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Sunday, 25 September 2011

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Anuradhapura Municipal Council:

UPFA and UNP mayoral candidates pledge to develop Anuradhapura


UPFA mayoral candidate H. P. Somadasa

UNP mayoral candidate Indika Anura Kumara

Local Government elections play a pivotal role in democracy as it helps elect representatives for local communities. It provides an opportunity for people to contribute to their communities. The last Local Government polls were held in 2006 in 288 of the 330 local authorities. Elections were held in nine local authorities in the Batticaloa district in 2008 and for two Local Government Authorities in the Northern Province in 2009.

The normal term of a local authority is four years but the law allows the Central Government to extend this by a further year. The term of 286 local authorities (16 Municipal Councils, 36 Urban Councils and 234 Pradeshiya Sabhas) was due to expire in 2010 but on 22 December 2009, the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils Janaka Bandara Tennakoon extended it until March 31, 2011. On January 6, 2010 Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister A.L.M. Athaullah, dissolved 263 local authorities (34 Urban Councils and 229 Pradeshiya Sabhas). Elections were also called in five newly created local authorities (2 Municipal Councils and 3 Pradeshiya Sabhas).

In addition, elections were called in 31 local authorities (4 Urban Councils and 27 Pradeshiya Sabas.

Due to the conflict the elected bodies were not functioning. On January 18, 2011 the Government announced that the term of 23 local authorities in Anuradhapura, Badulla, Colombo, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Galle, Gampaha, Kalmunai, Kandy, Kurunegala, Matale, Matara, Moratuwa, Negombo, Nuwara Eliya, Ratnapura and Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte Municipal Councils and Hambantota and Kolonnawa Urban Councils Hambantota, Kotikawatte-Mulleriyawa, Kundasale and Sooriyawewa Pradeshiya Sabhas were extended until June 30, 2011 under the Emergency Regulations. On 30 March 2011 the Government announced that the term of 23 local authorities have been extended further until December 31, 2011. On August 25, 2011 the Department of Elections announced that elections to 23 local authorities will be held on October 8, 2011.

Six political parties under their registered symbols and three independent groups are contesting the Anuradhapura Municipal Council. The United People's Freedom Alliance UPFA will contest under the betel leaf, the United National Party (UNP) - Elephant, the Eksath Lanka Maha Saba Fountain - pen, the People's Liberation Front - Bell, Jana Setha Peramuna - Tractor and the Democratic Left Front will contest under the Clock symbol.

The Independent Group-1 will contest under the sword symbol, Group-2 - pair of spectacles and Group - 3 - cart.

The election campaigns for the Anuradhapura Municipal Council are peaceful after the submission of nominations at the Anuradhapura District Secretariat. Candidates are engaged in door-to-door campaigns throughout the Municipal area. H. P. Somadasa will contest for the post of Mayor from the UPFA and Indika Anura Kumara from the UNP and Anura Dissanayake from the People's Liberation Front.

Candidates promise a host of benefits if they are elected.

Sunday Observer spoke to UPFA Mayoral Candidate H. P. Somadasa who predicted a landslide victory at the forthcoming elections.

"The Government has implemented mega livelihood and infrastructure development projects in the Anuradhapura Municipality area", Somadasa said.

He said that there are over 200,000 people in the Anuradhapura Municipal Council area and there are 32,972 voters and over 5,000 are low income earners.

He said that he will work for the welfare of the people in the event he is elected.

Somadasa said that there are families in the Malwathu-Oya area without permanent houses. Moves are under way to construct permanent houses for the people shortly. Sanitation facilities in certain areas of the city are poor.

He said that plans are afoot to set up an advisory committee comprising religious prelates and intellectuals in the area to regulate the public service. All development and social service activities will be carried out on their recommendations. This will help to provide a better service to the public.

The main roads in the Anuradhapura city were carpeted with funds provided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Under the "Jathika Saviya" and "Maga Neguma" projects a 30-km stretch road in the city was developed. The Matale Junction, Pullayar Junction, Bandara, Bulathkulama, Walawwatta, Ramakele roads were renovated and roads were concreted, Somadasa said.

Moves are in place to carpet the remaining main roads in the Anuradhapura city, according to Somadasa. The main canals in the city will be dredged and developed to prevent the city from flooding during the rainy seasons.

Implementing a waste management project in the city and providing scholarships to the school children in the city are some of the pledges made by him.

Somadasa said that the roads in the Anuradhapura Municipality area will be illuminated using solar power. The Koombichchankulam area will be developed as a recreational park.

The United National Party Mayoral Candidate Indika Anura Kumara said that all party supporters should cast their votes for the party and not for any individual's victory.

It is high time that UNPers unite to protect the party from destruction", he said.

His election pledges are the construction of a clean and beautiful city, regulating garbage disposal, generating direct and indirect jobs. Manufacturing fertiliser by recycling garbage, are some of his pledges.

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