by Maheesha Mudugamuwa
Provincial Councils (PC) would introduce a controversial convention very shortly to take back and regain the powers that had been removed from them by the Urban Development Authority (UDA), Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya said yesterday.
Addressing the media at the Chief Minister’s office in Colombo, Devapriya said the charter would be introduced by the PCs if the Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka did not take necessary steps to reinstate the powers taken back by the UDA within the next few days.
Lashing out at UDA Chairman Jagath Munasinghe, CM Devapriya claimed that the decision had been taken by the UDA Chairman on his own accord without even consulting Minister Ranawaka.
According to the UDA several powers in relation to Building Planning and Development Planning, other Development Planning and Agreement Certification, Issuing of Permits, Preliminary Planning Enforcement and Settlement have been taken over by the authority. These powers apply for constructions of over 04 storey building over an area of 4000 square feet. It also applies to wherever the Condominium Law applies, that is Government and Semi-Government buildings that impact environmental pollution and buildings affiliated to filling stations. That is an area of over 40 perches or 0.1 hectares and the development as well as dividing those lands.
The charter that would be brought by the PCs would be a controversial political issue as it would be the first time that the PCs would bring such a charter to expand their powers, he said.
He assured the Minister would not interfere to create a problematic situation in the administrative arena of the government.
It was not fair to take back the powers that had been vested with PCs at a time when the government was talking much about the devolution of powers.