Provincial Councils are expected to give their consent to the proposed Town and Country Planning Ordinance Amendment before February 8, informed sources said yesterday.
The Amendment empowers the central government to acquire land within municipal and urban areas for economic, social, historical, environmental and religious purposes.
It was announced at the Western Provincial Council party leaders’ meeting that the provincials should give their consent before the mentioned date and as such the PCs including the WPC were expected to approve this Amendment on Monday as most of the PCs were scheduled to meet on that day. Sources said the Bill would be presented to Parliament next Wednesday.
WPC Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga had told the party leaders that the provincial council should give its consent because the lands were being acquired for a good cause.
Meanwhile the Democratic People’s Front (DPF) had objected to the Amendment stating that Northern and Eastern provinces would be adversely affected by this move. DPF councillor A.N. Kumarguruparan said it was not proper to dilute the powers of the local councils at a time when power devolution was being discussed as a solution to the national issue. He said such pieces of legislation would be a hindrance to effective power devolution.
The United National Party (UNP) said it would have to study the Bill before deciding on its stand on the matter. This Bill had earlier been submitted to the Supreme Court for a ruling on its constitutionality, the court sent the Bill back saying it could not take a decision until the Bill was approved by all PCs. (Yohan Perera)