Will not support any bill which curtails powers vested in PCs: Chief Ministers

Will not support any bill which curtails powers vested in PCs: Chief Ministers

Will not support any bill which curtails powers vested in PCs: Chief Ministers

Written by Staff Writer

19 Dec, 2016 | 10:24 pm

The chief ministers of the provinces have noted that they will not support any bill which curtails powers vested in the provincial councils.

Several chief ministers opine that the proposed Development (special provisions) Bill, by conferring extraordinary powers to create a Super Ministry, will curtail the powers vested in the Provincial Councils.

The draft of the Development Special Provisions Bill, proposes the establishment of separate boards for regional development affairs. The bill would establish the Southern, Wayamba, Central, Eastern and Northern Development Boards.

The administrative Districts of Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Monaragala and Ratnapura, would come under the purview of the Southern Development Board.

Similarly, the Districts of Puttalam, Kurunegala and Kegalle will come under the Wayamba Board while Matale, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Badulla will come under the purview of the Central Development Board. 

Development in the districts of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara will come under the Eastern Board while Jaffna, Killnochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu will come under the purview of the Northern Development Board.

As per the provisions of the Development (Special Provisions) Bill, these Boards will function for three years, subject to the decisions and guidelines of the agency for development which will also be established through the bill.

Several Chief Ministers expressed their concerns…

Chief Minister of the Western Province Isura Devapriya :

He said that as a party, they are opposed to it, as it is not something which will pass in parliament. The chief minister said:

Even when our government was in power, a similar super-powered ministry was operated by Basil Rajapaksa…The impact of that Ministry was so great that I believe it influenced the defeat of the former president”.

He went on to note that it cannot happen under a good governance regime and that it is not a question of which party receives the Ministry. Furthermore, he noted that with the past experiences in Sri Lanka, it is not right to appoint a person who will be conferred with so much power. There are major criticisms against certain actions of this Government, people are pointing fingers at the UNP and not at the SLFP, he said.

Chief Minister of the Central Province Sarath Ekanayake :

When considering the provisions in this new bill, there are many with which the provincial councils cannot agree in any sense. As a matter of principle, we cannot agree with such a draft, which deals with subjects in the schedule of the 13th amendment to the constitution.”

Chief Minister of the Southern Province Shan Wijayalal De Silva :

While the concept of devolving power was introduced as a solution to the problems in the country in the past, today, a bill has been presented to centralise these decentralised powers around a single person. My personal opinion is that I will not agree with any program that curtails, harms or limits the powers of the Provincial Councils.

Chief Minister of the Uva Province Chamara Sampath :

I am still studying it. So, it is pointless for me to have an opinion. This is because I cannot go on my single opinion alone. We will discuss the Bill in the Provincial Council. We will secure their agreement and inform at the parliament.”

Chief Minister of the North Central Province Peshala Jayarathne :

“They say they will decentralise power, that they will grant police powers and land powers, but then they are curtailing the financial powers of the councils… ..We cannot work closely on this…

Chief Minister of the Northern Province C. V. Vigneswaran said that he would make a statement after studying the proposed Bill.

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