Nov 05, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today said that the government plans to give freehold lands and houses to the people who have been enjoying it and will construct 500,000 new houses in rural, semi urban and urban areas.
Making a special statement at the Parliament today Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the government will empower 3 million citizens to become land and house owners.
As per the land development ordinance of 1835, people were given land under a permit system. Then came the system of being given land under projects such as the Swarnabhoomi scheme.Further, state funded housing schemes have been given over to the people from time to time.
However, the people have not been given ownership of such land, PM said.
“Accordingly, we will allow those who have lived on land given on such permits for over a decade, to possess ownership of such land,” Wickremesinghe said.
“For those who have been living on state owned rented houses for over ten years, we will provide them with the ownership of such houses,”
“We will also provide a small land and a house for the estate workers who have been living in line rooms for over ten years,”
He added that the government will present the relevant framework for this purpose to this august chamber.
PM said that the government will also give priority for the construction of housing schemes for the middle class in urban and semi-urban areas.
“We will set the background for the construction of 500,000 new houses that will completely solve the housing needs in rural, semi-urban and urban areas within the next five years,”
“The previous Government had neglected the most vital aspects of social development. The hard working government employees, factory workers, office workers and estate workers have not seen any growth in adequate housing being provided for them,”
“Except for a few housing projects put up for low-income categories that have been evicted from the slums of Colombo, there have been no housing schemes built for the middle class. There were only semi-luxury housing schemes and houses put up during the time.
“We will get rid of these shortcomings.”
He added that for those who will come forward to fund these ventures, will be provided state land and tax concessions.
“We will also introduce a low interest based loan scheme to enable the middle class and the government workers who can purchase these housing schemes.”
“These housing projects will not be built in isolation but will be based on a sustained plan that will see neighbourhoods created with hospitals, schools and shopping complexes, among other common amenities.”
The measures for these projects will be given in the upcoming budget 2016, Wickremesinghe said.