TPA hails LG amendment bill

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By 2017-08-24

Parliamentarians from the Tamil Progressive Alliance yesterday hailed the Government's move to increase the number of local Government bodies in the central highlands, through the Local Government (Amendment) Bill scheduled to be presented to Parliament today.

Minister of National Languages and Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages, Mano Ganesan, while addressing a press briefing held at the Parliamentary Complex, said that the move by the Government to amend the Local Government Act would strengthen democracy.

"The President and the Prime Minister agreed with our demand to increase the number of local government bodies in the Nuwara Eliya District, which currently has only eight local government bodies – one Municipal Council, two Urban Councils and five Pradeshiya Sabhas. We met Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faizer Mustapaha this morning. He too agreed to include the amendment in the Bill.

All MPs from the district are meeting tonight to discuss the number of local government bodies to be increased.

"There are Pradeshiya Sabhas which cater to around 10,000 to 8,000 people. In the Ambagamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha, in the Nuwara Eliya District, the population is around 225,000. Considering the geography and population it is mandatory to increase the number of local government bodies. People have to walk at least 50 to 60 kilometres to reach the local government institution for services.

"We do not blame any of the former Governments for the difficulties faced by the people in the estate sector. But we are happy now that the Yahapalana Government is taking an initiative to provide the people with some relief through this move.

This move would give full meaning to the concept of a republic. People who lived in remote areas would now get an opportunity to obtain services from the local government bodies."

Meanwhile, Badulla District MP A. Aravind Kumar said that there were instances of two Districts, with similar populations and geographical size, having a different number of local government bodies. "In terms of population and geography, both, the Badulla and the Nuwara Eliya Districts are similar, but the Badulla District has 18 local government bodies while Nuwara Eliya has only eight" MP Kumar said.

In addition, Nuwara Eliya District UNP MP K. K. Piyadasa said: "This move would be a relief to a lot of people.We are proposing that schools in Nuwara Eliya should not function on an ethnic basis as Tamil Vidayalaya or Muslim Vidyalaya.

The schools should be made to accommodate children of all ethnic groups so that there would be no more ethnic disharmony.

Minister Palani Digambaram, State Minister V Radhakrishnan, Kandy District UNP MP M. Velu Kumar and Nuwara Eliya District UNP MP Mayivaganam Thilakarajah also participated in the media conference. (SG)

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