Sept 16, Colombo: Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena stressed that the constructions approved by local government bodies must be in compliance with the development plan when he chaired the District Secretaries Conference on Friday at the State Ministry of Home Affairs.
Speaking at the event, the Premier said the Finance Commission allocates billions for development work and a series of clear instructions have been given on how the district secretaries and the governor can coordinate to ensure the success of those projects and whether those projects are completed or not. It is to maximize the regularity and effectiveness of financial allocations.
He pointed out that the time to provide benefits has been extended due to the inability to complete the Aswesuma program properly. District Agents got involved to solve the various problems there. There is a need to involve the related departments.
“It rains, it floods, government compensates billions but no action will be taken until there is another flood. These deficiencies are the same in every district. It is the same even in drought. Attention should be paid in this regard.”
The Premier instructed the local authorities to take into account the development plan in granting approvals, especially allowing new residents along the rivers.
“Often, the developers get the land, develop it, get money, and leave. The local government gives permission. Those who build and settle in those places have to face this problem.”
MP Patali Champika Ranawaka, Chair of the parliamentary Committee on Ways and Means speaking at the meeting said it is necessary to set up information centers across the island to obtain meteorological information.
“Currently we cannot imagine the massive climate change conditions that may come. A point of obtaining such information has been established in Nawala. This needs to be implemented throughout the country. Although it is possible to tell how long it takes for the water to reach Hanwella and Grand Pass through the Kelani River when it rains in Nuwara Eliya, it is not the case in the Mahaweli, Walawe and Kalu rivers. Seeing the situations that have happened all over the world in the last few days, we can expect emergency situations ahead. As an island country, we have to face sudden rains, extreme temperatures and droughts. There is no point in talking about disaster like tsunami without making disaster management a main subject right now. Preparation should be made about it.”
The Chair of the parliamentary Committee on Ways and Means also instructed the officials to pay attention to the report that lists the percentages of the number of children who do not go to school, who are hungry, who end their education at ordinary level and advanced level (GCE), the number of people who cannot get food and who are affected by sudden calamities in each district
“Give your kind attention in that regard. Although the government has spent three times as much as Samurdhi for social relief (Aswesuma), there is chaos in the society. We are unable to distribute because of a problem we have made. It would be good if the governors intervened to solve it. There are many flaws. But everyone should unite to build the country regardless of party color.”
Minister of State for Home Affairs Ashoka Priyantha, Minister of State for Provincial Councils and Local Government Janaka Vakkambura also spoke at the meeting.
Public Administration Ministry secretary Ashoka Ranjith and other ministry secretaries and government officials from related institutions joined the event.