Infrastructure: People should be consulted in future projects, says Min Ranawaka

Patali-Champika-Ranawaka

Nov 02, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s future infrastructure development projects should be done in consultation with the people, a Minister said.

“We have identified some of the previous mistakes that were done with regard to infrastructure development during the previous regime,” Champika Ranawaka, Minister, Megapolis and Western Province development said.

“The first one was that the people were not consulted and so we decided all future projects will be done with the consent of the people.”

He says, 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.”

The Minister was speaking at a ceremony to handover flats that were build by the Urban Development Authority to railway employee in Colombo recently.

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.

He says the main objective of the Megapolis development project is to uplift the lives of everybody.

“This city has many issues including the plight of the poor who need to have better options for livelihood – they should not be having shops in the pavements, driving three wheelers or get caught up in under world 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, he said.

The plan envisages 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, which will conform to cultural, social and geographical norms.

Another issue that we are looking at and that needs to get sorted is the city’s traffic jams.

“A further burning issue is Colombo’s traffic congestion as this has now become a huge problem.”

“We need to urgently improve our public transport system if we’re to reduce traffic jams,”

Transport experts have warned that worsening traffic jams in Sri Lanka’s main metropolitan region could raises 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.

“Travel speeds in the city will decrease while fuel use will increase,”

“These conditions will constrain Colombo’s ability to grow fast with the risk that growth will shift to somewhere else in Sri Lanka or outside Sri Lanka.”