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Four modern cities in Greater Colombo
All state land in and around Colombo will soon be developed as part of plans to turn Greater Colombo into four modern cities, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in New York yesterday.

Outlining an ambitious plan, he said the western region development would encompass Sri Jayawardenapura, Moratuwa and Mount Lavinia municipal areas. The Prime Minister said the administrative capital would be fully moved from Colombo to Sri Jayawardenapura and Kolonnawa areas, making Colombo city more spacious with high rise buildings and green belts around it.

The main areas earmarked for development in Colombo city were the Fort, the Beira Lake area and the Independence Square. The Independence Square would be transformed into an Independence Park with most of the buildings around it being demolished.

Kolonnawa and Angoda areas would be developed and the new Presidential Secretariat would be located in the Mulleriyawa area due to historical reasons, the Premier said.

"Mulleriyawa was a significant place in our history owing to the humiliating defeat suffered by the Portuguese in the hands of the Rajasinghe I," he said. All in all the new Greater Colombo development would create four modern cities - Colombo, Sri Jayawardenapura, Mount Lavinia, and Moratuwa, the Prime Minister said.

He said that most of the buildings in the Fort would be demolished except for museum pieces such as the Presidential Secretariat, the President's House, the Old General Post office Building and a few commercial sites.

"We want to make Colombo a modern city in South Asia and will have to compete with Hyderabad and Bangalore," the Prime Minister said. Under the new programme, the sale of all state lands in Colombo has been frozen except for the Charmers Granary premises and the site of the Wellawatta Spinning and Weaving Mills, the Prime Minister said.

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