ratnayaka, the daily movement of heavy vehicles transporting over 50 to 60 tonnes of goods to two multinational companies in Trincomalee have damaged the dam. Following the 1986 disaster, the Road Development Authority disallowed vehicles exceeding a 30-tonne limit from plying over the dam. The companies were ignoring the restrictions, Ratnayaka alleged. Vibrations caused by the flow of laden trucks has resulted in water seepage at the base of the dam. This would lead to another disaster, he warned. Even in 1986, the dam had collapsed when some multinational companies attempted to dredge the basement of the dam to install a huge water pump.

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