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Red tape affecting country’s forward march - Minister

Megalopolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday urged Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to give leadership to end red tape in public administration.

Ranawaka speaking at a ceremony in Thalapathpitiya yesterday to begin the construction of a 30-storeyed middle class housing complex consisting of 400 housing units, brought the attention of the PM that they have to face inordinate delays when carrying out development work owing to the administrative red tape in the public sector.

“We have to go through a number of institutions to get the greenlight for a development project. There are 123 public institutions in this country that deal with land affairs. In order to have the land for a development purpose, we have to go through many of those institutions and this is really annoying. For example, a simple mistake of a single digit of a file number once delayed our work for 18 long months as we had to go through all those institutions again after rectifying the error. I urge the President and Prime Minister to come up with some convenient method for us to cut administrative red tape,” he stated.

“Making the public sector independent is not enough. We must make it efficient. In Korea, there is a single-window approach for development work and that is very convenient. The functions of our public institutions must be separated in a proper and scientific method,” he added.

Ranawaka pointed out that Maharagama, Kaduwela and Kotte must be declared as one municipal unit for the smooth functioning of the emerging fully-fledged city housing a large number of key administrative buildings and middle class population.

Commenting on middle class of the country, Ranawaka said, “The middle class are the pioneers of development, innovation and political change. They will be the future political activists. In national elections, their votes decide which side would win”.

The Prime Minister, agreeing to the minister’s views on the middle class, further added that a strong middle class is necessary for the development of the country. “The middle class is growing. Today the middle class means not only the professionals and businessmen, but also highly skilled labourers and technicians. The Government has allocated more money to provide for their housing needs,” he said.

The PM turned the first sod for the new fully-fledged middle class housing complex in Sri Jayewardenapura Hospital Road in Thalapathpitiya. The estimated cost for the project is Rs 7 billion. A Chinese company is undertaking the construction work. It is the fifth housing complex constructed under the ‘Viyathapura’ project initiated by the Urban Development Authority.