WPC chairs at Rs. 650,000: Saner counsel prevails | Sunday Observer

WPC chairs at Rs. 650,000: Saner counsel prevails

The decision to import chairs for the Western Provincial Council (WPC) at an exorbitant cost of Rs. 81.2 million will be cancelled, the Western Province Governor said.

Western Province Governor Hemakumara Nanayakkara told the Sunday Observer that an investigation will also be conducted regarding the controversial move which has garnered a serious backlash from members of the public.

“The WPC still uses chairs from its early days,” he said, adding, therefore, Cabinet approval was granted to purchase new chairs for the council.

 However, according to Nanayakkara, he received a written complaint regarding the cost of the chairs from Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Councillor Lakshman Nipuna Arachchi.

“Therefore, I have ordered the WPC Chief Secretary to halt the order and commence an investigation into the matter,” Nanayakkara said.

The cost for the councillor’s chairs was revealed when JVP councillor Nipuna Arachchi submitted a written complaint on August 9 to the Governor. In his complaint he noted that the cost of one chair was Rs. 650,000 and that this information was revealed during the WPC meeting on August 8. When questioned by the media, Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya said each chair will cost only Rs. 640,000 and not Rs. 650,000 as stated by Nipuna Arachchi.

According to him, the chairs and tables will be similar to those in Parliament. “The earnings of the WPC was spent on these chairs, so there is no issue,” he was quoted as saying.

According to Nipuna Arachchi such an expenditure when many schools and hospitals in the province were without basic facilities, was unconscionable.

“There are many issues in the education and health sectors in the province,” Nipuna Arachchi told the Sunday Observer. He said the situation warrants an investigation into the expenditure of the WPC. “The JVP will conduct its own inquiries into the matter,” he said.

The new WPC building on Denzil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha in Battaramulla was opened by President Maithripala Sirisena on July 12. The building which now holds all the Ministries and agencies of the Western Province was built to provide a more efficient service to the public.

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