Municipal and District Councils are called upon to provide various services as laid down in the Local Government Act, thereby ensuring the health and well being of the people in a given area or else the public at large.
One of the statutory duties/responsibilities of Municipal and District Councils is the collection and removal to approved disposal sites of household, residential, commercial and agricultural wastes.
There is a set of programme/time table in respect of the collection and removal of household refuse in the different areas/regions falling under the jurisdiction of each of the Local Authorities.Refuse collection is in practice carried out on a weekly basis but in certain Local Authorities a twice weekly service is being offered and the Health Inspectors ascertain that the services offered are to the satisfaction of each and everyone.Any complaint received regarding refuse collection is dealt with promptly by Local Authorities.
Moreover, special scavenging services are provided to members of the public upon request, on occasions such as religious activities, weddings etc.Municipal and District Councils also arrange for the prompt collection of cyclonic wastes after the passage of cyclones.
Local Authorities are empowered to control development within the administrative areas under their jurisdiction and to initiate legal action, as appropriate, against any illegal development.
In accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2011, the Local Authorities are responsible for the determination of applications for Building and Land Use Permits and Outline Planning Permissions. Subject to sections 117(9) and (10) of the Local Government Act 2011, such applications should be determined within a delay of fourteen (14) working days as from the effective date of the applications. The effective date is the date on which all the information, particulars and documents specified in the application form are submitted.
The control, care, management and maintenance of drains is another major responsibility of Local Authorities that equally attend to the construction of drains along non classified roads (i.e roads not falling under the responsibility of the Road Development Authority) Requests for construction of new drains or to have obstructed drains cleaned and cleared in flood prone areas is a regular feature in Local Government.
The maintenance of unclassified roads through cleansing, tarring and patching forms part of the main statutory duties performed by Local Authorities. Councils also attend to the construction of new roads. Requests are often received by Local Authorities for the conversion of roads from private to public, the naming of roads or the fixing of nameplates. All procedures to that effect are followed to ascertain that there is no objection by placing notices in order to allow the public to object if they so wish, in cases where roads are being declared public. Municipal and District Councils also consider applications from members of the public for the partial or total closure of roads for private purposes e.g Wedding, Religious Ceremonies etc. These applications are subject to the payment of appropriate fees and clearance from the Police Authority.
Municipal and District Councils are responsible for the provision and maintenance of street lighting.They are also responsible for the maintenance of lighting of all motorways and main roads subject to the Road Act.Local Authorities also consider improvement to be brought to street lighting.
Additional lighting points are often provided and needful done with the Central Electricity Board for the fixing of new street lighting poles and conductors. Request for the fixing of new lanterns from the inhabitants is a regular feature in Local Authorities.
Street Lighting Supervisors have the duty to carry out random checks and ascertain that street lamps/lanterns are in good order. Nevertheless, it happens that the public notifies the Councils about the existence of defective lanterns. Due attention is paid by the latter for the repair or replacement of the said defective lanterns.
As per the Local Government Act, Municipal and District Councils attend to the abatement of nuisances that may exist in respect of any road, bridge, building, construction, repair or cleansing of any gutter or drain, the alteration, improvement or repair of any building in the interest of public health.
Local Authorities also have recourse to the Environment Protection Act to protect the natural environment and ensure the proper implementation of government policies and relevant enforcement provision necessary for the protection of human health and the environment. Members of the public who are facing nuisances may contact the relevant Local Authority for guidance or else appropriate action.
Municipal and District Councils are required as per the Local Government Act to undertake the control, care, management and maintenance, improvement and cleansing of all pavements, open spaces, parks and gardens, green spaces, drains, bridges, beds and banks of rivulets and streams.
These works appear as a regular feature in the programme of works of Local Authorities.It is to be noted that Municipal and District Councils have created several green spaces in order to create a better environment and embellish the region where they are found. These green spaces are also used as a place of relaxation and leisure.
Much emphasis is laid by Municipal and District Councils and the provision of welfare, sports and leisure activities. With these activities Local Authorities aim at improving the way of living of the inhabitants and public, and build community relationship that fosters good relationship, better understanding, sharing of ideas and cultures, and reducing social problems/evils.
In order to encourage youngsters to spend their time in a fruitful manner rather than embarking in shady activities, Municipal and District Councils, for example, frequently organize football, volleyball, petanque, indoor games tournaments. Sports Federations as well as local clubs are encouraged to be active in the field of sports. To this end, sports infrastructure such as football grounds, bowling alleys, gymnasium etc owned by a Council are put at the disposal of registered centres/associations for training.
Municipal and District Councils organise, on a regular basis, activities that aim at the promotion of education, arts and culture. These activities also aim at preserving and/or promoting ancestral values, customs and traditions in the fields of music, education, arts, language and food habits.
To this end, activities such as Fête de la Musique, cultural programmes for the Divali festival, Christmas, Eid and lunch for Senior Citizens, among other activities are organised. These cultural activities are a source of leisure to the inhabitants and the public at large and also enable the emergence of new talent and artists.
Almost all the Municipal and District Councils operate libraries. With the increasing emphasis on reading as a leisure activity and knowledge acquisition, the improvement in the existing library services has been given much attention by all the Councils. Thus, the Municipal and District Councils' libraries provide books and periodicals on loan and reading materials are also available for on spot reading as well as books/dictionaries/encyclopaedias etc for reference.
Most of the Councils operate a Cyber Centre. The main object of the said centre is to empower the less privileged children with IT skills. With globalization, IT is considered to be an important tool for research work for students and knowledge acquisition.
Most of the Local Authorities run pre-primary schools. There is a positive discrimination with regards to recruitment in those schools as infants coming from less privileged stratum is favoured. Thus, specific procedures are followed for recruitment.
Several courses are provided by Municipal and District Councils although the courses being provided by them may not be identical. Courses may for example range from Yoga, karate, aerobic, sewing etc. Here also, it is to be noted that amenities are made available by the Council for the running of those courses.
Apart from the construction of buildings to house reception halls gymnasiums, libraries, sports infrastructure etc. Municipal and District Councils also make provision for pavements and handrails to ascertain on the security of inhabitants of a locality and the public at large.
Almost all the Municipal and District Councils operate markets and fairs within their jurisdiction. To this end, Health Inspectors have to enforce the market and fair regulations. They have thus to ascertain among other issues, that prohibited goods are not put on sale and goods including chilled items are properly handled and stored and there is compliance with the provisions of the Metrology Act 1995 to protect consumers. Markets are held everyday whereas fairs are held by Municipal and District Council on specific days decided by each of them.
Almost all the Local Authorities have cemeteries and crematoriums under their responsibility. Burials as well as placing of dead bodies in vaults and cremations are taken care by Local Authorities after all the formalities have been completed.