I speak to you as the United National Party's unanimous choice for the Mayor of Colombo. I am a resident of Colombo with humble beginnings. I believe that this city could be better in every sense of the word; with your support as the next Mayor of Colombo I will make the city a safer, cleaner and more liveable than it is today. I will transform Colombo from being the best city in the country to being the best in the region. I shall do this with your help.
I have had wide ranging managerial and administrative experience, which has better prepared me to contest as the most suitable Mayoral candidate at this election. I had the distinct honour of serving as the Chairman of the National Apprenticeship Board, then as Founder Chairman, National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority, Chairman, National Youth Services Council, Advisor to the late President R. Premadasa, and Director, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. I was particularly fortunate to have worked with the late Gamini Dissanayake in obtaining Test cricket status for our country. I hope I have been helpful to the nation, and fulfilled the pledges I gave to one and all. In all these positions I have served with diligence and honesty with the interest of people in mind.
I will transform Colombo into a city that is truly liveable in every sense of the word; this will be a city that everyone will be proud to call their home. I pledge to make a distinct difference to the most disadvantaged of our people and substantially improve their housing and livelihood. In the new city of Colombo there will be no winners and losers and no one will be left behind. Everyone will be a winner.
I want to invite you to join hands with me in reaching this goal. A future where we all live in safety with rights, dignity, and opportunity. I ask you to exercise your democratic right in electing the best man for the job so that you can help in shaping a better tomorrow.
Housing & Infrastructure
- Housing. More than 50% of houses in the city are of poor built quality. Hence we recognize the need for 65000 new housing units. We will strive to provide better quality home units to all under-privileged persons within the city limits without relocation. This will be carried out under a revived 'shelter for all by 2020' visionary programme promulgated by the late President, Ranasinghe Premadasa.
- Infrastructure. The poor sanitation, drains and roads surrounding the houses in the undeveloped areas are the main breeding grounds for mosquitoes and deadly diseases such as dengue. We will build toilets for the 11000 houses in the city without private sanitation and other basic amenities. We will build drains for rain water and work towards ensuring that the canals are dredged to receive the rain water.
- Water. We believe that water is primarily a basic right and not an economic commodity. We will ensure that all citizens will have access to pipe borne water.
- Sewerage system. The 100 year old sewerage system within the municipal limits is collapsing and will be rehabilitated systematically with investments over the next decade. This will also be extended to cover other parts of the city.
- Garbage. We will increase the frequency of garbage collection. In particular unutilized time periods especially in the night will be used for this purpose. The Colombo Municipal Council will also use a fleet of smaller vehicles to extend the service of garbage collection to every nook and corner of the city.
- Medical Services. The Colombo Municipal council medical service will be revitalized and an Emergency response unit incorporated with special privileges including an ambulance service for the aged and the financially underprivileged.
- Metropolitan Transport System. We will inaugurate a clean, comfortable, regular, frequent and affordable Metropolitan bus transport system. This will be implemented as a 'Park n Ride' service. We will collaborate with adjacent municipalities to facilitate easy movement within the city, reduce other burdens such as need for private parking, traffic congestion and pollution. Mutually beneficial private sector collaboration will be solicited for this CMC owned service.
- Cycle Lanes. We will introduce cycle lanes and promote safe, healthy and cost efficient transport.
- Beautification of the city. We will work with the Urban Development Authority and other government institutions in beautifying the city. We will not permit the conversion of public parks to other uses. Outdoor eating areas will be designated and regulated. Works of art will be promoted particularly in the undeveloped parts of the city. In partnership with civil society and the private sector museums depicting the life of the city will be promoted.
- Economy. While the city of Colombo is the business capital of Sri Lanka, we recognize that some of the financially weakest segments of our population also live in the city. Many of them are either unemployed or self-employed. We will provide vocational training opportunities for both of these groups to ensure employment first and continuous development opportunities through skills up gradation next.
- Street Vendors. Many of the poor who live by selling their goods on the streets have been forcibly removed from their markets. We will have designated areas for vendors and will regulate street vending.
- Three Wheelers. The 3 wheeler taxi is the only private mode of transport for the poor, and a source of income for many families in the city. The introduction of the Nano taxi is systematically displacing the 3 wheel taxi. While defending the right of every person to live and earn honourably we will regulate the provision of high quality services. We will protect every three wheeler taxi stand. And all 3 wheel vehicles operating a taxi service within the city will be provided annually a free vehicle Eco test. Our aim is to strengthen the economy at grass roots level while protecting the environment. We will encourage the formation of radio monitored 3 wheel taxi co-operatives.
Education & Social Services
- Education. Every community hall belonging to the Colombo Municipal Council will also be used as an education centre. A library and a study centre will be created so that students who do not have a conducive environment for study at home will be able to make use of the study centre.
- Social and cultural values. A significant proportion of our youth have fallen prey to the drug menace. While pursuing the eradication of the drug menace we will provide religious and civil society organizations the wear withal to rehabilitate drug addicts and promote religious and cultural values.
- Senior Citizens. We will ensure that every Colombo Municipal Council community centre will have a functioning senior citizens club for fellowship. Senior citizens will also be provided subsidized transport on the metropolitan transport system. All public buildings will be made disability compatible.
- Employability of the youth. We are committed to making every young person employable. A scheme will be launched in Collaboration with the private sector to employ youth, where the CMC will provide scholarships for vocational training.
- Sports. We will not allow the conversion of sports complexes owned by the Colombo Municipal council to other uses. Sports Training Centres for sports such as Football, Cricket, Athletics, Basketball and Netball will be established at all Colombo Municipal council owned sports facilities.
- Accessibility of the Mayor. The Mayor is accessible to every citizen. A Public day will be set aside for considerations of any petition. Information and emergency services will be available 24 hours, 7 days of the week.
- Advisory Committees. Advisory committees on Finance, Housing and Infrastructure, Medical services, Education Training and Human resources, Information services, Transport, Social and Cultural integration, Youth and Senior Citizens will be established to advise the Mayor in drawing up comprehensive plans and provide assistance to Colombo Municipal Council management in implementation. We recognize the need to draw on the expertise of city citizens and also make the citizen a participant in the development process rather than a passive partner Observer.
- Information Centre. We will thus bring our municipal government to the people by ensuring that all relevant information is easily accessible through all 3 national languages. A Sinhala Tamil English language information web portal and a call centre will be set up within the first 3 months. Provision of information will be expanded to the delivery of services electronically. A mobile service will be provided each month across the city.
- Accountability and Transparency. All affairs of the Colombo Municipal council would be made transparent. Financial Information and tender procedures would be available to the public through the web portal. The Colombo Municipal council sessions will be open to the Public
- Municipal Ombudsman. Office of a Municipal Ombudsman will be created to entertain allegations of corruption, grievances and service shortcomings.
- Accessibility for the differently abled. All public buildings will be made accessible to the differently abled.
- Equal Opportunity. The municipal council will encourage equal opportunity. In particular women will be encouraged to participate in all municipality activities.