Removals unlimited at the crisis ridden Municipal Council

Sep 22 (IL) Acting Mayor Azath Sally has handed over a letter to Chief Minister Reginald Cooray seeking the immediate removal of Municipal Commissioner Jayantha Liyanage, on grounds that he has been a hindrance to the activities of the Council for the past two-and-a-half years.

The Acting Mayor's decision, seeking Dr. Liyanage's removal, follows the Commissioner's alleged move to stop Sally's decision to remove unauthorized constructions in the City last week.

The Commissioner also hit out at the acting Mayor, saying that his post as Deputy Mayor, officially conferred as a ceremonial post, does not entitle him to authorize a letter, which is why Mr. Sally is taking the initiative as the Mayor.

Commissioner Liyanage said that Mr. Sally had not even provided sufficient notice to the unauthorized dwellers. However, Mayor Sally argued that sufficient notice about the removal was given via the electronic and print media.

Commissioner Liyanage noted that even though he agrees with the Acting Mayor's plan that such constructions have to be removed from the City, he adds that this is not the way it should be carried out. "We have to give the unauthorized dwellers at least seven-days notice and arrange alternative accommodation for them too," he said.

The Acting Commissioner said that, "anyway we don't have to give them notice individually, because they are all unauthorized constructions. The road and pavements are State land, if we give them notice then it would be legal."

He further noted that even though Commissioner Liyanage had initially released the workers and vehicles for the Mayor to carry out the removal of the structures, the Commissioner had suddenly retracted his decision for unknown reasons and gone on air, claiming that he was not informed of the unauthorized removals.

However, sources alleged that political pressure was behind his sudden change of decision.

The Commissioner also said that he would not permit Sally to tear down any more constructions, unless he carries it out in the proper manner. However, Mr. Sally, in response, said that he would not continue with the removal of unauthorized constructions, today. "Before removing unauthorized constructions, I must remove unauthorized appointees from the Council," he added, alleging that the Commissioner's appointment was a political one