People’s consent needed for infrastructure development says Megapolis Minister
Sri Lanka’s future infrastructure development projects should be done in consultation with the people, without resorting to any adhoc and haphazard measures, Minister of Megapolis and Western Regional Development Patali Champika Ranawaka said.
“We have identified some of the previous mistakes that were done with regard to infrastructure development during the past regimes. Therefore, the entire proposed megapolis is being designed in a more environmentally sustainable manner to avoid past mistakes, Minister Ranawaka said at the LBR LBO Infrastructure Summit 2015, held at the Cinnamon Grand on Tuesday. The theme of the event was “Making Colombo a Globally Competitive City”.
“The first mistake which occurred was that the people were not consulted and so we decided all future projects will be done with the consent of the people, he said.
“We have ports and airports without ships and aircraft while there are shopping complexes that are not sustainable.This kind of investment is of no use. If the people were consulted during these projects they could have benefited from this, he said.
“In Sri Lanka’s urban areas, an unacceptable number of people continue to live in slums, earn insufficient incomes and live in vulnerable and unhealthy environments.
“Further, the proposed megapolis has its focus on environmental sustainability and 30 of the low lying land areas will be allocated to a natural basin to prevent floods and for green areas, he said. “The main objective of the megapolis is to uplift the lives of everybody, the minister explained.
“This city has many issues, including the plight of the poor who need to have better options for livelihoods – they should not be having kiosks on the pavements, drive three wheelers or get caught in underworld jobs, he said.
“These children need a better future, this will be a priority.”
Current economic models are not providing a sufficient basis for inclusive and sustainable development, according to Ranawaka.
“Sri Lanka’s slum dwellers face acute poverty, illiteracy and lack of adequate housing, educational and employment opportunities. With poverty, most children are deprived of education and, early in life, turn to small jobs to support their families.
“Under the megapolis program, the entire Western Province will be developed as a mega city by 2030, ensuring equal opportunities for every citizen, which would also position Colombo as an intelligent city, he said.
The plan envisages the transformation of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo into a main business center with urbanization and housing for an estimated two million people, as opposed to the approximately one million now. “Under the plan Colombo will conform to cultural, social and geographical norms.”
“Another issue that we are looking at and that needs to get sorted out is the city’s traffic jams.
“We need to urgently improve our public transport system if we’re to reduce traffic jams, he said.
“Transport experts have warned that worsening traffic jams in Sri Lanka’s main metropolitan region could raise costs for businesses and slow down economic growth if urgent remedial action is not taken.
“Data shows that in another 20 years, Colombo will have to cope with three times the volume of traffic as personal incomes rise and private vehicles become more affordable and bus transport decreases, the minister said.
Director General of the Urban Development Authority Nayana Mawilmada said Colombo has 65,000 slum and shanty houses occupying 900 acres of real estate.
“There is no land shortage in Colombo, there is land under-utilization. That’s a core problem,” he said at the forum.
The approach is to offer a mix of solutions from 4 storey apartments to high rises, he said.
“The process will take people living in a 100 to 200 square foot wooden shack into a 400 to 500 square foot apartment that is valued at 4 million rupees at construction cost alone, Mawilmada said.
(Source: The Island – By Hiran H.Senewiratne)
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It is obvious that 65,000 slum dwellers need to be consulted compensated and relocated to free the 900 acres to house the megapolis. Considering that these slummers occupy prime land each acre by currend standards would be about 5 million an acre and this would cost fifty eight million 500 thousnd. Then they have to be relocated until the process is completed.= 58,500,00.
We have a harbor I remember a time driving down the Galle Road on approaching the Galle Face green I d see ships lined up across the horizon wanting to be docked and I often wondered as to what was imported or exported then and most likely with the population almost doubling since then the demand for imports concurrently the exports with a corresponding increase in exports!
One thing Champika failed to identify -sewage disposal. As is it is a large part of greater colombo relies on open cess pits or bit modern septic tanks. Any modern sewage disposal system would raise the demand for water. This is a problem not limited to colombo but most urban centers and these two should be considered priorities.
He nor his leader has drawn up viable program to create employment and raise the standards of living. As it is we are faced with mounting trade deficit and this effects the exchange rates and consumer has to pay more for imported food and the dollars earned through exports decline.
Since resources are limited the only way out is austerity ….GREECE….people will have eat less.
The ministry of transport should study as to how counries deal with traffic problems. To streamline mass transit motorists should be encouraged to carry extra passengers single car users ought to be penalised. Colombo City must be made a no parking zone.