President Maithripala Sirisena instructed to issue an extraordinary gazette notification to declare garbage disposal as an essential service, with effect from midnight of April 20.
The gazette focuses on steps that are being taken when disposing, collecting, transporting, storing, preparing, segregating garbage and disposing garbage collected from households as well as that which is collected from the road and related services. The gazette, which made these duties essential services, has been issued in line with the clause 17 of the Public Security Ordinance.
Accordingly, it now become an offence to threaten, obstruct or delay anyone who is engaged in or block any property on which these persons are engaged in the aforementioned duties by force or in a defamatory manner, verbally or in writing, or by any other means.
The Gazette stated that it is also illegal to encourage, influence people in any manner or to provoke them resulting in obstruction being caused to those performing such duties or to influence these employees to relinquish their duties. It’s also an offense to offer employment opportunities or accept such opportunities to cause hindrances to those who are performing duties in relation to garbage disposal. According to the Ordinance, anyone who is guilty of such offences mentioned or if there is reason to believe that someone was responsible for such a crime, they could be arrested by a police officer, at any moment, even without an arrest warrant. Anyone thus arrested could be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment by a Magistrate following a trial.