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MPs stuck in P’ment lift


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  • MPs in incident agitated, Wimal sees conspiracy 
  • Speaker to look into maintenance and lift upgrades

     

The group of Opposition lawmakers, including UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa, who got stuck in lift number 6 reserved for MPs yesterday, blamed the Government for skipping maintenance and deliberately putting their lives in danger as a part of a conspiracy. The particular lift, which is among the 10 lifts fixed in the Parliament complex in 1981, was used exclusively for lawmakers to reach upper floors. Lift number six has the capacity only to accommodate 13 persons, with a maximum weight of 900kg. However, with 12 lawmakers in the particular lift, it became stuck for over 20 minutes, shutting off the emergency communication with the lift operators until rescued. United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP Dinesh Gunawardena, shaken by the mishap, said: “I came to Parliament in 1983, but never had to face such a situation where we were stuck in the lift for 23 minutes. Deputy Minister Ranjith Aluvihare, Chairman of the House Committee who is responsible for such matters, was also in the lift with us. 

But even he could not take any action. We pass hundreds of thousands of rupees for Parliament, and at least if these lifts in the Parliament complex cannot be maintained properly, and the lives of these MPs are at risk, then I urge the Speaker to look into this issue.”

“Would a new elevator be fixed and would it be maintained properly? If not, you should post a notice for those who do not want to risk their lives to use the stairs. We are public representatives and without putting our lives at risk, you should address this issue,” he told Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

Explaining the experience inside the lift full of lawmakers, United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP Wimal Weerawansa, raising a point of order, said: “There is no point in apologising, those stuck in the lift almost suffocated. This might be a joke to many, but it is no joke, people’s life is at risk. Even you, who might be the next Presidential Candidate, so someone might even try to have you stuck in the lift.”

In response, Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella said this issue was no joke but a serious matter. “These issues should be investigated properly, as when something goes wrong in Parliament there is no one to take responsibility. Those responsible passes the ball. If the emergency call was answered as soon as the lift got stuck, the issue would have been resolved.”

Kiriella also raised the issue of insurance for the MPs in the event they face a mishap. “This insurance of Rs. 200,000 is insufficient. I think we need to get a new lift. During Ravi Karunanayake’s tenure, he proposed we get a new lift. I ask the Speaker to look into this issue and punish those responsible.”

In response, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya assured that he would look into the matter. (AH)


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