Sri Lanka to appoint town planners to all local bodies

Nov 20, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has decided to appoint professional town planners to all local government bodies in a move that will speed up approvals and reduce corruption, officials said. The number of town planners in these bodies today is woefully inadequate, resulting in delays in getting approvals for building permits and payment of bribes by the public trying to cut red tape, they said.

The government has decided to appoint a town planner to every municipal and urban council from February 2008, said Willie Mendis, a senior town planner.

“There’ll be town planning offices in every municipal and urban council,” he told a news conference, held to highlight the work of town planners.

“Town planners play a very critical role. They complement the services of local councils in controlling public health and utilities and approving infrastructure.”

Mendis said many buildings in Colombo were unauthorised owing to the acute shortage of town planners and delays in giving approvals.

“There are only two town planners in the Colombo municipal council. But it gets 60 building applications a day. So it’s not surprising that problems crop up,” Mendis said. “This is the reaso