Written by Tharushan Fernando
26 Dec, 2015 | 10:20 pm
K.L.L. Jayathilaka, secretary of the Kataragama Pradeshiya Sabha, says immediate steps will be taken to remove all unauthorised and irregular shops that are operating in the area.
The secretary expressed these views when inquiries were made regarding the arbitrary charging of money from devotees visiting the holy city. Over the four-day holiday, more than a million devotees have visited Kataragama.
The Basnayake Nilame or Chief Layperson of Kataragama, says the holy city has received a record number of visitors over the season.
Members of the Public accuse restaurant owners and those providing accommodation facilities, of taking advantage of the situation to charge exorbitant amounts of money. The Consumer Affairs Authority and the Kataragama Pradeshiya Sabha are responsible for making inquiries into establishments with uncontrolled prices. Members of the public say the current situation has arisen as a result of both institutions failing to intervene.
Authorities say that the situation has arisen as a result of area residents embarking on whatever business ventures possible, to take advantage of the opportunity that has arisen.
Secretary of Kataragama Pradeshiya Sabha, K.L.L. Jayathilaka stated that it has been reported that exorbitant prices are being charged for items like tea and hoppers and for hotel rooms this year
He went on to note that the people here live on business, many people sell flowers and fruits to make a living and a system will be implemeted together with the Consumer Affairs Authority to decide on maximum prices for hotel rooms for example to resolve this problem in the future
Meanwhile, several issues have arisen as a result of the lack of sanitation facilities for devotees visiting Kataragama and this has led to pollution on the banks of the Menik River. In addition, visitors to Kataragama have also fallen prey to dubious parking lot operators, as a result of the lack of a proper system or controls.
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