Oct 02, Colombo: The Eastern Provincial Council of Sri Lanka has today passed the controversial Divi Neguma Bill.
The controversial bill had been passed with a majority of six votes with 21 members voting in favor of the bill while 15 opposed it.
The United National Party (UNP) and the Tamil national Alliance (TNA) had voted against the bill.
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the National Freedom Front (NFF) had voted in favor of the bill.
However, the SLMC members in the Eastern provincial Council had voted in favor of the bill when the party secretary had stated the SLMC needed a period of one week to study and decide on the party's stance on the bill.
A group of SLMC office bearers in the High Command had also demanded that the party reach a clear stance on the controversial bill, which is said to interfere in the powers vested with the provincial councils.
The Divi Neguma Department Bill proposes the establishment of the new department by amalgamating the Samurdhi Authority, Southern Development Authority and the Udarata Development Authority.
The Divi Neguma Bill has already been passed in the Western and North Western Provincial Councils after the Supreme Court informed the Speaker of parliament that the bill needed approval from the provincial councils.