Kandy Government Agent H.M.G. Hitisekara said the Kandy city had not yet been declared a sacred city by an act of parliament and that only a gazette notification had been issued.
Addressing a meeting to make arrangements for the Kanda Esala Perahera, he pointed out that three gazette notifications had been issued in 1997, 2001 and 2002, but not confirmed by an act of parliament. He said he would take up the issue with the relevant authorities.
Sri Dalada Maligawa Actg. Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela Bandara said the Kandy Esala festival will commence on August 20, with the first Kumbal procession and conclude with final Randoli procession on August 29 while the water cutting ceremony in the Mahaweli River at Getambe the following morning.
The police and Kandy Municipal Council were taking steps to provide security and other facilities to thousands of people including foreigners who would visit the Kandy city during the festival, he said. The Municipal Council officials said pavilions for spectators would not be allowed in the pavements around the Kandy Lake in front of the Sri Dalada Maligawa.
The GA instructed the SLTB to provide adequate bus services to the large crowds visiting Kandy during the festival. He also instructed the health sector officials to provide medical facilities and the police to make special traffic arrangements and security to spectators who would flock to the Kandy city.
Sri Vishnu Devala Basnayaka Nilame Mohan Panabokke, DIG M. P. Peremune, SSP G.B. Ellepola and the Municipal Council officials attended the meeting, sources said. (L.B. Senaratne and J.A.L. Jayasinghe)