Yesterday’s Parliament sessions confined to several minutes had to be conducted under natural lights for the first time in the history since the power facility was switched off as a result of floods which caused mayhem in many areas in the Colombo city and suburbs.
Parliament Members including the Speaker and the Opposition Leader had to be taken to the complex in armoured cars as the vicinity of the Parliament complex was several feet under water.
The main entrance to the complex became impassable and no one could pass beyond the Speaker’s official residence. Several members including leader of the House and Minister Nimal Siripalsa de Silva, Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Jagath Pushpakumara, Dayasiri Jayasekera, A. H. M. Azwer and Vasudeva Nanayakkara were among those who were taken in armoured vehicles. Journalists were also taken in such vehicles and were allowed to get in through the grand entrance. They were taken to the chamber gallery in darkness. One official vehicle had tripped over having knocked against some object under water.
Parliament sources said some of the staff members who managed to report for work had acted swiftly to remove the documents and other items to safe areas. Therefore they had removed all computers and other documents to the top floors of the complex. They had also made it a point to switch off electricity to avoid further disaster.
The essential staff who were present to hold the sessions were asked to report to work. The others were allowed to get back to their homes. The lawn of the Parliament premises was covered with water while the two entrances used by the visitors and the reception area were also under water while flood waters had also reached the members library. Supplementary estimates amounting to Rs 15 billion and four other financial regulations including the regulation under the Goods and Services Act and Special Commodity Act were approved.
Minister Nimal Siripalasa de Silva presented the motions and were unanimously approved by the members. The sessions were postponed to November 16. Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne who spoke to journalists said this was a blessing in disguise as plans were afoot to extend the Parliamentary complex shortly.
source : www.dailymirror.lk