Focus/Spotlight

100 Town development programme  

By Uwin Lugoda  

 

The development of existing cities and their infrastructure has been a staple in the current Government’s development plans for Sri Lanka.  

To this end, the Government has recently launched their “100 Town” development initiative, which looks to beautify and modernise 100 towns in all 25 districts.  

This initiative has been inspired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s vision for greener, smarter, and more resilient cities and settlements, as mentioned in his “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” framework. This includes sustainable land usage within existing cities, and identifying appropriate lands for development activities to minimise the environmental impacts.  

Speaking to The Sunday Morning, Urban Development Authority (UDA) Director General Prasad Ranaweera stated that the 100 Towns initiative has already commenced in several towns around Sri Lanka, and is aimed at improving the infrastructure of towns in every electorate. He explained that they have identified 130 projects under this initiative and have already spoken to 43 ministers from these respective areas to move forward.  

The project is focusing on developing the existing infrastructure, services, and making the towns more transport-oriented.  

“We want to change the appearance of these towns, so that when you enter them, you know you have entered a modern town. We want it to have good pavements, improved drainage systems, decorative trees which also act as greenery, and we want to even improve the shops. We will do this to towns in all 25 districts,” explained Ranaweera.  

He stated that the first phase of the initiative is to give these towns a facelift, which would cost the Government an estimated Rs. 2 billion. This estimate was made after concluding that it would cost the Government Rs. 20 million-plus to develop the drainage systems, pavements, greenery, and store fronts in each town.  

Ranaweera stated that parallel to this first phase, other development projects will also take place within the towns, such as new sports grounds, local markets, bus stands, and libraries; which in its entirety would cost Rs. 5 billion. Additionally, each district will also get jogging tracks, with 26 jogging tracks being planned so far; which will cost the Government another Rs. 2 billion.  

According to Ranaweera, the first phase of the project has begun in several towns, and these other development projects will begin in two months’ time. He went on to state that altogether these projects would cost the Government an estimated Rs. 10 billion.  

“We have already begun the first phase in towns such as Diyathalawa, Warakapola, and Nochchiyagama. So as for our timeline, we plan on finishing the first phase of the project this year, which will also include the jogging tracks. All this is being done under the instructions of President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and so far, we have had a very positive response from the locals in these areas.”