Gota promises clean, green city


IEPSL president reminds importance of development going hand-in-hand with environment

The Government wants to make Colombo a cleaner, greener city, Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in his address to the annual sessions of environmental professionals.

“We need to develop clean, green, people-friendly cities. The environment needs to be preserved so that people can enjoy the beauty of this country’s natural greenery and abundant waterways,” Mr. Rajapaksa said at the opening ceremony of the 6th Annual Sessions of the Institute of Environmental Professionals of Sri Lanka (IEPSL), last week.

Highlighting the projects already underway to clean up the city he said the Beira Lake project included the unblocking of gates, tributaries and output channels while unauthorised settlements and buildings around the area will be removed.
Mr. Rajapaksa added under the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project financed by a World Bank loan unresolved long-standing issues such as the problem of flooding and drainage in the city will be rectified. The city’s drainage infrastructure, including its micro drainage channels, primary and secondary canals and lakes will be improved under this programme, he elaborated.

Mr. Rajapaksa said under the Resettlement of Underserved Settlements Project of the Urban

Prof.Hemanthi Ranasinghe

Development Authority, some 70,000 families living in poor conditions in the city will be relocated and given housing in high rise buildings, designed and constructed to acceptable standards.

According to the Defence Secretary these buildings will come up in the vicinity of the residents’ original homes, so that they would not have to find new jobs or different schools for their children. He said 10,000 housing units are currently being constructed while moves are afoot to expand this by a further 15,000 next year.

Addressing the gathering IEPSL president Prof. Hemanthi Ranasinghe reminded those present that any meaningful development had to go hand-in-hand with environmental well being, adding that the institute had selected ‘Urban Regeneration and Environmental Balance’ as the theme of its sessions this year to highlight this important aspect as many new development projects were currently underway.

Published on SundayTimes on 21.10.2012

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