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Controversy over maternity home named after Fowzie
WPC member Rahman asks UPFA not to play politics with CMC funds

Western Provincial Councillor Mujibur Rahman (UNP) alleged that the UPFA-run Western Provincial Council and the Colombo Municipal Council had recently renamed Adamjee Lukmanjee Maternity Home, situated at Kotahena, as A. H. M. Fowzie Maternity Home.

An irate councillor told The Island that the CMC had brazenly violated a long standing tradition that no building would be named in honour of a living person. He accused former Colombo Mayor, Omar Kamil, who now functions as the Special Commissioner, of playing politics for his personal benefit. He said that people shouldn’t forget that Kamil deserted the UNP and switched his allegiance to the UPFA after the last presidential election.

Rahman said he had raised this issue at a recent meeting of the WPC held under the auspices of Chief Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga. The Chief Minister didn’t respond, he said, emphasising that the WPC and CMC shouldn’t change name boards to appease ruling party politicians. He said that this was an attempt to boost Fowzie’s parliamentary election campaign in Colombo.

He said the maternity home had been built by the Lukmanjees, way back in 1936, and handed over to the CMC. The poor had benefited immensely from their generosity and nothing could be as bad as removing their name to make way for Fowzie, he said.

He said that Fowzie had re-opened the premises after the CMC expanded the facility with its funds. "All of us appreciate the CMC’s decision but why do they have to name it A. H. M. Fowzie maternity home," he asked. Rahman said Fowzie opened the facility about a week ahead of the January 26 presidential poll, though ten beds brought there had been taken away immediately after the election.

He said that Fowzie had no moral right to receive credit as he had not spent his private or parliamentary funds to expand the facility. He expressed confidence that the CMC would change its controversial decision. He recalled an instance when the then Mayor Kamil had turned down a request made by a UNP councillor, M. Haniffa, to name a community centre in honour of him in keeping with their decision that no living person would be given that opportunity. But about a year later Haniffa died and Kamil had named the community centre, situated at Slave Island, after Haniffa, Rahman said.

Kamil told The Island that a newly built maternity ward, within the premises, was named after Fowzie, though the arch at the entrance to the property would remain named after the Lukmanjees. When pointed out that it too had been removed, Kamil said that they were in the process of re-building the arch as it had to be removed to accommodate heavy vehicles bringing in building materials. He dismissed allegations that he was playing politics with CMC funds.

Rahman said that the Lukmanjees had donated their land for the benefit of the public and no politician should be allowed to take credit at their expense.

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