CMC members concerned over agreement signed with private company
By Yohan Perera
Members of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) have got into a confrontation recently with regard to a contract that have been signed by the officials of the council during the time it was under a special commissioner in early 2018. As per the agreement, a private company had been given permission to fix all modern equipment including installing CCTV cameras and putting up LED bulbs in the city until 2038.
Members of the CMC irrespective of the party they are representing had voiced different opinions when the matter came up for discussion at the last council session.
At the same time, the issue has turned into a legal battle as well with SLPP Member of the Council Shermila Gonawala filing legal action against the signing of the agreement stating the CMC will lose Rs 3.7 billion as a result of it. Ms Gonawala told the Daily Mirror Metro that the Council would undergo a loss of Rs 3.7 billion if the project goes ahead.
As per the agreement, the company concerned had undertaken to light up Colombo City using LED bulbs. However, Ms. Gonawala said as per this agreement, CMC will have to erect posts for the lights while it will also have to spend for the renovation and restoration of posts after ten years. “As per the agreement, the company will undertake to fix up all modern equipment in the city until the year 2038,” She said. She said the CMC will also have to make payments for the services rendered by the company from time to time. “The most important factor is that the company which will also fix 200 CCTV cameras in the city had been given the right to use the data collected from the CCTV cameras for commercial purposes. This will put all VIPs and even members of the Council at risk,” Ms. Gonawala added.
Ms. Gonawala said the agreement has been signed by the officials of the CMC on February 5, 2018 which is just five days before the local government election was held. JVP Member of the CMC, Hemantha Weerakoon, said the ruling party members informed them that they have gone through the agreement and discussions with the company. He said the company has agreed to light up all areas of the city other than the main roads.
He said the company had also agreed to light up shanties in the city as well. However, Mr. Weerakoon said his party could not agree to this as it feels that it is the CMC who should do the lighting for the low income dwellers.“It is better to handover CMC to this company if almost all functions are delegated and performed by the private sector,” Mr. Weerakoon said. Ruling party member Roy Bogahawatte who responded on the matter said the agreement has been signed during the time the council was without elected members.
“We saw the issues pertaining to the agreement and gave all parties representing the council an opportunity to discuss on the agreement. The agreement was finally rectified. Accordingly, the company will help the low income dwellers in the city as well and light up their areas,” Mr. Bogahawatte said.