All except Police, Land powers will be given to PCs – Minister | Sunday Observer

All except Police, Land powers will be given to PCs – Minister

2 September, 2023

Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said yesterday that the Government’s stance on the 13th Amendment is that all powers excerpts for Police and land powers should be granted to Provincial Councils.

The Minister emphasises that he acted as a Provincial Chief Minister because of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and it is already operational in the country.

The Minister said this attending the distribution of deeds and housing loans to the home owners in Ampara district under the housing programme “A house for you – a future for the country” implemented by the National Housing Development Authority held at the Ampara District Secretariat yesterday.

There has been a dialogue in the country today about the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. “All Political Parties in the country say to divide the power. I am a former Chief Minister. I have always been of the position that administrative powers should be given to the Provincial Council. It is not possible to solve the educational problems of the Northern and Eastern Provinces as a Education Minister confined to Colombo. I remember that at that time talented teachers from the Northern and Eastern Provinces worked in schools of the Western Province. But teachers in the Western Province had no better environment to work in schools in Northern and Eastern Province due to the war. As a result of this, children in these provinces were deprived of educational facilities.

“I worked as a Provincial Chief Minister due to the 13th amendment. But because of the war, there was resentment between people.Therefore, opposition was created against giving land and police powers to Provincial Councils. However, as a government, we were in a position that land and Police powers should be left aside and other administrative powers should be given. But some Party leaders in the North are asking for land and police powers. They say that other administrative powers are unnecessary without those two powers. Because of this, whichever way it goes, the government is in trouble.

“The decisions taken by the government are not popular. Some will not be happy with the decisions we make. So we have to look for alternatives. But the government led by the President is in the position that apart from land and police powers, all other powers should be given to the Provincial Councils. That is why there has been a dialogue in the country regarding the 13th constitutional amendment. It is still active. Therefore, if everyone says that they don’t want the 13th Amendment, the entire Amendment should be removed from the Constitution itself.

There should be justice for the Sinhalese people of the Northern Province.The Tamil people in Wellawatte, Dehiwala and Southern Provinces are working friendly with the Sinhalese people. The Muslim people of Colombo are also doing well. If Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are rallying together, we can go on a good journey as a country. We must make decisions by thinking about the country.No religious leader agrees about the Easter attack. It is the work of extremists. Now when the government is working strongly, some people are trying to create crises between Buddhist and Hindu religions. So we need to be very thoughtful about this,” he added.