State Minister for Urban Development and Housing, Mr. Arundika Fernando, announced the commencement of five housing projects in the Colombo city aimed at benefiting the low and middle-class population.
He further highlighted that President Ranil Wickremesinghe has recently secured an agreement with the Chinese Government. Fernando also emphasized that housing projects initiated by the Housing Development Authority, currently on hold, will be reinitiated as part of the new budget for the year 2024.
These developments were disclosed by State Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Mr. Arundika Fernando, during a news conference held at the Presidential Media Centre today (26), under the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country.’
Expressing his views further he said;
“Our nation is a stunning island that boasts diverse topography, various climate zones and an abundance of natural resources. Notably, our country is rich in valuable mineral resources and is among the regions with the lowest occurrence of natural disasters globally.
Land stands as our most precious resource and its value escalates with the growing population. Even in suburban areas, land values continue to rise. The Urban Development Authority manages a substantial amount of land, but the available information about these lands is currently insufficient. Consequently, the ministry is actively working to enhance data on land ownership.
Moreover, the Urban Development Authority has acquired lands for various government projects, encompassing activities like urban planning and city expansion. We also possess land suitable for both domestic and foreign investments, providing opportunities for interested parties to utilize government-owned land. Once the Urban Development Authority’s data is fully digitized, anyone can access information about the lands owned by the authority.
A strong emphasis has been placed on utilizing our land resources for economic gain, exemplified by valuable plots like those on McCallum Road. These principles apply not only to Colombo but to all cities, including Kandy, Bogambara Prison and Nuwara Eliya.
Additionally, there are plans to create new investment opportunities cantered around the Bogambara prison land.
Thanks to the effective financial management under President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s leadership, there’s potential to revive halted projects initiated by the Housing Development Authority. We anticipate resuming these activities with the new budget for 2024.
Furthermore, instances of fraud and corruption have marred certain projects. The ministry is actively taking measures to rectify these errors.
In addition, there are plans to initiate five housing projects in Colombo, targeting individuals with low and moderate incomes. This substantial undertaking is estimated to cost 350 million dollars, with a significant commitment from the Chinese Government, secured through President Ranil Wickremesinghe. To date, 200 million US dollars have already been received for this ambitious project, which aims to construct 2,500 houses.
Simultaneously, the Lowland Development Authority is playing a significant role in flood control efforts within Colombo. Initiatives are also underway to safeguard mangroves and wetlands.
Unfortunately, some individuals who had their lands requisitioned for flood control purposes have faced challenges, including inadequate compensation. Our aim is to rectify this situation and acquire these lands in a more systematic manner within Colombo city.
As a ministry, we stand prepared to make the utmost contribution to President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s mission for the country’s development.”
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