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Public participation must in urban development: Patali

19 October 2015 03:09 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Zahara Zuhair
The outcome of urban development projects will not be sustainable and will be a failure in long run if there was no public participation. This has been quite evident in connection to projects carried out by the previous regime, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.
“Even though the previous government has tried to work towards the benefit of the general public, acceptance and  the participation from them was at a minimum level,  which has resulted in project failures. During that time, politicians have taken decisions without consulting the public or any of the stakeholders,” he noted.The minister made these remarks, launching “Build Sri Lanka 2016 - Housing and Construction Expo” in Colombo recently. He said that in spite thinking of the ordinary arcades for ordinary people, jogging tracks, international shopping complexes were made for few rich individuals at the expenses of the public, but nothing considerable has been done for the benefit  of the ordinary  man.
“It has been estimated that the Colombo city alone is having more than hundred thousand families and the previous government didn’t do anything to uplift their living conditions. Not a single school building was constructed for the benefit of the children of these families,” he stressed.
He questioned as to why a fee cannot be charged to maintain the jogging and walking tracks from the people who are using this facility rather than using public funds to maintain them.“The people who are using are not the ordinary people. Now we are spending Rs.17 million to maintain 12 jogging tracks” he said.
The minister also highlighted issues such as beggars, garbage recycling and stray animal menace which need swift solutions. 
He further stressed upon the traffic congestion in Colombo for which he said short, medium and long term solutions were necessary. 
“We are hoping to create plans based on smart city concepts, which include economic zones, green zones, urban zones, highways, garbage management, electricity, water supply and Internet and communication networks.
“I’m also aware that we cannot achieve results overnight. We cannot do miracles.  What is most important is the acceptance by the public and sustainability,” he stressed.
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