Feb 09, Colombo: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday said steps should be taken to expeditiously complete the development projects of the government as expected by the people.
Participating in the progress review meeting of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing in his capacity as the subject minister, Prime Minister Rajapaksa emphasized to the heads of the institutions of the Ministry that all must work hard fighting with time for a period of five years to fulfill the aspirations of the people.
The Prime Minister said that we have a team of government officials with the necessary strength and experience to do so, adding that he would personally intervene to address any issues that may arise in connection with development projects.
The Prime Minister drew attention to the progress of the institutions under the State Ministry of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Public Sanitation and their operational projects.
State Minister Dr. Nalaka Godahewa pointed out that there are seven institutions under his State Ministry and said that a planned program is being implemented to fulfill all the responsibilities contained in the Vision of Prosperity policy set.
Major General (Retd.) MRW de Zoysa, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation, said that there is a potential to develop about 400 acres of land north of the Kelani River.
He added that the cleaning of Beira Lake is ongoing and the main problem in bringing it to the required level is the garbage disposal process of the Colombo Municipal Council.
In addition to major development projects, the Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation is to rehabilitate small reservoirs in three districts and establish 21 parks with exercise paths and children’s parks in 21 districts in the same manner as in Colombo.
It was revealed that providing electricity and water to the places where unauthorized constructions and landfills are taking place on the recommendations of the local government bodies is a problem.
It was stated that the new rules and regulations applicable to arresting persons engaged in illegal constructions and landfills will be published soon.
Meanwhile, 22 coastal work sites have been established throughout the country to prevent coastal erosion. The Coast Conservation Department considering the tourism industry is taking steps to provide a soft solution to the Pottuvil and Arugam Bay coastal erosion. In addition, the Jaffna Manalkadu sand dunes will be protected as a protected area under the coast Conservation department.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed the relevant officials to take steps to prevent blockages in the roads leading people from the main roads to the beach. He also instructed the officials to remove the unauthorized constructions in the coastal area.
The Prime Minister drew attention to the fact that millions of rupees had been spent to maintain the staff of several places including Anuradhapura, even before the commencement of several active loan assistance development projects during the previous government.
Minister of State Nalaka Godahewa requested senior officials to pay attention to prevent such projects from being wasted as the country’s money is being spent on them.
It was noted that resettlement in the Northern and Eastern Provinces has increased rapidly. Accordingly, the officials pointed out that the settlements were improper. The Prime Minister said that steps should be taken to regularize them.
It was noted that 26 out of 35 Colombo Metro projects implemented under World Bank projects have been completed so far. The remaining 9 projects are expected to be completed before the end of this year. It was also decided to use the knowledge of local engineers for these projects in the future.
The Prime Minister also focused on the activation of the Metro Road System. By 2019, the average speed of Colombo buses has reached 10-15 km per hour and by 2025 that speed will be reduced to 4-5 km per hour, officials explained.
To avoid this situation, the introduction of metro trains starting from Ragama, Moratuwa, Makumbura and Kadawatha to cover the entry into Colombo could reduce the daily loss of Rs. 1000 million to Rs. 450 million due to traffic congestion, they said.
Accordingly, a decision will be taken in the future at the Ministry of Finance under the patronage of the Prime Minister regarding this project which can be implemented within 4 years.
Nalaka Godahewa, State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Public Sanitation, Sirinimal Perera, Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Dr. Sudath Yalegama, Additional Secretary, and Ministry officials were present at the meeting.