Colombo will be free of slums by 2023 - Patali

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) May Day rally was held in Colombo yesterday under the leadership of Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. Picture by Mohammed Imitiyaz, Colombo Central Special Corr.

Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday said there will be revolutionary changes in urban development in the next five years and Colombo will be free of slums by 2023.

He said the government is bringing all existing slums within the formal system and enabling them to avail the basic amenities that are available for the rest of the city. The Minister was speaking at the Jathika Hela Urumaya May Day rally at New Town hall in Colombo yesterday.

The Minister said that 70 per cent of the population in Colombo were living in slums and efforts of successive governments to find a viable solution had not yielded desired results.

Minister Ranawaka said the government plans to build five secondary cities within Colombo. “We will build a new city for the Colombo North people. We will also build 10,000 new houses at the Henamulla new town. The Urban Development Authority will provide 20,000 new houses to people by 2020. In addition, secondary cities will come up in Dematagoda, Kolonnawa, Maligawatte and Colombo East,” the minister said noting that this will ensure adequate proper housing for slum dwellers. "Under the Megapolis programme, the entire Western Province will be developed as a mega city ensuring equal opportunities for every citizen," Minister Ranawaka said.

"Modernizing the transport system, enhancing livelihood of underserved families and waste management will be given priority in the drive for establishing a Megapolis," the Minister said.

“We were able to give a permanent solution to the city’s garbage problem” he added.

Then Minister charged that during the previous regime, slums were demolished and those lands were given to confidantes by those responsible.

"The entire Western Province will be a Megapolis area by 2030, which ensures equal opportunities for all," the Minister said.

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