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Beautifying 100 towns islandwide: Ensuring equal development benefits   

2 years ago

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 By Uwin Lugoda   To uplift the lives of those living in rural towns around Sri Lanka, the Government has approved a massive development project set to beautify 100 cities across the country.   The project is set to undo improper town developments that have hampered the development as well as the upliftment of the lives of the surrounding communities. The approval of the project was first announced on 8 June by Government Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella during a media briefing. During the event, he explained that the Government aims to address several problems faced by communities in these areas including improper roads and flooding. According to the Urban Development Authority (UDA), the project is being done under the instructions of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and will look at developing several different aspects in each of the towns.   Speaking to The Sunday Morning, UDA Director General Prasad Ranaweera stated that they have picked around five towns from each district.   He explained that the towns which were selected are those that have gone underdeveloped for many years.   "These 100 towns had been overlooked in the past, so the Government is trying to give them a much-needed facelift. We plan on doing the development in each of the towns simultaneously so that we can keep to our estimated timeline.” Approximately Rs. 20 million will be allocated for the development of each of the cities, with the entire project costing around Rs. 2 billion to complete. The project is also a part of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's "Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour" national policy framework and falls under its pledge to meet the social and economic needs of the people by reducing the imbalance between the major and regional cities and providing equal urban facilities to all. "Some of the second and third-tier cities across the country, in particular, are still in a state of disarray and oppression due to their long-standing disorganised development. But many of them have the potential to be transformed into people-friendly cities with little effort if a systematic plan is put in place," said Ranaweera. He stated that the desired objectives can be easily achieved by identifying the work to be done in those areas by the respective government agencies. Moreover, he stated that together with political leadership and the support of both the trade communities and the public, these developments can be easily implemented.   Ranaweera stated that these developments will primarily include the removal of unauthorised constructions in the city centre, street and pavement repairs, repairs to the roadside drains to address flooding, construction of car parks and development of existing car parks, and regularisation or removal of unauthorised and irregular billboards.   Secondary developments will include renovations, planting of trees to improve on greenery, painting the walls of public buildings, installation of road signs, appointing suitable garbage collection points, providing better street lights, constructing/renovating bus stands and rest areas, removing temporary stalls and providing them suitable locations, constructing side fence fences, etc.   Ranaweera stated that they plan on starting the project as soon as the current travel restrictions are lifted. He explained that they will be putting an open call to contractors registered in each of the areas to bid for the projects, which will also open up more opportunities for those respective communities.   The projects are set to take place simultaneously in each of the 100 towns, and are expected to reach completion by the end of 2021.

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