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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2707

25800 Elevators In Sri Lanka To Be Regulated

Colombo, 08 February, (

A mechanism to regulate all the elevators, which are being operated in the country are to be introduced and it is learnt that a cabinet paper would be presented next week in this regard.

It is learnt that there were 25,800 elevators being used in Sri Lanka but none of them had been registered.
Yesterday in the Parliament complex of Sri Lanka, twelve MPs, were trapped in the parliament elevator for more than 15 minutes.

Earlier yesterday, raising a point of order in Parliament, Joint Opposition MP Wimal Weerawansa said that 12 MPs including Dinesh Gunawardena and himself were stuck in a Parliament elevator for over 15 minutes before measures were taken to get them out.

He added that “Having made several emergency calls following instructions placed in the lift, it took over 15 minutes for those in charge to respond. There is no point in the authorities apologizing when those stuck in the lift almost suffocated.”

Expressing his views regarding the mishap in Parliament yesterday, MP Dinesh Gunawardena said they had not been able to get in touch with those responsible by using a phone within the lift. "I entered parliament in 1983, but had never faced such a situation until today. Deputy Minister Ranjith Aluvihare, Chairman of the House Committee was also in the lift. But, even he could not do anything.

MP Gunawardena alleged that the lives of MPs were at risk for want of proper maintenance of lifts in Parliament. He urged the Speaker to look into the matter.

MP Gunawardena asked the Speaker whether a new elevator would be installed and maintained properly? He said they were people’s representatives and their lives shouldn’t be risked.

Adding to the issue, Wimal Weerawansa noted that almost all Colombo MPs were stuck in the list except Gammanpila. “This might be a joke to many, but it is no joke, people’s lives are at risk. Even you, who might be the next Presidential candidate, so someone might even try to have you stuck in the lift.”

Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella said it was serious matter. "These issues should be investigated properly as when something goes wrong in parliament there is no one to take responsibility. If the emergency call was answered as soon as the lift got stuck, the issue could have been resolved fast."

Kiriella also raised the issue of insurance cover for the MPs. "Insurance of Rs. 200,000 for MPs is insufficient. I think we need to get a new lift. During Ravi Karunanayake’s tenure, he proposed to install a new lift. I ask the Speaker to look into this issue and punish those responsible."

MP Bandula Gunawardena, who was one of those stuck in the lift, said in his 30-year parliamentary career, it was the first time he had had such an experience.

MP Chaminda Wijesiri said that this lift had got stuck during the commotions in parliament in November last year and that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had been stuck there. "This is a conspiracy and Speaker you should look onto this matter."

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that all machines were bound to break down and there was no machine in the world that would last forever. "Even the rockets we sent to space break down. If the Opposition MPs are so afraid of their lives to use the lifts then they could use the staircase adjoining the lifts," he said.

In the meantime, Minister Ravi Karunanayake expressing his views said an individual was killed due to an incident involving an elevator at Nawam Mawatha a few weeks ago and added that the President and the Prime Minister made recommendations after the incident that a mechanism should be initiated so that there is someone to take responsibility on incidents involving elevators.

“There are 25,800 lifts in the country which are not registered. Hence, we intend to bring a proposal to Parliament where it would be made mandatory to maintain these lifts annually and display the certification near the lift. Let’s start this process from Parliament,” he said.

- Asian Tribune -

25800 Elevators In Sri Lanka To Be Regulated
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