Hundreds of city families told get ready to move out

By Chris Kamalendran

Hundreds of Colombo families having valid deeds for their houses and land are being told to be prepared to vacate their homes, as the Urban Development Authority wants more land in the city for new development plans.

Over the past few days, some 400 families holding deeds or valid documents issued by the National Housing Development Authority were called for separate meetings with UDA officials and were offered a rent of Rs. 8,000 a month for the next one and half years to leave their homes.

But they were not promised new houses in the areas where they live now. Urban Development Authority Chairman Janaka Kurukulasuriya said the families who had valid deeds to their houses would be evicted as part of plans to develop the Colombo city.

He said the UDA was collecting details initially from families in the Kompannaveediya area for the relocation plans which would come into effect this year. “We have plans to build permanent houses for persons to be relocated in Kolonnawa and Dematagoda. Under our programme we hope to build 25,000 permanent houses by the end of this year,” Mr. Kurukulasuriya said.

He said that a survey carried out showed some 80 percent of households wanted to stay back in their same areas, while only 10 percent agreed to move out. The others said they were undecided.

A.C.M.Badurdeen, president of an association for the protection of Colombo residents families who had lived in the area for more than 70 years and had valid deeds for their houses were being told to move out.

“We will lose our jobs and our children will have to find new schools,” he said. In Kirullapone this week, UDA officials escorted by Police moved from house to house to carry out surveys on relocation of residents.

“The UDA officials put up a sticker on every house which is to be relocated. Some of them were having valid deeds. But they ignored the documents and put up the sticker,” a resident, Vijayakumar Sivakumar, said.

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