First 320 units completed; Cabinet gives approval for 1,000; Govt. pledges no more evictions; says closer ties if UPFA wins mayoral race
By Uditha Jayasinghe
The first set of 320 housing units have been approved by the cabinet for slum dwellers as part of a larger project to build 1000 flats.
The first set of 320 houses have been completed in Dematagoda and they will be given to people who were made homeless in Slave Island. Acting Cabinet Spokesman Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana admitted that this was only a fraction of the 30,000 estimated houses that are needed to clear slum areas or “wattes” in the capital city.
Estimates have shown that there are around 1600 slum areas in Colombo and for these to be cleared the government has to provide low cost housing for thousands of families. In a recent instance the government forcibly cleared slum dwellers in Slave Island and after much public outcry provided them with temporary homes.
“In future we have decided that the government would only remove people once permanent homes have been built for them,” he insisted adding that the first 1000 houses will be followed by many other projected located within the city limits. “There are no plans to resettle people outside Colombo.”
Under phase II of the programme 500 units will be built in Dematagoda. They will be in two, 10 storied buildings and piling work in block one has been completed and 60% of work has been completed in the other tower.
The proposal was presented to the Cabinet by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the contract of Rs.952 million has already been awarded.
The Deputy Minister also hinted that it would be in the best interest of the city to let the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) win at the upcoming Mayoral elections.
“If the Government feels that the CMC is part of it then there will be greater interest in developing it.
There is already a plan to make Colombo Asia’s most beautiful city by 2016 but a closer relationship will develop between the city and the government if the ruling party gains it in the election.”