May 19, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government will take measures to demolish an estimated 10,000 illegally built homes and offices in Colombo, a day after a seven-storey wedding hall in the city collapsed, killing one and wounding 23, AFP reported.
Urban Development Minister Champika Ranawaka said the casualties could have been much higher if the hall had been hosting a wedding at the time of its collapse, and that the owners would face criminal charges.
"This wedding hall is a clear example of the dangers posed by unauthorized construction in Colombo," the minister told reporters in Colombo.
According to the Minister, a structural failure has led to the collapse.
He said the government estimates that are at least 10,000 illegally built homes, apartments and offices in the city of Colombo. "We will take immediate steps to remove them," he added.
The capital has a population of over 750,000 people, while another half a million travel to it daily for work.
Construction accidents are rare in Sri Lanka, but concerns have been raised about building standards during a construction boom in the aftermath of the island's 37-year-long civil war that ended in 2009, according to the AFP report.