(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –The official term of office of 340 out of 341 local government bodies except for Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) ended at midnight Sunday, March 19 and the authority of those institutions will be transferred to Commissioners and Secretaries.
Accordingly, the authority of 29 municipal councils will come under the municipal commissioners and the power of 36 urban councils and 275 Pradeshiya Sabhas will be transferred to the secretaries of the respective institutions.
Minister of State for Provincial Councils and Local Government Janaka Wakkambura said that starting from today (20), the local government institutions will provide the services required by the public in the same way as before.
The State Minister also said the government has officially notified the heads of all the local government bodies whose term of office has ended to return all the government properties yesterday.
The subject Minister, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena summoned all the provincial governors last week and instructed them to run the respective local government bodies with the assistance of municipal commissioners and local government body secretaries after today.
However, only the official term of the Elpitiya local council, which was established late, will continue. It was set up late due to the holding of a separate poll only for the Elpitiya local council. Its term of office is scheduled to end in October.
Although the local government bodies have been operating for a period of four years since March 29, 2018, due to the crisis situation last year, their official term was extended by one year. The Minister is not empowered to further extend the tenure of the members of those institutions.
Thus, according to the local government law, polling should have been held before yesterday and new members should have been elected. However, due to the fact that the polling could not be held before that date, the power of the local authorities ended yesterday midnight.
The Election Commission early this year set 9 March as the date for the Local Government elections, but the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies, and the General Treasury had not released the required funds for the elections. The Election Commission then announced that April 25 would be the most suitable day to hold the elections but it appears that the election would be further postponed.
Local government representatives fulfill a great service to the society and it is difficult to get such service from the government officials. The public representative interacts with the people constantly and the officers perform their services while on duty. However, the State Minister for Provincial Councils and Local Government Mr. Janaka Wakkambura said he hopes to get maximum service from them as well.