Gotabhaya wins Jumbos’ hearts
Govt., UNP bury the hatchet in ColomboOctober 26, 2012, 9:34 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The UNP-run Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) on Thursday (25) moved an unprecedented resolution praising Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for throwing his weight behind the administration.
The UNP admitted that the administration couldn’t survive without the Defence Secretary’s patronage and the ongoing mega city beautification project initiated by President Rajapaksa’s sibling, too, was beneficial to the CMC.Senior UNP councillor Premjayantha Kasthuriarachchi moved the resolution at the behest of Colombo Mayor A. J. M. Muzammil. The UNP group in the CMC unanimously approved the resolution. It received the support of the UPFA and other political parties represented in the council.
Asked whether his administration really appreciated the government’s intervention in affairs of the council, Mayor Muzammil emphasized that the Defence Secretary deserved praise for his overall role in improving the city and its suburbs. Muzammil said that his intention was to provide better facilities for those living in the city as well as visitors. The CMC appreciated Defence Secretary Rajapaksa’s initiatives without reservation, the veteran UNPer said.
There hadn’t been any previous instance of any local government body thanking a specific government official identified with a rival political party for a job well done.
The resolution came in the wake of the Defence Secretary assuring his fullest support to tackle the crisis caused by a massive garbage mountain in the Kolonnawa electorate. The CMC and the government recently agreed to work in unison to provide assistance to those displaced due to the destruction of houses caused by the sinking of the garbage mountain.
In spite of the SLFP-led ruling coalition’s all out effort to bag the premier 53-member council, the UNP comfortably won it at the Oct.8, 2011 local government election.
Addressing the members, UNP councillor Kasthuriarachchi commended the Defence Secretary for renovating the Colombo race course mini pavilion at a cost of Rs. 125 million. The CMC couldn’t handle the job, though it came under their purview. The refurbished facility was declared opened to the public last Saturday by Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary and the Mayor of the Colombo.
Under the Colombo City beautification project, the 119-year-old race course pavilions in Cinnamon Gardens are being restored in stages to their pristine grandeur, preserving the original colonial architecture. The Urban Development Authority provided architectural consultancy and the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau acted as engineering consultant.
The restoration work was carried out by the Sri Lanka Army’s Sixth Engineers Service Regiment. About 300 military personnel were involved in the project. The mini pavilion is part of a Rs. 450 million project that includes the completion of the grand stand, a rugby field and a Sports Ministry building. The project is expected to be completed in Dec. 2013.
Addressing a special meeting at the Defence Ministry to discuss ways and means of tackling the Kolonnauwa garbage crisis, the Defence Secretary stressed that a joint effort was needed to meet the challenging task. He pledged the government’s support to the CMC, while urging Muzammil to look after the pavements and the drainage system. A smiling Rajapaksa told Muzammil that the latter could be the Mayor as long as he wanted to. The Defence Secretary said that the problem couldn’t be handled by the CMC on its own hence government support was necessary.
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Last Updated May 25 2013 | 03:45 pm