Devolution promised for N&E, disenfranchising South – Tissa Attanayake
by Zacki Jabbar
The UNP is to institute legal action against a government move to convert five local bodies in Colombo into a Corporation.General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake told a news conference in Colombo yesterday, that they will move Court to ensure that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime does not usurp the people’s civic rights.
The Colombo, Dehiwala – Mt. Lavinia and Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte Municipal Councils, the Kolonawa Urban Council and Kotikawatte – Mulleriya Pradeshiya Sabha, which the government proposes to combine into the Colombo Metropolitan City Corporation, were largely UNP strongholds, he said.
Attanayake said that the Rajapaksa regime was resorting to unethical methods to break the UNP’s vote base, as it was still the single largest party in the country.
The excuse being trotted out was development, but if that was the real reason it could be achieved through the Urban Development Authority, he said
Attanayake said that the masses were being systematically deprived of their democratic rights and the proposed CMCC was just part of the grand strategy.
“The Rajapaksa government specialises in hoodwinking the people. They talk of devolution for the North and East but are in the process of disenfranchising the South,” he said.
However, the government claims that the establishment of the CMCC, which has been sanctioned by the Cabinet, would not affect the functioning of the exisiting local bodies.
Environment Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said that even though the CMCC would be headed by a Governor appointed by the President for a six-year term, it will not hinder the work of the Councils.
The new Corporation, subject to parliamentary approval, aims at streamlining the local administration and building their capacity and capabilities, he said.
Yapa also claimed that elections to the five local bodies, including the Colombo Municipal Council, would be held shortly.