Written by Staff Writer
07 Feb, 2019 | 9:49 pm
COLOMBO(News 1st) – Several Parliamentarians were trapped inside an elevator at the Parliamentary complex for over 20 minutes today (February 07).
Parliament was to convene at 10.30 this morning. Twelve Parliamentarians had got on to the elevator that is reserved for MPs and after a few seconds, elevators had malfunctioned.
MP’s who were inside the elevator were Dinesh Gunawardena, Bandula Gunawardena, Chandima Weerakkody, Wimal Weerawansa, C.B. Rathnayake, Dullas Allahapperuma, Chandrasiri Gajadeera, Gamini Lokuge, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Ranjith Zoysa, Dayasiri Jayasekara and State Minister Ranjith Alluwhare.
The total weight that these elevators can accommodate is 900 kg. When News 1st inquired a senior official, he noted that when the twelve MPs entered the elevator, the alarm to indicate the overweight had not gone off.
Following the incident, officials have taken measures to showcase a notice stating that only six people can board the elevator at one time.
Our correspondent noted that a manual had been requested from the company that is responsible for the maintenance of the elevator. Additionally, the company has been inquired why the phone calls of the parliamentarians who were trapped inside the lift were not answered.
This issue was also debated during the sessions today(February 07).
Dinesh Gunawardena, UPFA MP noted that the experience was one of the most terrifying incidents in his parliamentary life. He said that this situation was not something to be trifled with and MP C.B Rathnayaka even had witnessed some individuals praying for their lives. He added that the speaker should use stairs instead of the elevator under these circumstances.
Wimal Weerawansa, UPFA MP sharing his thoughts on the incident asked whether the postponing of the debate on forming a national government was caused by the absence of twelve MPs from the opposition. He added all the representatives from Colombo district except for Udaya Gammanpila were trapped in the elevator..
Lakshman Kiriella, Speaker of the House noted that no one was responsible for such incidents. He said that the situation should not have taken long to sort itself out if the company operators answered the elevator. He added that the insurance of Rs 200,000 on an MP was not adequate. He finally added that when Ravi Karunanayka was the finance minister, promised to approve funds for a new elevator.
Dr. Bandula Gunawardana, UPFA MP said that it was his first time trapped in an elevator and it was only then he realized the gravity of being trapped in an elevator.
Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Power, Energy and Business Development said that three weeks ago a similar incident took place in Nawam Mawatha and an individual had lost his life. He noted that nearly 25,800 elevators in Sri Lanka have not been registered. He added that following this event they will present a proposal next week in the cabinet which requires the elevators to be registered annually and the registration slip to be displayed on the elevator.
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, UNP MP noted that an elevator is a machine and as all the other machines, it is possible that it would malfunction
After taking all the thoughts consideration Karu Jayasuriya, the Speaker said that it was not done intentionally and the parliament would take the responsibility for the incident. He also added that they would notify the relevant officials, and if the elevator is to be replaced with a new one, they would proceed to do so.
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