The government’s decision 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 would strengthen democracy, Tamil Progressive Alliance parliamentarians said yesterday.
Addressing a press conference held at the Parliamentary Complex, National and Co-existence Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Gansean said, “The President and the Prime Minister agreed to grant our demand for increasing the number of local government bodies in the Nuwara Eliya District, which currently has only eight – one Municipal Council, two Urban Councils and five Pradeshiya Sabhas. We met Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Mustapha this morning. He, too, agreed to include the amendment in the bill. All MPs from the district are meeting tonight to discuss the proposed increase in the number of local government bodies.
“There are Pradeshiya Sabhas which cater to around 10,000 people each. 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 travel at least 50 to 60 km to reach some local government bodies.
“We don’t blame any of the former governments for the difficulties undergoing by the people in the estate sector. But, we are happy that the yahapalana government has taken an initiative to provide the people with some relief.”
Badulla District MP A. Aravind Kumar said “In terms of population and geography both Badulla and Nuwara Eliya districts are similar. Badulla District has 18 local government bodies while Nuwara Eliya has only eight”.
Nuwara Eliya District UNP MP K.K. Piyadasa said, “This move will bring relief for lot of people. We are proposing that schools in the Nuwara Eliya district cease to function on 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”.
State Minister V Radhakrishnan, Minister Palani Digambaram, Kandy District UNP MP M Velu Kumar and Nuwara Eliya District UNP MP Mayivaganam Thilakarajah also addressed the press.