Aug 18, Colombo: Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) says that proper zoning and setting up investment areas in the future could prevent incidents similar to the clash in Weliweriya early this month.
UNP parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayaka said that while the recent water crisis in the Rathupaswala area has not been properly addressed, the relocation of the controversial factory would not solve the problem.
He observed that it is the inaction of the Government to address the water crisis in Rathupaswala that resulted in the protest ending with the death of three youths.
"What happens is they develop a company, then people come and live in its vicinity and the Government doesn't look after either the infrastructure or the basic requirements of the people," Karunanayaka said.
He proposed that zoning and having investments in certain areas is the best way to address the issue of encouraging investments while protecting natural resources.
"Zoning and having investments in certain areas is the best way. Free trade zones or trade zones are areas which should be concentrated on. The UNP did this very clearly from 1977 when they started investments and free trade zones. They took to economic zones and had a clear path. Infrastructure was brought to certain areas as the companies were brought in. This present Government ignores that and think of the downsides of having people living among big industrial companies and industrial estates only when something goes wrong," Karunanayaka said.
"Zoning, free trade zones and demarcating certain areas is the way forward, but need to be cautiously done. In the process, the Local Councils and the Provincial Councils must be told that people cannot be allowed to live in these areas. Otherwise it will create unwanted problems. Therefore, it is proper planning that is required," he added.